Like most foreigners, I was required to take classes at the Sorbonne, a short walk from the Foyer. I was incredibly excited, as I took my seat in the huge amphitheatre for my assigned course on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the celebrated 18th –century novel in letters about seduction and betrayal.
Given the pedigree of the Sorbonne (founded in the 13th century), I expected to be instantly transported to sublime spheres of erudition.
That part was true, but sadly, the famous professor stood at the podium and read his lectures, never looking up to notice that most of the students were nodding off. Despite the boredom, I didn’t give up on the novel itself, which I took to heart, occasionally imagining myself as an 18th-century marquise. That never quite worked out.
Returning on this trip to take a snapshot of the famous courtyard, the scene of the student riots in May ’68, I was disappointed to find it closed to the public because of travaux. But standing on La Place de la Sorbonne, the thrill of crossing the threshold came back unbidden.