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 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 Résidence Lucien Paye is a shelter Fondation whose board of directors is chaired by the chancellor of the academic region of Île-de-France, chancellor of the Académie de Paris.
The main entrance is adorned with rich decorations by Pierre Meauzé, who made the two sculpted pillars, and by Anna Quuinquand, who made the two bas-reliefs in the same style as those of the Palais de Chaillot in 1937. Inside this dialogue between the decorative arts and architecture continues, notably in the Grand Lounge which is adorned with monumental tapestries by Roger Bezombes, executed in the Aubusson workshops and classed as historical monuments in 2003. The Résidence Lucien Paye’s heritage also includes paintings, hand marquetry-worked flooring made from three types of exotic wood: ebony, bilinga and padauk.
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.
The Résidence Lucien Paye was restored after the annual work campaigns launched in 1991 and completed in 2000. The works allowed the house to be restored but also to increase its comfort.
In 1999, the large-scale paintings were updated in the residence: two oil-on-canvas paintings by Jeanne Thil (1887-1968), hung on the walls of the study room and restored somewhere around 1995-96. The first painting depicts a market scene in a town square (with a mosque in the background) and the second depicts a pasture scene (with mountains in the background).
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.