Fodor's Expert Review École Nationale des Beaux-Arts
Occupying three large mansions near the Seine, the national fine arts school—today the breeding ground for painters, sculptors, and architects—was once the site of a convent founded in 1608 by Marguerite de Valois, the first wife of Henri IV. After the Revolution the convent was turned into a museum for works of art salvaged from buildings attacked by the rampaging French mobs. In 1816 the museum was turned into a school. Today its peaceful courtyards host contemporary installations and exhibits.