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A cultural dimension

The Alfort Veterinary School (ENVA) is one of those rare establishments that have survived for centuries, despite revolutions and changes in political regimes. It has never been moved, but has been built over time on the eleven hectares that initially formed the domain of the chateau of Alfort. The campus conserves an impressive heritage that today gives it a very unique cultural dimension.

A school in a wooded park of 11 hectares

Hémicycle - crédit photo ENVA

Although the urbanisation of the 19th and 20th centuries has placed the school in the centre of the city of Maisons-Alfort, its high walls protect it from the urban density found around its edges. Once through its gates, visitors discover an open space where tall trees and buildings of imposing lines dot the landscape. The ENVA is thus formed from a collection of architectural gems distributed throughout a vast park which is itself a botanical conservatory. Each building was created for a specific activity and evokes part of the history of veterinary medicine. Several buildings are protected as historical monuments.

The botanical garden

Petite pervenche

Its botanical garden conserves a multitude of plants known for their medicinal properties, their toxicity or their capacity to supply bees with the elements necessary for their development. The botanical garden is open to the public both, for guided tours and teaching activities for school children.

The sculptures

Statue de Nocard

The park is dotted with several monuments and statues that remind visitors of figures who have worked for the betterment of humanity. From Claude Bourgelat, creator of the Veterinary Schools at Lyon and Alfort; to Edmond Nocard, colleague of Louis Pasteur; not to forget Camille Guérin, co-discoverer of the BGC vaccine for tuberculosis, visitors can also discover some lesser-known names in the history of science.

The Fragonard Museum

La première salle du musée, en 2009

The collections of the ENVA are presented in the Fragonard Museum, a prestigious museum open to the public and which has assured the worldwide reputation of the school. Organised to be educational, it helps visitors discover the anatomy and diseases of domestic animals. Its cabinet of curiosities, straight out of the 18th century, contains the famous “écorchés” of Fragonard, cousin of the famous painter of the same name, and first Professor of Anatomy at the school.

The library

Dissection de l'abdomen du cheval

Situated next to the museum, is the library of Alfort which houses an impressive collection of written documents concerning domestic animals. It is a point of reference that administers at the same time modern bibliography, largely digitised, and a collection of precious works without equal from the 18th century. The school’s archives likewise are a unique record of the development of animal care and mankind’s relationship with the animal world; they are deposited in the Val-de-Marne department archives.