Lycée Pierre-Corneille

Rouen, France

The Lycée Pierre-Corneille (also known as the Lycée Corneille) is a school founded in 1593. It was founded by the Archbishop of Rouen, Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon and run by the Jesuits to educate the children of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie in accordance with the purest doctrinal principles of Roman Catholicism. It adopted the name Pierre Corneille in 1873. Today it educates students in preparation for university and Grandes écoles.

The gatehouse and chapel were built between 1614 and 1631. The chapel blends both late gothic and classical architectural styles in its 52m long nave. In 1762 the school became known as the Collège Royal after the Jesuits had been expelled from France. After the French Revolution it became associated with the 'Ecole Centrale' following the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment, and reducing study of humanities in favour of a broader-based curriculum.

After 1803 it became known as the 'Lycée Impérial' and taught humanities and mathematics following the principles and discipline of the Napoleonic code. Successful students were awarded the Baccalauréat and subjects increased to include languages and Natural Sciences. The school then developed a two-year 'post baccalaureate' curriculum that enabled entry to the Grandes écoles.

In 1873, the Lycée was renamed 'Lycée Pierre-Corneille' in honour of the alumnus, the 17th century writer and academic, Pierre Corneille. At this time the petit lycée was added for younger pupils. In 1890 the sports club Les Francs Joueurs was founded.

Since 1918 the school has run a Norwegian 'college' that houses typically twenty-four boys for three years each. During World War I it served as a military hospital. In World War II it was commandeered by the German army, and was then bombed in September 1942 and on April 19, 1944.

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