Lycée Janson de Sailly

Lycée Janson de Sailly

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Lycée Janson de Sailly is a lycée located in the XVIe arrondissement
XVIe arrondissement
The 16th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 arrondissements of Paris, the capital city of France...

 of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It is generally considered as one of the most prestigious lycées in Paris. The lycéens of Janson are called les jansoniens and they usually refer to their high school as Janson, or JdS.
It is the biggest academic institution in the region: 3,200 boys and girls from 11 to 20 attend classes ranging from junior high school to Classes Préparatoires.


Monsieur Janson de Sailly was a very rich Parisian lawyer, who found out that his wife had a lover. Therefore, he decided to disinherit her and to bequeath all of his fortune to the State, under the condition that it would be used to establish a modern high school that would offer an excellent education and in which no women would ever be allowed.

The lycée was built in the 1880s. Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

 who lived nearby made a speech for the inauguration. A decade later it was opened to girls as well. The lycée Janson de Sailly was the first Republican lycée of France (the others were royal or imperial establishments); it aimed at training the future French scientific, literary, military, industrial, diplomatic and political male élites of the young Third Republic.

Because of its excellence, it soon gained a reputation in the whole country and attracted the most brilliant pupils of France. It also turned out to become one of the lycées of Parisian high society. The motto of the lycée was Pour la Patrie, par le livre et par l'épée (For the Homeland, by the book and by the sword). Indeed, a lot of Jansonians joined the army or the navy, and became famous by taking part in the conquest of the French Colonial Empire, especially in Africa.

In 1944, a few hundred Jansonians managed to leave the lycée and joined the French Free Forces (the 1st Army of Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean Joseph Marie Gabriel de Lattre de Tassigny, GCB, MC was a French military hero of World War II and commander in the First Indochina War.-Early life:...

): they founded a new élite unit, le 2ème Bataillon de Choc, also known as Bataillon Janson-de-Sailly. They faced the German divisions in Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 (especially in the battles of Masevaux and Colmar
Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....

) during the great counter-attack of Ardennes
The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and ridges formed within the Givetian Ardennes mountain range, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France , and geologically into the Eifel...

, and entered Germany with General Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

's forces in 1945.

Many "plaques" can still be seen on the entrances of several classrooms and halls in Janson's buildings honoring the memories of all its heroes including the famous war hero Roland Garros.


Nowadays, the 3,200 students are equally divided into the three traditional formations of the French Education System
Education in France
The French educational system is highly centralized, organized, and ramified. It is divided into three different stages:* the primary education ;* secondary education ;...

 : collège
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

(30 classes with collégiens from 11 to 14), lycée (30 classes with lycéens from 14 to 18) and Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes écoles or prépas (30 classes with students from 18 to 20).

Janson de Sailly is also known for the reputation of its "fast 11th and 12th classes", which have been elected best classes of France for several years. In these classes, most are brilliant and have excellent results to the French Baccalauréat
The baccalauréat , often known in France colloquially as le bac, is an academic qualification which French and international students take at the end of the lycée . It was introduced by Napoleon I in 1808. It is the main diploma required to pursue university studies...

. Its fame is based on the difficulty to get into it. The Classes Preparatoires aux Grandes Écoles are also reputed : many students pursue studies at ESSEC, HEC Paris, École Polytechnique, École Centrale Paris, Mines de Paris, Sciences Po and École Normale Superieure upon completing studies.

In France, students must choose two foreign or regional languages that they will learn. At first, in Janson, they can have English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 or German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

. The second choice is larger: English, German, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 or Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...


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