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Three fun French facts to test your knowledge of Paris history

Test your knowledge on the Sorbonne, La Santé prison and the Sansons' family business

Flex your French knowledge with these three facts Pic: StepanPopov / Shutterstock

1. Battle for the Sorbonne

The Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter is France’s most famous seat of learning. 

It was a focal point for student protests during May 1968, when 20,000 marched upon the college and ran pitched battles with the police. 

This became known as the ‘Night of the Barricades’. 

Its chapel has been classified an historic monument since 1887. 

Q: Where does the name Sorbonne come from?

2. Prison break

The last intra-muros prison in the French capital is La Santé, which reopened in 2019 after major renovations costing €200m 

Q: Which notorious criminal, portrayed in a film by Vincent Cassel, escaped from La Santé in May 1978, one of only three escapes from the prison in 147 years?

3. Hanging around

The Sanson family tomb at Montmartre cemetery is dedicated to one of the more unusual French families... they were executioners. 

Q: The most notable Sanson was Charles-Henri (1739-1806), who carried out 2,918 execution. But by what nickname was he affectionately known? 

Keep scrolling down for the answers

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Answers

1. Founder Robert de Sorbon

2. Jacques Mesrine

3. Monsieur de Paris (Gentleman of Paris)

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