On the occasion of 29th European Heritage Days, l'Institute of France will open its doors to the public on Sunday September 16, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A place of culture and excellence, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site at the same time as the Parisian ensemble of the banks of the Seine, the Palais du 23 quai de Conti was built in the 17th century to house the College of the Four Nations , founded by Mazarin and intended to train the elites of the nations newly conquered by Louis XIV.
Since 1805, it has hosted the Institut de France. Created in 1795 by the Convention, this independent and multidisciplinary institution is made up of five academies: the French Academy, the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, the Académie des sciences, the Académie des beaux-arts, the Académie moral and political sciences.
On the theme of Hidden Heritage, the Institut de France invites the public to discover an original heritage, designed by Louis Le Vau, the architect of Versailles, who carried out a true work of illusionist.
The public will be able to visit:
- the famous Cupola, the former College chapel converted at the beginning of the 19th century into a “Parliament of scholars” for formal meetings of the Academies. The public will be able in particular to discover or rediscover the cenotaph of Cardinal Mazarin by Coysevox; showcases will bring together representative objects from each of the Academies.
- the Mazarine Library, the oldest public library in France (1643), formed at the base of the collections of Cardinal Mazarin and which will present a selection of rare and precious manuscripts and books.
- the courtyards of the Palace, old school playgrounds where the famous encyclopedist d'Alembert used his breeches, and their astonishing recently restored sundials.
- an exhibition in the old sixth grade and rhetoric classes will present the architectural features of the building, its successive transformations, its backstage; the opportunity to take another look at the history of the Palace. It will also present the facsimiles of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, brought back from Italy by Bonaparte and kept in the Library of the Institute. These contain notes, sketches and outlines of treatises on various subjects which have not yet lost all their mysteries ...
29th European Heritage Days at Institut de France (23 quai de Conti, Paris), opening Sunday September 16, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.