A series for the Cité

Discover the synopsis of the 3 Seasons of the Odyssey of the Cité

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A first, a second and a third season!


Three seasons to immerse yourself in the history of the Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris, on the occasion of its third and last phase of development, which will see the construction of 10 new residences and the reclassification of the park. Three seasons, in which to discover or re-discover the 3 phases of development which the Cité has known since 1925 and which have made this place unique in the world.

Discover the Odyssey! 

Season 1: The genesis

Between 1925 and 1938 it was the time of the genesis of the Cité. Conceived from the conjunction of pacifist ideals and practical considerations (a crisis in student accommodation), the Cité Universitaire took shape on the site of the former fortifications of the City of Paris. From the very beginning the principles were set out: the Cité would be a place of lodging and living for the elite youth of the whole world, who had come to study in Paris and, by making them rub shoulders in day-to-day life, it would work towards bringing nations together.

The United States, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, China… In less than 15 years 19 residences had been built on the Cité and welcomed 2,400 students, researchers and artists of high level, representing more than 52 nationalities. The Utopia of its founders had been realised. An odyssey began.

But the war arrived and shattered the dream.
End of Season 1

Season 2: The expansion

After the genesis, the war. The Cité was occupied and debased. But the armies departed and ordinary life could start again. The time for expansion had come.

Between 1952 and 1969 the Cité developed, always keeping close links with what was happening in the wider world and the balance of power. Young states asserted themselves and constructed their residences to take their place among the major powers in the world: Tunisia, the Lebanon, Cambodia, Iran, Brazil, India, and yet others. Even Germany and Italy joined the Cité in the 1950s, a sign of rapprochement after the recent war. With its 17 new residences the Cité offered 5,500 beds, more than double the number at the end of the 1930s. The odyssey was under way again.

But the construction of the ring-road motorway put a major halt on the extension of the site.
End of Season 2

Season 3: The revival

After the expansion, the pause. The Cité owned no more empty sites on which to build residences, but new agreements with its partners freed up several building plots on the southern fringe of the site for the construction of residences. The work may take a long time, but the time had come for revival.

Development became possible once more with the exchanges of land in 2012 between the State, the Ville de Paris, the Chancellery of the Universities of Paris and the Cité Internationale. The partners then agreed, in 2013, on a new land management plan for the site, which would permit the reclassification and extension of the park, as well as the construction of 10 new residences by 2020. Three new countries, including Korea, were to join the Cité. The Cité would be able to accommodate 1,800 additional residents in residences built by architects of major standing.

At one and the same time a city of nations and a garden city, the Cité of tomorrow will be renovated and restructured, so that it can continue to live in tune with its time, while preserving its structure and its original values.

The Cité is in the process of transformation; the odyssey continues with Season 3