École nationale des ponts et chaussées

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Coordinates: 48°50′28″N 2°35′16″E / 48.84111°N 2.58778°E / 48.84111; 2.58778

Founded in 1747, the École nationale des ponts et chaussées (ENPC) ("National school of Bridges and Roads"), often referred to as les Ponts, is the world's oldest civil engineering school. It remains to this day one of the most prestigious and selective French Grandes Écoles.

It is headquartered in Marne-la-Vallée (suburb of Paris). It is the oldest and among the most prestigious institutes members of ParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology).



1747-1794: Origins

Following the creation of the Corps of Bridges and Roads in 1716, the King's Council decided in 1747 to found a specific training course for the state's engineers, as École royale des ponts et chaussées. In 1775, the school took its current name as École nationale des ponts et chaussées.

The school's first director, from 1747 until 1794, was Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, engineer, civil service administrator and a contributor to the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Without lecturer, fifty students initially taught themselves geometry, algebra, mechanics and hydraulics.

1794-1945: Growth and industrialisation

During the First French Empire, a number of members of the Corps of Bridges and Roads (including Barré de Saint-Venant, Belgrand, Biot, Cauchy, Coriolis, Dupuit, Fresnel, Gay-Lussac, Navier, Vicat) took part in the reconstruction of the French road network that had not been maintained during the Revolution, and in large infrastructural developments, notably hydraulic projects.

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