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History of the Quartier Jussieu

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UPMC Facts and Figures

  • 31,000 students of which 20 percent are international
  • 3,000 doctoral candidates
  • 9,600 in staff, of which 3,750 are professor-researchers
  • 100 research laboratories
  • 8 main teaching hospitals
  • 8,500 publications per year (approx. 11% of the publication in France)
  • Ranked the top university in France and 6th in Europe by both Shanghai and Taiwan.
  • 4th in the world for mathematics
  • Member of three of the five the European innovation networks, in: Climate, ICT, and Health


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History of the quartier Jussieu

The university is located on the former site of the Abbaye St-Victor. The architect, Albert, decided to mark the remains of the abbey that were discovered during the building of the university. In the Campus square, between towers 46 and 56, he reproduced the location of the abbey apse and some of the cemetery tombs that surrounded it.

Alongside runs the Bièvre, a small river, now underground, which flows into the Seine on the other side of the Institut du Monde Arabe. In the 17th Century, the timber market stood on the banks of the Seine. Pataches, flat-bottomed river boats, would bring wood from the Champagne region down the Marne and into the Seine. The entrance to Paris, through the Philippe-Auguste city walls, which ran along Rue des Fossés St-Bernard (the Abbaye St-Victor was outside the walls, as was St-Germain des Prés) was marked by a monumental gate, Porte St-Bernard. Cardinal Lemoine established a secondary school for poor students in the street that bears his name.

The Abbaye St-Victor was demolished during the revolution. In the 19th Century, Napoleon destroyed the Porte St-Bernard. At the end of the century, the small Halle aux vins, wine market, was extended and gradually replaced the timber market. A small train used to bring the muids (270 litres) of wine from the gare d’Austerlitz station. The Quai St-Bernard buildings were designed to allow the train access.

The Esclangon laboratory, in memory of Professor Félix Esclangon, electrocuted in front of his students during an electricity experiment, was built opposite. The faculty of science gradually encroached on the Halle aux vins, which would never be completed. It would join the Quai St-Bernard buildings and those by the Jardin des Plantes.