Collège des Bernardins
A JEWEL OF CISTERCIAN ARCHITECTURE IN THE HEART OF PARIS
Our visit after the holidays was an opportunity to discover an exceptional place, one of the greatest medieval
buildings in Paris, restored to its full splendour thanks to a remarkable restoration.
The Collège des Bernardins was built in 1247 on the initiative of an English monk, Etienne de Lexington.
This teaching establishment for the Cistercian monks of Europe contributed to the intellectual influence of the
city and of the University of Paris, and today it is once again a privileged place for teaching, exchange and
dialogue between cultures and religions.
At the instigation of Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger, it was restored to its former splendour under the direction of
renowned architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, whose design remains in harmony with Cistercian architecture, with
sober lines and the beauty of simplicity. Today, it is still a place of learning, offering courses, conferences and
colloquia which are open to all, on the social issues of inter-religious exchange, as well as concerts and the
occasional art exhibition.
It was an impressive visit, where each of us was able to appreciate not only the majestic architecture of the 70 m
long nave, but also the variety and interest of the subjects on offer.
Nicole Tordjman - The discovery of French heritage
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