Private shuttle transport to the Chapelle de la Sorbonne in Paris

The Chapelle de la Sorbonne, also known as the Chapel of Saint Ursula of the Sorbonne, stands as a distinguished emblem of the Sorbonne University. Situated in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, its construction was initiated in 1635, following the designs of the renowned architect Jacques Lemercier. The chapel is especially notable for housing the mausoleum of Cardinal Richelieu and has been recognized as a historical monument since 1887.

In 1626, Cardinal Richelieu, then head of the Sorbonne, entrusted Jacques Lemercier with the ambitious project of completely reconstructing the college, which until that point consisted of a collection of deteriorating structures. A significant focus was placed on the chapel, intended by the Cardinal to serve as his future mausoleum. The original chapel, an outdated and decaying edifice at the complex’s heart, was demolished to make way for Lemercier’s visionary design. However, adjustments to the architectural plans led to considerable delays in the construction process. It was not until 1627 that the college’s renovation began, with several years elapsing before the laying of the chapel’s cornerstone. The construction was completed coinciding with the year of Cardinal Richelieu’s death.

The Duchesse d’Aiguillon later commissioned François Girardon to create a monumental cenotaph for the Cardinal, which became a prominent feature of the chapel. The French Revolution saw the desecration of the crypt, with assailants scattering the bones and mutilating Cardinal Richelieu’s remains. Following periods of controversy and closure, including interruptions to the annual requiem masses in honor of the Cardinal, the 1906 law separating church and state ended religious services in the chapel, though exceptions occurred during brief periods of tolerance.

By the 20th century, the chapel had deteriorated significantly, leading to proposals for its demolition. However, it found new life as a venue for exhibitions and concerts, sparking debates about converting it into an amphitheater. A storm in 1999 caused partial destruction, but reconstruction efforts from 1999 to 2010 restored its former glory.

Architecturally, the Chapelle Saint Ursula distinguishes itself from typical Latin Catholic structures with its centered transept and symmetrical design. Lemercier’s baroque-inspired Corinthian and Composite colonnades, along with a dome-capped basilica nave, exemplify the Renaissance architectural style. The facade is adorned with statues of notable figures like Bossuet and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Despite its simple interior and the ravages of the Revolution, today, the chapel’s remaining historical treasures include Cardinal Richelieu’s cenotaph and a 19th-century organ, albeit in non-playable condition.

The Chapelle Saint Ursula de la Sorbonne, a historical gem in the heart of Paris, is conveniently located 15.8 km away from Orly Airport, making it easily accessible for visitors arriving from this gateway. For those landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the chapel is situated 30.6 km away, offering a relatively short journey to reach this iconic site. A link to transfer services from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Chapelle Saint Ursula de la Sorbonne provides travelers with comfortable and efficient transportation options. Additionally, for visitors coming from Beauvais Airport, located further at 88.9 km, there are convenient transfer solutions that ensure a smooth connection to the heart of Paris’s academic and historical district.

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