History of Maison Suger

A place of residence and research for foreign researchers
Histoire de la Maison Suger
© Emmanuelle Corne

The Maison Suger opened its doors in 1990, marking the culmination of a project conceived in 1985 by Fernand Braudel, founder of the Foundation Maison des sciences de l'homme.

The building located at 16-18 rue Suger, with an area of 690sqm, is a former private hotel acquired by the Ministry of Education in 1967 for the use of administrative services of the Paris academy.

After several years of occupation, the rectorate was forced to abandon the premises due to their dilapidation. In March 1987, the Ministry of National Education, Research and Higher Education decided to make the building available to the Foundation, by concluding a emphyteutic lease for 40 years, to transform it into a residence for researchers.

An international achievement

Built with the help of public and private funds, institutions, French and foreign philanthropists and donors, the Maison Suger is an example of international cooperation.

The lease between the rectorship of Paris and the Foundation involved the construction, after demolition or renovation of the buildings, of a reception, meeting and accommodation center for foreign researchers.

The reconstruction and equipment work, carried out by the architect Antoine Grumbach while respecting the original architectural forms, reached a total cost of approximately 33 million francs (or a little more than 5 million €). The restoration was mainly financed by donations (15.5 million francs), by a loan taken out by the MSH (2.7 million francs and a contribution of financial income of 700,000 francs) and by public subsidies from the Ministries of National Education and Culture (nearly 4.6 million and 1.43 million francs respectively).

Among the philanthropists and donors :

  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Fritz Thyssen Foundation
  • Ministry of Cultural and Scientific Affairs of Norway
  • Swedish Research Council for the Social Sciences
  • Academy of Sciences of the USSR
  • Cambridge University
  • City of Paris
  • Caisse des dépôts et consignations
  • Union des Assurances de Paris
  • Bank of France
  • CIC
  • Private donors (Anna Schlumberger, Louis Dumont, Rudolf Vierhaus, Mme Braudel, M. Bresser Peraira, M. L. Burkart)

Why Maison Suger ?

The mission of the Foundation is to develop interdisciplinarity, institutional partnerships, and internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. Since the 1970s, the growth of international exchanges has been hampered by the lack of facilities to accommodate foreign researchers for extended periods in the center of Paris, near the host institutions.

Hotels were and remain expensive, isolating researchers and not equipped to conduct research. Few institutions of higher education and research in Paris can offer work spaces to their guests.

The idea of the Maison Suger was born out of this observation, to meet these needs.