École Normale Supérieure  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
École Normale de Musique de Paris

The École normale supérieure (also known as Normale Sup’, Normale, ENS, ENS-Paris, ENS-Ulm or Ulm) is a French grande école (higher education establishments outside the mainstream framework of the public universities system). Initially conceived to provide the Republic, under the Revolution, with a new body of teachers, trained in the critical spirit and secular values of the Enlightenment, the ENS developed since as an elite institution which does not deliver degrees as such but grooms France's finest to exercise high level careers, and serve the Nation. Its alumni have provided France with scores of philosophers, writers, scientists, statesmen and even churchmen of the highest calibre. Women had, for a long time, their own separate ENS. The two were merged, after some heated debate, into a single entity, with its main campus at the historical "rue d'Ulm" site.

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