Campus Carnot

The origin of the Place Carnot Campus: From Barracks to University

1831: A Barracks

Built in 1831 on the former Place Napoléon, now Place Carnot, the Caserne Bissuel is the result of a private initiative.
At that time the officers of Lyon needed a quarter to house their equipment and horses.

But the Army lacked the funds to undertake such an investment. Nevertheless, the interested parties decided to collect and advance the sum necessary for the construction of the building. The architect Jean-Prosper Bissuel, who was approached both for the construction and to act as the figurehead, aided the project by agreeing to defer his fees.

Ten years later, in 1841, the state acquired the barracks and reimbursed the generous donors. The audacious architect got back his money and the barracks, although renamed “Royal Barracks”, faithfully kept its name.


A few years later, in 1875, Louis-Gabriel Bissuel de Saint-Victor, a former member of parliament, founded a Catholic university with about thirty lay people from the town, whose first faculty devoted to law opened near Place Bellecour, a stone's throw 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 that of 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 position near the Perrache railway station and Place Bellecour make it the ideal location. Thus began the UCLy/Carnot Bissuel project which culminated in the opening of the campus in 2005.

Campus Carnot UCLy

In a modern building of 14,000 m2 on five floors, the Carnot campus houses:

• The Department of Philosophy and Human Sciences (Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, UNIVA and CEPEC)
• The Department of Letters and Languages (Faculty of Modern Letters, ESTRI and ILCF)
• An information resource centre and several research laboratories
• The Department of Theology and Religious Sciences (Faculty 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 .