Saturday, June 13, 2009

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

A little inside baseball for academics: the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales will not be moving to rue du Pré. It seems that the crisis has depressed Paris real estate values to the point where better prospects exist elsewhere.

1 comment:

bernard said...

which brings back an old memory: I started there 30 years ago as a very young researcher using its computer center in the basement. This generated massive headache spells which were finally convincingly explained to me. The Maison des Science de l'Homme, which houses EHESS, is build on the site of the infamous Prison du Cherche Midi (there is a memory stone sculpting next to the entrance) and used to be property of the ministry of justice. It became a convenient interrogation center located right across from the Hotel Lutetia, which housed German military headquarters during France's occupation. Hotel Luyetia then became the place where survivors of extermination camps and their surviving families were rejoined upon liberation (no true patriot would consider staying there, the memory is still chilling). One can see how the ministry of Justice, which owns prisons, was not especially keen to keep this particular one. Property of the administrative building rebuilt on this site was thus transferred to the Ministry of education. The catch was that the Ministry of education had occupation norms about half as stringent as the ministry of justice for administrative buildings (not prisons of course, there it seems almost anything goes). As a result, there was a permanent shortage of oxygen and heavy pollution, especially in the basement, thus my headaches and this piece of popular history.