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  7. Second week: from Calais to Bonneval

Second week: from Calais to Bonneval


































Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne 








As they into northern France into Pas-de-Calais, travellers may not admire only one but 55 belfry towers that are symbols of civil liberties.

The first tower appears along our route in Calais, and the second in Amiens, famous for its gothic cathedral founded in 1220. Historically, the city of Amiens was a major trade route and wool manufacturer that gained much of its wealth from Woad, a blue dye extracted from the isatis tinctoria flower.

The next day we arrived in the city of Beauvais. Sent to a Jesuit College in Beauvais and disliked by the municipalities and universities, the young Charles Patin discussed his thesis in philosophy and would later become of professor in Padua. His public support of women’s education proved futile, as his own daughter was refused entrance into university.

After crossing a network of paths through the elegantly tree-lined streets of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, we arrive at the Basilica of Saint-Denis. It is from this northern suburb that we will reach Paris.  Passing through affluent areas we reached City Island (Île de la Cité) and the Sorbonne.

In Paris, those who travel with careful consideration may find hidden traces of the medieval University of Paris, commonly known as the Sorbonne. In the 12th century, the College of the Eighteen (Collège des Dix-Huit) hosted 18 student fellows in dormitories called the hostel of God (hôtel-Dieu). Place Marcelin-Berthot on Rue du Fouarre saw professors who were intent on sharing their knowledge of medicine with students of the Collège Petite Marche. According to legend, the street takes in name from the straw cushions used by students, in fact, it is here that young Pietro d’Abano studied in 1295.

The history of the Sorbonne includes those of Padua.  Zambonino da Gazzo brought Galen’s understanding of anatomy to Padua. While the educator Guglielmo Corvi became the Pope’s chief physician and canon of Paris while the Polish Witelo learned to doubt extraordinary facts contrary to reason. Such was the prestige of Paris that Ubertino da Carrara, Lord of Padua, funded and sent twelve young students from Padua to study in Paris.

Humanities studies undertaken in Italy held notable importance in the French academic renaissance. At the Collège de Montaigu, where Erasmus had not held back criticism and the Italian humanists were designated to teach grammar. There was no lack of resistance and traditionalism, later, the medical theories taught in Paris remained faithful to Galen’s teachings, while Andrea Vesalio drew impatient. When Vesalio left Paris for Padua, the Italian university city soon grew to be an important academic destination made evident with the arrival of Michel de L’Hôspital.

As they leave Paris from the Banks of the Seine, cycling towards the city of Chartres, those along the journey pass the French gothic church of the Chartres Cathedral where the School of Chartres hosted great scholars during the high middle ages. As they continue between Normandy and Centre-Val de Loire along the Eure River, they finally reach the community of Bonneval.


The origins of the Sorbonne University date back to the 13th century as teachers and pupils gathered in guilds called “universities.”

Classes initially took place on the Île de la Cité (Island City) but later moved to what is now the Latin Quarter. Lessons in theology, law, medicine, and the arts were held in the private homes of faculty members and outdoors. In the following years, the students formed four “nations” depending on where they came from: French, Norman, Picard, and English.

The first university residences led to the formation of colleges thanks to its generous benefactors. Among these include the Collège des Cholets (1292), the Collège de Montaigu (1314), the Collège de La Marche (1362) and the college founded in 1253 for poor theology students by Robert de Sorbon.

The number of Parisian colleges grew until they reached about fifty. Some became famous for their Faculty: the Sorbonne College, for example, became known throughout the Christian West for its teaching of theology.

The complex of buildings founded by Robert de Sorbon was demolished in the 17th century, making way for new construction thanks to its new headmaster.  Cardinal de Richelieu commissioned the architect Jean Lemercier to renovate the buildings, but he never saw the completion of the works as they continued for another thirty years.

The university suspended activities during the French Revolution in 1791 and was reassigned for other uses.  During the Bourbon Restoration university activities resumed. At the end of the 19th century the whole complex, except the baroque chapel, was demolished, making way for the construction of a ‘New Sorbonne’.

Since 1968, the university has converted into several autonomous universities. The University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is the largest in terms of university population and educational offer and specializes in political and economic sciences, law, and humanities.

Dal 1968 l’università è stata riorganizzata in diverse università autonome. L’Università di Parigi 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne è la maggiore per popolazione universitaria e offerta formativa ed è specializzata in scienze politiche ed economiche, diritto e scienze umane.

The team of the week

My studies deal with the engineering of transport systems, my work focuses on sustainable mobility. I am also a cycling enthusiast, so celebrating 800 years of my university’s history with a cycling relay is just perfect for me!
Riccardo Rossi

Riccardo Rossi

Travelling, and above all cycling, are among my greatest passions. When I found out about the wonderful Scholares vagantes initiative that celebrates the 800th anniversary of the foundation of our University, I knew I wanted to participate. It really is a once in a lifetime experience. I knew it would allow me to see new places and new people, and above all make our university known throughout Europe. Cycling as a means of transport is good for one’s health and great for the environment. Cycling is a message that I am happy to subscribe to and support, I will certainly grow as a person through this initiative.
Federico Caicci

Federico Caicci

I am an Internet and Multimedia (ICT) master’s degree student. In my free time, I am super outdoorsy and I love playing sports. When I found out about the relay, I didn’t give it a second thought, I signed up immediately! The journey represents a great way of building a stronger more cohesive relationship with other European universities. It is my way of supporting and uniting ecology, wellness and sport. 
Francesco Trolese

Francesco Trolese

I think it is a wonderful initiative.  Celebrating such an important year for our university by taking part in this initiative feels great and, as a sportswoman, it allows me to contribute to the festivities on a more personal level.
Valentina Pizzo

Valentina Pizzo

In Paris, the ceremony was held at the Centre Panthéon. In addition to the Unipd “scholares”, the pro-rector with responsibility for the Right to Education, Prof. Matilde Girolami, represented the University of Padua; Prof. Fabienne Peraldi -Leneuf, vice-president chargée de l’Europe, represented the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Main sponsor


Technical sponsors

De Marchi Rudy project Elastic interface