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A well kept secret garden

The Institut Catholique de Paris is a private school in Paris for higher education. They also have a department for foreigners to improve their French skills and study French civilization. Students in the USA, sign up for a study abroad session there through API! But that is not the point of this article, the point of this article is about the beautiful secret garden that is hidden behind the school building’s walls.

The buildings themselves are quite mysteriously beautiful too. One building that is attached to the back of the church Saint Joseph de Carmes that is part of the school grounds, has a room in which it is said that Marie Antoinette was held prisoner for some time before being transfered from the tower of the Temple in the Marais to the Consiergerie. There is an inscription on the wall that she carved, and there are blood stains from the soldiers swords, as the room in which she was kept, used to be the room where soldiers would deposit their arms. The church also was used as a place to hold religious prisoners who were arrested during the “religious crisis” from 1789 to 1792 that was a direct result of revolutionary matters and political turmoil. This garden served as a place for those prisoners to get out and breathe fresh air during their guarded exercise time.


The school (which is right next to the Saint Joseph de Carmes church, was founded in 1875 and hosts students for theological and religious studies, canonic law, literature, social and economic studies and more.

The students don’t have access to the garden, except those who are studying to become priests. It is a little corner of peace and tranquility in this busy noisy ever changing city. It is a religious place, and almost seems to sooth you just by walking past it. A little haven, a tiny Eden…



P1080458Although they are not allowed in it, students can walk around the garden on the exterior pathway that leads from one section of the school to another. It’s enough just to see such a vision of peaceful bliss to calm the mind on a fully packed day…


  1. I did a semestre of french at IC de Paris and loved it. You’ve summed it up well as “a little haven, a tiny Eden”.

  2. Glad to learn about Institut Catholique de Paris as another resource for learning French! Will definitely have to check out their program especially with the school’s interesting history! Thanks for the tip!

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