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Database: Collège des Quatre-Nations

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Cardinal Mazarin, once a mere deacon with much to atone for, left 2 million livres - part of his fortune amassed while governing France for 18 years - to build this college, as well as an annuity to house 60 fellows selected from the "four nations", namely the regions of Piedmost, Alsace, Flanders and Artois. The college is one of the finest monuments in Paris. It houses the Institut de France and the superb Mazarine library with its 275,000 volumes, many of which were recovered from those who were guillotined or who emigrated, as well as from Louis XVI, labeled simply "Louis Capet". It also offers stunning views of the River the Seine. In 1793, this high place of learning was transformed into a prison, since Paris was essentially a huge prison at the time. Its first detainees included painter Jacques-Louis David, even though he had portrayed Marat in his bath, Doctor Guillotin, advocate of a painless republican death, and Madame de Tourzl, governess to the royal children. The chapel went on to become a sugar store reserved to a privileged few.

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