View of the central body and the development of the south wing. Photo showing the rigid and unadorned character of the building in the style of the 1930s: the only animated elements on the façade are the screen walls and the entrance with its projecting canopy.

Originally a “Maison de la France d’Outre-Mer”

The Fondation Lucien Paye was inaugurated in 1951. Along with the Maison de Tunisie it was the only building constructed in the park to the west of the Cité internationale in the fifties. Its initial purpose was to welcome students from French territories overseas. After the independence of the former colonies, the residence provided priority accommodation for nationals of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1972 it was renamed Résidence Lucien Paye. This university, the Senegalese minister of national education in 1961 and the former senior official of France in Senegal played an important role in the creation of African universities. The Fondation Lucien Paye is administered by the national foundation Cité internationale universitaire de Paris since 2023. 

Exterior and interior designs that give the building its "colonial" character

The main entrance is adorned with decorations by Pierre Meauzé, who created the sculpted pillars, and Anna Quinquaud, who executed two bas-reliefs in the colonial style of those she created for the Palais de Chaillot in 1937. Inside, the grand salon is adorned with monumental tapestries by Roger Bezombes, executed in the Aubusson workshops and classified as Historic Monuments in 2003. The residence’s heritage also includes paintings, pavements and parquet flooring in marquetry.

 An architecture that includes the decorative arts

The building was designed by three architects: Albert Laprade, Jean Vernon and Bruno Philippe. These last two also later designed the maisons du Maroc et du Liban. Albert Laprade is one of the most important figures of the interwar period, the designer of the Prefecture of Paris and the Musée national de l’histoire de at Porte Dorée. He was also involved in the Maison de Cuba, built 20 years earlier at the Cité internationale. His work generally testifies to the classic influence of his training and the attraction of avant-garde architecture at this time.

A house partially restored in 2000

The Fondation Lucien Paye has 190 accommodations. It was partially refurbished after annual work campaigns launched in 1991, which were completed in 2000. The work has made the house more comfortable.


In 1999, two large oil paintings by the French painter Jeanne Thil (1887-1968) were discovered in the residence, they are displayed on the side walls of the library. More recent works by artists Joseph Dimi (from the Poto-Poto painting school in Congo-Brazaville) and Sokey Edorh, a Togolese painter, are on display in the Foundation’s hall.

Famous alumnus

Abdou Diouf, the prime minister then president of the Republic of Senegal from 1981 to 2001 and general secretary for the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) from 2002 to 2014, resided at the Fondation Lucien Paye during his studies at the Université de Paris and the Ecole nationale de la France d’Outre-Mer (ENFOM) at the end of the fifties.