The Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe was the first house of the Cité internationale. It is the result of a private initiative. Coming from a long line of benefactors, Émile Deutsch de la Meurthe, along with his wife Louise, financed the construction of seven of the Fondation’s pavilions. The benefactor decided to immediately donate 10 million gold francs to this project, but only if the creation of the Cité universitaire was approved within a maximum of one year. The law appeared in the Journal Officiel on the 29th of June 1921, on the eve of the ultimatum. Work began in May 1923. The Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe was inaugurated in the spring on 1925.
The Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe is managed by the Fondation nationale Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.
The plans were drawn up by the architect Lucien Bechmann, who would be the Cité internationale’s consulting architect for thirty years. Inspired by the city-gardens of the beginning of the century and the English colleges across the channel such as Oxford and Cambridge, he adopted a regionalist style. On the basis of a perfectly symmetric plan he constructed seven pavilions centred around a green space. Six of them were reserved for students and the students were housed in the Pierre et Marie Curie pavilion until the 70s. These pavilions bear the name of scientists and universities.
From 2005, the pavilions were successively renovated in order to restore the façades and roofs and to improve the comfort of the rooms. The three pavilions Pierre et Marie Curie, Pasteur and Gréard were the first to benefit from a renovation.
Many famous residents have stayed in this residence, notably the writers and philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Paul Nizan, the politicians Léopold Sédar Senghor and Habib Bourguiba and the Greek director Theo Angelopoulos.
In 1998, the pavilion roofs, gardens, paved terraces as well as the entrance hall and the Grand Lounge were included in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments. The house has 347 rooms.