Campus Carnot

From barracks to University

The origin of the Place Carnot Campus

1831: A barracks

Built in 1831 in the square formerly known as Place Napoléon (now Place Carnot), the Bissuel Barracks came into being as the result of a private initiative.
At that time, officers in Lyon needed somewhere to store their equipment and stable their horses.
But the Army lacked the funds for such an undertaking. However, the interested parties raised the money required to construct the building and provided it as a loan. The architect Jean-Prosper Bissuel, who was approached both to design the building and to act as a nominee, also played his part by agreeing to defer his fees.
Ten years later, in 1841, the government acquired the barracks and reimbursed the generous benefactors.
The architect’s risk paid off, as he received his fees.
The barracks, although officially renamed “Caserne royale”, would continue to bear his name.


A few years later, in 1875, Louis-Gabriel Bissuel de Saint-Victor, a former member of parliament, joined around thirty local lay people to found a Catholic University. Its first faculty devoted to law opened near Place Bellecour, a stone's throw away from the barracks.This is the origin of the current Catholic University of Lyon whose second campus has been built on the site of the barracks since September 2005. The architect and the deputy belonged to the same family. Thus, from the beginning, the two establishments were already singularly linked by the name and the goodwill of their founders.

2005: A university campus

In the early 1990s, the increase in courses and student numbers forced UCLy to consider opening a second campus to complement the one on Place Bellecour.

Deserted since 1992, the Bissuel Barracks, which until then had housed the headquarters of the General Staff of the Fifth Military Region, attracted the attention of the Rector at the time, Monsignor Christian Ponson. Its strategic location near Perrache railway station and Place Bellecour made it the ideal spot. Thus began the UCLy/Carnot Bissuel project which culminated in the opening of the campus in 2005.

Campus Carnot UCLy

A modern building of 14,000 m2 on five floors

The Carnot campus houses:

• The Faculty of Philosophy, Pyschology and Education (Department of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, Department of Education, UNIVA and CEPEC)
• The Faculty of Literature and Languages (Department of French Literature, ESTRI, UCLy Cambridge Examination Centre, UCLy Tourism School and ILCF)
• An information resource centre and several research laboratories
• The Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences (Department of Theology and IPER)
• A university library
• 7 amphitheatres (up to 340 seats)
• 41 classrooms, 2 language labs, 1 exam room with 100 seats, a cafeteria and student facilities .