Is it Possible to Visit La Sorbonne in Paris?

How to Get In (Hint: It's a Bit Challenging)

La Sorbonne under stormy skies.
••• La Sorbonne under stormy skies. 2006 Courtney Traub.

Many tourists hoping to tour the halls of the esteemed Sorbonne University in Paris are disappointed to be turned away by guards at the doors. There's a good reason for the rebuffs: entry to the hallowed institution is in principle reserved for students and faculty.

Nevertheless, it is possible to visit the Sorbonne if you arrange for a tour ahead of time (and are able to get enough people together).

I can tell you (as an alumna) that if you're really interested in seeing it, it's worth your time to plan ahead. I can't, however, guarantee that you'll bump into the ghosts of notable alumni including Simone de Beauvoir, Denis Diderot, or Thomas Aquinas. 

Group Visits of the Main University Grounds (by Appointment)

The Sorbonne regularly organizes group visits for between 10-30 people. The guided tours last approximately 90 minutes and take place by appointment from Monday to Friday, in addition to one Saturday a month. Unfortunately, all tours of the Sorbonne are given in French-- you'll need to arrange for a French speaker to come along and translate for you if you aren't able to follow in the Gallic tongue.

Read related: Basic French Travel Expressions to Learn

Guided Tour Entry Fees

Guided tours of the Sorbonne are currently 9 Euros for adults and 4 Euros for students and large families.

Write or call using the details below. 

How to Reserve a Tour at the Sorbonne? 

Unfortunately, reserving one of these illustrious tours can't currently be done online-- a sign that the university has refrained from entering the 21st century? Possibly, yes.

You'll have to either send an e-mail to visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr or call +33(0)140 462 349.

If you can possibly manage an email in French, it might admittedly improve your chances (if your Gallic skills are poor or non-existent, try putting your simple email request into Google Translate, and make sure you clearly indicate your contact details in the message).

Read related: How to Avoid "Rude" Service in Paris and France

Tours are available for visitors with reduced mobility, but please specify ahead.

I tried, but failed to get in the doors....

Couldn't manage to get in despite all your efforts? Not to fret: aside from a few prestigious looking corridors and lecture halls, the pervasive smell of dusty books, and majestic but fairly empty courtyards, there isn't a whole lot to see if you're not a student. You can still enjoy the gorgeous square and fountain, overlook the university's edifice, have a strong espresso at one of the cafes nearby, then go explore the many intriguing sites of the Latin Quarter. Pas si mal

Like This? Read Related Features: