Paris Sorbonne University


Grand Hall at the Sorbonne


The entrance hall of the Sorbonne looking on to the Rue des Ecoles.

Two statues representing the Arts and the Sciences:

  • Homer (the Arts) by E. Delaplanche
  • Archimedes (the Sciences) by A. Falguière

On the pillars, the names of the donors of the University of Paris are written in gold letters on red marble plaques.

Practical information

  • 820 square metres

The entrance is located at 47, Rue des Ecoles. Presence on list of names and invitation card are required for entry.

Layout of the Grand Hall at the Sorbonne

Peristyle at the Sorbonne


In this vast quadrangular-shaped space with high fluted columns, the Peristyle, by way of the Arts and Sciences staircases, leads to the reception rooms and to the galleries of the Grand Amphitheatre.

The wrought-iron, chiseled-copper banisters, at the bottom of which there are celestial spheres, are decorated with escutcheons bearing the coats of arms of university towns in 1889. Around the Peristyle there is a vast series of paintings by Flameng (history of the Arts) and Chartran (history of the Sciences).

Above the central bell is a stained-glass window depicting the coat of arms of Paris.

Against the wall, opposite the gallery of honour, is a statue of the Republic by Léon Delhomme (1841 – 1895). Wearing a Phrygian cap with a crown of leaves, the statue is sitting and has in its right hand a sword pointing to the ground and, on the left, there is a small effigy of Minerva. To its right, there is a beehive and a horn of plenty and a pile of books on the left.

Practical information

  • 435 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 400 standing

The entrance is located at 47, Rue des Ecoles, 75005 Paris

Layout of the Peristyle at the Sorbonne 

Grand Salon at the Sorbonne


Formerly the room in which the Academic Council held its meetings, the Grand Salon is nowadays the place where official receptions take place like, for instance, the ceremony during which newly-elected members of the Académie Françaisereceive their swords, thus marking their new status as “Immortal” defenders of the French language. It is also here that honorary degrees are bestowed. The Grand Salon is also the venue for many seminars and plays host to foreign delegations.

This vast gallery (27m x 10m x 7m) is decorated with a coffered ceiling with pendentives bearing the coats of arms of the French towns that had a lycée (high school) in 1885.

The Salon is decorated with paintings by Benjamin Constant at either end of the room:

  • Right: Prométhée enchaîné (“Prometheus Enchained”), symbolising the past.
  • Left: Prométhée delivré (“Prometheus Unbound”), symbolising the future.

Practical information

  • 270 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 300 standing, 230 seated

The entrance is located at 47, Rue des Ecoles – 75005 Paris. Presence on list of names and invitation card are required for entry.

Layout of the Grand Salon at the Sorbonne 

Grand Amphithéâtre at the Sorbonne


True to the Sorbonne’s enduring reputation as a centre of studies and intellectual activities, the Grand Amphitheatre is the venue today for many academic and non-academic events, whether national or international.

It provides a platform for official speeches as well as being a place of thought and discussion for many foundations, organisations and private or public institutions. Numerous conferences, symposiums as well as concerts are held here all year long. During official ceremonies, degrees are given and prestigious prizes such as the Prix du Concours Général des Lycées (open to high school pupils) or the Prix de la Chancellerie des Universités de Paris are awarded.

Inaugurated on August 5, 1889, the Grand Amphitheatre has been listed as a historic building since 1975.

This prestigious room can hold nearly a thousand people. Its surface area is 2,630 square metres (27m long, 28m wide).

Around the tiers there are ten large galleries (with the gallery of honour in the middle) on two levels.

In six niches there are statues of Robert de Sorbon by Crauck, Descartes by Coutan, Lavoisier by Dalou, Rollin by Chaplain, Pascal by Barrias and Richelieu by Lanson.

In the dome there are five large monochrome medallions by Galland depicting Law, Medicine, Science, Arts and Theology, i.e. the five faculties which constituted the University of Paris in 1889.

Towering above the podium is Le Bois Sacré (“The Sacred Wood”) by Puvis de Chavannes, the most famous mounted canvas in the Sorbonne (25.6m x 4.5m), evoking the living symbols of Literature, Science and the Arts gathered around the Sorbonne.

Practical information

  • 2,630 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 935 (provided the necessary technical installations are in place):
  • amphitheatre and stalls: 840 seats
  • 5 galleries: 95 seats

The entrance is located at 47, Rue des Ecoles – 75005 Paris. Presence on list of names and invitation card are required for entry.

Layout of the Grand Amphitheatre at the Sorbonne 

Salle des Autorités at the Sorbonne


This room is used as the hall of the Grand Amphitheatre. Here, personalities meet before stepping onto the podium. The ceiling is supported by four limestone columns by Corgoloin, and the paving is marble.

The paintings:

Paintings by Hélène Dufau (the only woman to have participated in the decoration of the Sorbonne):

  • Astronomy and Mathematics, Geology, Zoology, Radioactivity, Magnetism
  • Paintings by Ernest Laurent: Poetry, History, Philosophy, Eloquence

The statues:

  • “The Arts Faculty” by Léon Fagel
  • “The Science Faculty” by Jules Blanchard

This room was entirely renovated in 1993.

Practical information

  • 194 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 180 standing, 100 seated

The entrance is located at 47, Rue des Ecoles. Presence on list of names and invitation card are required for entry.

Layout of the Salle des Autorités at the Sorbonne

Salle Louis Liard at the Sorbonne


The Salle Louis Liard is the room in which PhD theses are defended and where diplomas giving accreditation to supervise research projects are awarded. These sessions are open to the public.

The decoration of the wood panelling was sculpted by Eugène Legrain. On the medallions are the portraits of Pascal, Bossuet, Descartes, Racine, Molière and Corneille by the painter François Schommer.

At the far end of the room is a portrait of Richelieu by François Schommer.

The stucco ceiling was decorated by Legrain and the painting is by Schommer (1889): a candidate appears before Truth, who is surrounded by Philosophy, Science and History. All four are represented in the guise of goddesses.

Louis Liard, philosopher (1846 – 1917)

As Director of Higher Education, he organised the new university by obtaining legal status for the faculties and he played an active part in the reconstruction of the Sorbonne. As Vice-Rector, he contributed to the building-up of the patrimony of the University of Paris by obtaining donations and legacies.

Practical information

  • 220 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 220

The entrance is located at 17, Rue de la Sorbonne. Presence on list of names and invitation card are required for entry.

Adjoining room: the Salle des Professeurs

Layout of the Salle Louis Liard at the Sorbonne

Salle des Commissions


Formerly the official dining room, the Salle des Commissions was decorated in 1904 by Jean-Francis Aubertin with four brightly-coloured panels depicting Estérel (southern France) landscapes entitled “Un verger au bord de la mer” (“An Orchard by the Sea”).

On the mantelpiece is a bronze bust by Paul Landowski honouring the architect behind the reconstruction of the Sorbonne, Henri-Paul Nénot, who won the architecture contest at the age of 24 and supervised the reconstruction work from 1885 to1901.

Practical information

  • 114 square metres
  • Maximum capacity: 32 (around a table), 60 (in total)

The entrance is located at 46, Rue Saint-Jacques – 75005 Paris (2nd floor).

Layout of the Salle des Commissions at the Sorbonne