In 1869 a private lay school is founded on the present high school site in the 17th arrondissement (district). It is named the Monge School after the famous mathematician.


Gaspard Monge – 1746-1818

      The school attracts so many students that it soon has to be enlarged. Gustave Eiffel takes part in the plans. Brick, white stone, iron, glass and earthenware are the main building materials  used. The heart of the building is the Eiffel Hall, which is 80 metres long and 30 metres wide and is topped with a glass roof on a steel structure. The new building is completed in 1877, twelve years before the Eiffel Tower was erected. Cutting edge educational methods will benefit 500 students. Physical education is considered of prime importance at the instigation of Baron Pierre de Coubertin who is also considered the father of the modern Olympic Games.

Eiffel Hall - OriginsThe Eiffel Hall a long time ago…

     The new school is renamed “Lycée Carnot” in 1895 probably to honour the memory of Sadi Carnot, a president of the French Republic who had been murdered a year before. Yet he is not the only famous person in his family. His grandfather, Lazare Carnot, was a famous scientist and a general during the French Revolution. His uncle, Nicolas-Léonard Carnot, is often described as the “father of thermodynamics”.

Sadi Carnot

Sadi Carnot – 1837-1894

     During the First World War part of Carnot High School is turned into a Franco-Belgian hospital. The two world wars take a heavy toll on the staff and the sudents. The names of 341 staff members and students are carved on the war memorial, which was inaugurated in 1921 in the Honour Courtyard. During WW2 ninety-six people are killed.

War memorialWar Memorial

     The primary school is suppressed in 1958. The high school is attended by more than 2000 students in the seventies and becomes mixed in 1974.

       Finally a renovation is completed in 2012. The architects, Richard et Schoeller, have managed to integrate the modern building within the old site and to meet the needs for more classrooms, a new gym and a large library.

photo-sergio-grazia-richard-schoeller-lycee-carnot_ECR-009The new building – Richard and Schoeller, architects

RICHARD SCHOELLER - lycee carnot - paris 17 - 2013

The new library – Richard and Schoeller, architects

For a further insight into the school history and site you can watch this short video from a French TV programme. The Headmaster, Mr Philippe Guittet, and the Chairman of Carnot Alumni, Mr Jean- Pierre Chavatte, show you around the school. Sorry but the programme authors didn’t add any English subtitles, so the commentary is in French!