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La Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Some 12,000 students and researchers from 140 countries attend the City International University of Paris, which was founded in 1925. CIUP's attractive campus is located on the southern edge of Paris, with easy access by RER 'B' line trains.

Maison Internationale at the City International University of Paris

ABOVE: La Maison Internationale is the hub of the CIUP campus.

The University of Paris is larger, and the Sorbonne may be more famous, but if you're even remotely intrigued by the Paris college scene, you should hop on an RER "B" train for a visit to La Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris on the city's southern border.

CIUP's parklike "eco-campus" occupies 34 hectares or 84 acres of green space in the 14th arrondissement, where it hosts undergraduate students, doctoral candidates, and researchers from five continents.

CIUP was founded in the early 1920s, when Europe was recovering from the horrors of World War I. André Honnorat, a French politician, conceived the idea of a university that would promote world peace by bringing students of many nationalities together on a single campus.

The school opened in 1925 as a "college of nations" that continues to be operated as a "private foundation in the public interest" with ties to the Université de Paris.

What to see:

For travelers (as opposed to academics), CIUP is interesting mainly as a place to wander through.

CIUP pocket mapWe recommend starting at the main building, La Maison Internationale, where you can obtain a a free pocket map (shown at right). Use the map to enjoy a self-guided tour of the campus, which is dotted with some 40 residential buildings that are mostly named after countries or regions.

As you stroll through CIUP's "eco-campus," you'll also see gardens, administrative buildings, tennis courts, two stadiums, a library, theatre and music facilities, a restaurant, and a cafeteria. Dining facilities are open to the public.

Your self-guided tour shouldn't take much more than an hour.

When you've finished exploring CIUP, we suggest crossing the Boulevard Jourdan (on the north edge of the campus) and continuing past the RER station to the Parc Montsouris.

Pony ride in Parc Montsouris, Paris

The attractive park has rolling hills, a lake, places to eat, pony rides for children, and clean public restrooms. It's a great place to observe Parisian families, pensioners, and students from the surrounding neighborhoods. (If you're feeling ambitious and have time to spare, you can continue walking from the north end of the park to the Left Bank and the Seine.)

How to reach CIUP:

RER Cité Universitaire stationBy train: From central Paris, take any southbound RER Line "B" train to the Cité Universitaire station. Travel time from the city center is about 10 minutes. As you leave the station, cross the Boulevard Jourdan to the campus entrance.

By tram: Cité Universitaire is on tram line T3, which runs around the city's periphery. The tram stop is directly in front of the RER station and the campus entrance.

For more information:

Visit the official Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris Web site, and view our captioned photos below.

More photos:

RER Ligne B train in Cite Universitaire station, Paris

ABOVE: A southbound train of RER Ligne "B" arrives at the Cité Universitaire station.

Cité Universitaire station, RER Line "B"

ABOVE: The RER Cité Universitaire station lies directly on Boulevard Jourdan, across the street from the CIUP campus.

Paris tram T3

ABOVE: A tram of line T3 arrives at Cité Universitaire.

CIUP campus entrance

ABOVE: To enter the campus, cross the Boulevard Jourdan and walk through the gates.

Andre H

ABOVE: A bust of André Honnorat, the founder of La Cité Universitaire de Paris, greets visitors to the CIUP campus.

Maison Internationale at CIUP

ABOVE: The Maison Internationale (International House) is CIUP's main building. It's open to the public, so go inside and explore.

New students registering at CIUP, Paris

ABOVE: During our visit, new students were registering at the police station on campus.

Theatre at City International University of Paris

ABOVE: Nearby, a student walked past the CIUP theater.

Sign on City International University of Paris campus

ABOVE: Signs at CIUP point to national residences and other buildings on campus. (Trivia note: Despite their names, houses such as the Maison du Japan or the Fondation Danoise welcome students from other countries, not just their own.)

College Franco-Britannique, City International University of Paris

ABOVE: One of CIUP's most impressive residences is the College Franco-Britannique, which has 206 student rooms and 66 studio apartments for researchers.

The building was intended to house equal numbers of Frencha and British students. It opened in 1937, a dozen years after the university's creation.

Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe, Cite Universitaire de Paris

The Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe is the oldest residence at CIUP. It's named after Émile and Louise Deutsch de la Meurthe, who donated money for the project. The collection of six buildings, which together accommodate 437 students, opened in 1925.

The Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe was initially reserved for French students. Today, it has residents of many nationalities. (The second photo above shows a poster for a Brunei-themed brunch.)

Poster for Erasmus

Another campus poster advertises a party on the Seine for members of Erasmus, an international exchange program for EU students.


Fondation Danoise clock, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Maison du Mexique, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Maison des étudiants suédois, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

ABOVE: The Fondation Danoise, the Maison du Mexique, and the Maison des Étudiants Suédois are other examples of international student residences at CIUP.

Cheryl Imboden sniffing flowers at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

ABOVE: Cheryl Imboden sniffs the roses outside a building at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.

RER Cité Universitaire station with Ligne B train in the Parc Montsouris

Dog walker in Parc Montsouris, Paris

ABOVE: After you've explored the CIUP campus, cross the street to the RER station, and continue north into the Parc Montsouris for a pleasant walk with or without your chien. (The upper photo shows a northbound RER Ligne "B" train  beneath the station.)

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

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