The next day, we went into the University, and into the College of Navarre, which is a spacious, well-built quadrangle, having a very noble library.
Thence to the Sorbonne, an ancient fabric built by one Robert de Sorbonne, whose name it retains, but the restoration which the late Cardinal de Richelieu1 has made to it renders it one of the most excellent modern buildings; the sumptuous church, of admirable architecture, is far superior to the rest. The cupola, portico, and whole design of the church, are very magnificent.
We entered into some of the schools, and in that of divinity we found a grave Doctor in his chair, with a multitude of auditors, who all write as he dictates; and this they call a Course. After we had sat a little, our cavalier started up, and rudely enough began to dispute with the doctor; at which, and especially as he was clad in the Spanish habit, which in Paris is the greatest bugbear imaginable, the scholars and doctor fell into such a fit of laughter, that nobody could be heard speak for a while: but silence being obtained, he began to speak Latin, and made his apology in so good a style, that their derision was turned to admiration; and beginning to argue, he so baffled the Professor, that with universal applause they all rose up, and did him great honors, waiting on us to the very street and our coach, and testifying great satisfaction.
Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duc de Richelieu, died 4th December, 1642. He rebuilt the College in 1629; the Church in 1635. The Church was finished in 1659. There is a splendid triple portrait of Richelieu by Philippe de Champaigne in the National Gallery. It was made to assist the Roman sculptor Mocchi in framing a bust. –AD ↩