The Academic Palace is located to the north. This part of the building, which has housed the offices of the Rectorat (education authority) of the Academy of Paris since the 19th century, was the first to be constructed. Completed in 1889 for the centenary of the French Revolution, it is a prestige building with a grand staircase, ceremonial reception rooms, its main lecture theatre (1,700 seats initially) that is lavishly decorated with statues by Barias and Dalou and especially with the fresco by Puvis de Chavannes, Le Bois Sacré, depicting a lay virgin who embodies the Sorbonne around whom are crowding the allegorical figures of Eloquence, Science, Philosophy and History. From here, two monumental galleries lead southward. These are also decorated with evocative frescoes. One of them leads to what was the Science Faculty and the other to what was the Arts Faculty. It was not until the 1890s that the buildings dating back to Richelieu’s time were replaced with new ones. These were built around a redesigned main courtyard facing the chapel, which is all that is left of the former Sorbonne.


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