One of the Cité internationale’s original houses…
The Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation is one of the oldest houses in the Cité Internationale. Its construction was made possible thanks to the generosity of Jean-Hubert Biermans, a businessman who had made his fortune in the paper industry in Canada. He was involved in a number of philanthropic projects, and he supported André Honnorat’s project, the construction of the Cité internationale. In 1924, Biermans and his wife, Berthe Lapôtre, made a large donation to the Université de Paris for the construction of a residence for students from Belgium and Luxembourg. The cornerstone of the Foundation was laid in 1924.
Did you know?
Jean-Hubert Biermans and Berthe Lapôtre were the first patrons from outside of France to provide financial backing for the Cité internationale.
… and still one of the most impressive
Armand Guéritte, head architect for the French government, designed the Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation. This imposing building recalls both the traditional Flemish and Walloon styles, as seen in the corner turrets and the combination of brick, stone and blue slate, respectively. The interior is lavishly decorated, with particularly beautiful frescoes depicting the major cities in Belgium. The house was inaugurated in 1927 by H.R.H. Prince Leopold and the President of France, Gaston Doumergue. In 2000, the governments of Belgium and Luxembourg financed major renovations to modernise the building.
There are now 201 rooms and 18 studio apartments for residents, all equipped with a shower, double-glazed windows, double flow ventilation, a smoke detection system, new electricity and heating, individual phone lines and a high-speed internet connection.
Residents in the Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation can also enjoy communal kitchen facilities, a library, and a reading room, as well as computer, laundry, table tennis and music rooms, a gym, a photo lab and a bar for residents, along with television and film rooms for general information and language acquisition.
The Foundation hosts scientific, academic and cultural activities in the 390-seat assembly room and in the beautiful south-facing gallery.
Did you know?
The architect who designed the Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation, Armand Guéritte, also designed another building in the Cité international, French Provinces House.