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Fodor's Paris 2014
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Institut de France
Institut de France Review
The Institut is one of France's most revered cultural institutions, and its golden dome is one of the Rive Gauche's most impressive landmarks. The site was once punctuated by Tour de Nesle (forming part of Philippe-Auguste's medieval fortification wall, the tower had many royal occupants—including Henry V of England). Then, in 1661 wealthy Cardinal Mazarin willed 2-million French livres (pounds) for the construction of a college here. It's also home to the Académie Française: protectors of the French language. The edicts issued by this esoteric group of 40 perpétual (lifelong) members are happily ignored by the French public, who prefer to send an e-mail rather than the Académie-approved courriel. The Institute is off-limits to visitors.
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