a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit abroad

Ecole des Beaux-Arts

The Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts was established in the seventeenth century and, in its heyday, was an enormously influential school for architects, painters and sculptors throughout the world. Its alumnae include Degas, Delacroix, Givenchy, Monet and Mary Cassatt.

Its current home in the 6th arrondissement was built on the site of an early seventeenth century convent. Something of a hotchpotch of styles and earlier historical remnants, the school’s buildings were designed by architects François Debret and Félix Duban between 1816 and 1872.

Today the site has a shabby, faded charm, with a mix of poorly maintained classical-style buildings, temporary modern classroom blocks, and a good deal of graffiti. We visited last weekend for the portes ouvertes – an open day showcasing the work of current students.

The site includes the Cour du Mûrier, a charming little courtyard, created by Duban on the site of the original nuns’ cloister. It is named after the Chinese mulberry tree planted there by Alexandre Lenoir, who had for a time established a Musée des Monuments Français in the convent, aiming to rescue fragments of old buildings at risk from revolutionary fervour.

The courtyard is today a small leafy space, with a grand fountain at its centre and copies of classical statues displayed in painted arcades.

Added later, the Jardin Lenoir contains some of the remnants acquired for the Musée des Monuments Français, including the façade of the hôtel de Torpanne, originally built in the Marais around 1567.
ecole des beaux-arts

The open lawn of this pleasant garden is currently being used to house prefabricated classrooms, and the rest is sealed off behind fencing; sadly we could only see glimpses of the tree-filled space.

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2 comments on “Ecole des Beaux-Arts

  1. grace nehmad
    March 18, 2011

    Bonjour! Je suis peintre et femme de lettres et mon livre´Ma toile blanche´sur amazon.fr va être présenter à Paris!! J´irai donc en Juillet et peut-être vous avez besoin d´un prof. de dessin et peinture, j´aimerai vous partager mes belles classes que je donne ici dès le moi de septembre 2001. J´attends votre réponse!, très cordialement, Grace Nehmad.

    • landscapelover
      March 21, 2011

      Bonjour. Merci pour le commentaire, et bonne chance pour votre livre et vos classes à Paris. Malhereusement je vais quitter la ville en juin. LL

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