Explore #60: Pensionnat Catholique, France – June 2014

Explore #5 of the Operation Baguette tour

After the majesty of Chateau Lumiere, it was onwards to our next location of the day – Pensionnat Catholique.

This former Catholic boarding school for girls opened shortly before the outbreak of World War II, replacing a smaller school on the same site which dated back to the mid 19th Century. The school is huge, and is said to have over 1000 windows.

During WWII the school was initially used to house refugees, before being occupied by the German army when it invaded in 1940. The school was later used by the Nazis as the “Adolf Hitler School” to train future officers, and the main building used as a textile mill. During the liberation the school was occupied by the American army, and at the end of the war classes were able to resume in the autumn of 1945.

Post-war the school continued to grow in size, up to a peak of over 600 students it the 1970s, leading to it again outgrowing its capacity and a subsidiary being open nearby. However, student numbers then began to decline as they became more interested in science and technology.

The school finally closed its doors in the early 2000s.

Our Explore
As you will see the site has seen better days, and a fair proportion of those 1000 windows have been smashed during the decade or so since its closure – including some of the stained glass ones in the beautiful chapel which was the principal reason for our visit.

That said, there was still plenty to grab our interest for a couple of hours, including the old gym/sports hall, classrooms, and the usual staircase and corridor porn.

The chapel also gave us the opportunity to revisit our group shot from Monastere Mont G during our last European trip – with Dan taking Rebecca’s place. Our posing caused equal measures of amusement and bemusement for the group of French explorers who happened to be visiting the chapel at the time!

As always [Click on a photo to VIEW LARGE]

The beautiful chapel.

Window detail.

Dan doing his thing from the balcony.


Darren… err… doing his thing! 🙂

View from the balcony.




Stair porn….

…and a bit of corridor porn.



A stairwell / negative space shot – best viewed large.


We had to nip back into the chapel for a few more shots…

Desolate Nation group shot - PC
…including the group shot mentioned above. Photo used with kind permission of Desolate Nation, all rights acknowledged.

Another staircase/negative space shot – definitely best viewed large.



The classrooms…



Beautiful skylight – I wonder what this corridor looked like in its day?

And in to the gym…



Thanks for looking – more reports coming very soon!

Adam X

5 thoughts on “Explore #60: Pensionnat Catholique, France – June 2014

  1. Love your work Adam – have only recently discovered urbex, but have spent countless hours perving online at the amazing sites you have access to in the UK, France, Belgium, etc – I’m stuck in Australia you see! I like that you don’t overdo the high-definition/resolution (know zip re photog terminology!), so your shots make me feel like I’m actually there. You also have a knack for managing different and often better perspectives and angles of much-covered sites. I also appreciate that you give good coverage of the exteriors of buildings in addition to the interiors, plus a bit of history as well as your personal urbex commentary for each site – I get to do my exploring vicariously through your blog – the only one I’ve been inspired enough to subscribe to. Keep the posts coming, it’s great stuff:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you so much for your kind words Leonie! They are really appreciated. I do try not to over process my shots even when I do HDR some of them, although it’s always a temptation! I’m sure through Facebook and urbex forums you could find other explorers in Oz who you might be able to hook up with to do some exploring of your own – or failing that try to persuade a friend or two to explore some local places – that’s how i started out.

      Anyway, thank you again for your kind words!

      Best wishes


      • Have tagged a few local ruins to have a look at once it stops raining (a very wet winter here), & one of my friends is up for an explore or two. Unfortunately factory sites are of little interest to me after working in industrial recruitment, primarily metal trades – I spent 8 years walking through machine shops, foundries, engineering sites, fabrication works & processing plants – those sites looked pretty much the same as most of the urbex shots, just with a lot more noise & crusty machinery! I grew up on a farm with a father who’s a bit of a hoarder, so agricultural detritus is nothing new or exciting either. Alas, no chateaux to look at here. I have, however, spotted the Facebook page for Urban Exploration Adelaide, so there’s definitely a local chapter I can link in with. I’ve always had an inexplicable fascination for all things derelict since I saw an empty unused swimming pool when I must’ve been about 5 or 6 years old, plus am a bit of an architecture buff, hence my glee on discovering urbex. I thought I was the only person who watched programmes like ‘Grand Designs’, ‘Country House Rescue’ and ‘Restoration Home’ for all the ‘before’ scenery. Cheers


  2. Pingback: Explore #61: Bureau Central, France – June 2014 | Adam X

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