Couvent des Jacobins de la rue Saint-Jacques

Detail of the plan de Turgot showing the monastery church on rue Saint-Jacques, opposite the exit from rue Saint-Étienne-des-Grès (now rue Cujas). In the foreground is the dome of the Sorbonne.

The Couvent Saint-Jacques,[1] Grand couvent des Jacobins or Couvent des Jacobins de la rue Saint-Jacques[2] was a Dominican monastery on rue Saint-Jacques in Paris. Its complex was between what are now rue Soufflot and rue Cujas. Its teaching activities was the origin of the collège des Jacobins, a college of the historic university of Paris.


Plan of the couvent des Jacobins de la rue Saint-Jacques, by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. Key - A: church; B: refectory (with the 'parloir aux bourgeois' on the other side of the enclosure) ; D: école Saint-Thomas.

The Dominican order established a base in Paris in 1217 in a house near Notre-Dame.[3] In 1218 Jean Barastre (also known as Jean de Saint-Quentin, theology professor and doctor to Philip II of France) gave the order a house with a chapel near the city walls. This chapel was the chapel of a pilgrims' hospice - dedicated to Saint James the Great, it gave its name to rue Saint-Jacques and to the French Dominicans, who became known as the 'Jacobins' after their main monastery.

Major benefactions from Louis IX of France allowed the order to complete its church and build a dormitory and schools. Although limited by the city wall and in competition with the other great monastery-college in Paris, the Cordeliers, the Dominicans expanded up to the wall of Philip II Augustus thanks to Louis XII of France.

A wealthy merchant named Hennequin gave the order a gift in 1556 which enabled it to rebuild its cloister. Its study room, known as the Écoles Saint-Thomas, was also rebuilt in 1563. A few years before the French Revolution this room was used for services, since the church was closed and in disrepair. The monastery was suppressed in 1790 and its buildings demolished between 1800 and 1849.[4]


Clementia of Hungary, from her effigy, originally in the monastery church.

The monastery church housed many notable tombs.

Royal and princely tombs

Other tombs

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