Hôtel de la Monnaie and the Palais de l'Institut.
The Hôtel de la Monnaie is built on the QUAI DE CONTI, on the
corner of Rue Guénégaud. This former Hôtel de Conti
was presented to the Crown by the City of Paris under Louis XV. The
superb double staircase and the Numismatic Museum should be seen. Further
along, on the same Quai, stood the famous Tour de Nesles, mentioned
by Alexandre Dumas. Its place has since taken by the left wing of the
The Palais de l'lnstitut is the seat of five Academies; the Academie
française (the oldest), created by Richelieu (1635). Inscriptions
and Belles Lettres (1644), Sciences (1666), Beaux Arts (1816), Sciences
Morales et Politiques (1832). A bequets from Mazarin helped to built
the « Palais ». It was begun in 1663, and completed in 1688.
It was originaly designed as a college where sixty students from four
different countries would assemble, and was known as the « Collège
des Quatre Nations »; it was given over to the Institut by Napoléon
in 1805. The plans for the Palace were drawn by Le Vau, and its most
striking feature is the Cupola, symbol of the Académie Française.
In the central building are a Jesuit Chapel and the Mazarin Library,
containing the Mazarin collection. The session rooms especialy the one
reserved for the more solemn occasions, under the Cupola, are richly
decorated with paintings and sculpture (Houdon's Voltaire).