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History of the university


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The Université François-Rabelais is a young university!It was only established in 1970.Its forty years of commitment to excellence have contributed significantly to making it the leading further education establishment in France’s Centre region.

In 2012, the university’s faculty of medicine celebrates its 50th anniversary, as it already existed under the Ecole nationale de médecine et de pharmacie (National School of Medicine and Pharmacy). In Touraine, medical studies have their roots back in the 15th century, when King Charles VI gave rights to the barber community of the city.

In January 1594, King Henry IV granted a university to Tours but the city was unable to raise the funds required to create it.

In addition to its Loire Valley castles, the Touraine department invites visitors to discover the homes of great French writers: Ronsard, at the Saint Cosme priory, Rabelais at the Devinière, René Descartes, Honoré de Balzac, in Saché, George Sand in Nohant and Alfred de Vigny in Loches.

A myriad of other prominent figures are intertwined in the region’s history: Saint Martin, Léonard de Vinci, King Louis XI, the philosopher Henri Bergson, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927.

Famous modern-day figures also lived here, such as the actors Jacques Villeret and Jean Carmet, film director Patrice Leconte and the painter Olivier Debré.

The Touraine is also renowned for its leading scientists: Yves Chauvin, Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2005; Pierre-Fidèle Bretonneau, “father” of modern-day vaccination and his pupils Alfred Velpeau, anatomist and surgeon, Armand Trousseau, tracheotomy pioneer; several eminent academics like Emile Aron, who held a seat in the Academy of Medicine; Philippe Maupas, who developed the first vaccine against hepatitis B in 1976; Thérèse Planiol, first female doctor to be a medical physics associate and pioneer in applying ultrasound in medicine and biology; Léandre Pourcelot, inventor of the first European ultrasonic Doppler; the historian Maurice Sartre, specialist of Greece and its civilizations and the Middle East.

Tours is also well-known for several historic events: the presence of the provisional government of 1870 and the Crémieux Decree that gave Jews from Algeria the right to French citizenship; the largest U.S. army corps of engineers in France during the First World War and the 1920 Congress, which led to the creation of the French Communist Party. And last but not least, the final two ministerial cabinet meetings of the 3rd Republic were held in the Chateau de Cangey in 1940.