Parsons Paris (2013)

Parsons Paris is a degree-granting school of art and design in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the European branch campus of Parsons School of Design and part of The New School, a comprehensive university in New York City.

Parsons Paris School of Art and Design
AffiliationsThe New School, AICAD, NASAD


Parsons Paris currently offers bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as study-abroad and summer programs that reflect several core areas of study at Parsons School of Design in New York. These programs include:[1]

  • Fashion Design
  • Fashion Studies
  • Strategic Design and Management
  • Art, Media and Technology
  • Design and Technology
  • History of Design and Curatorial Studies

Students make full use of the setting in Paris and Europe by connecting with local creative practitioners, cultural and civic organizations and events such as Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Maison et Objet design trade show, and Paris Fashion Week. The school features a teaching faculty of French and European design educators as well as visiting professors from around the world. Classes are held at 45 rue de Saint-Roch as well as other sites in Paris.[2] Students are able to supplement their studies through online classes or by spending up to two years at the main Parsons campus in New York City.

All courses are taught in English.[3]


The New York Times has described the new Paris campus as "both the oldest and newest overseas branch of an American university".[4] In 1921, Frank Alvah Parsons opened the Paris Ateliers of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (which was renamed Parsons School of Design after its director in 1941).[4] The following year, the school made its home on the oldest planned square in Paris, the Place des Vosges. Parsons stated: "France, more than any country, has been the center of artistic inspiration since the sixteenth century… The value of associating with, and working from, the finest examples of the periods in decorative art, the adaptation of which is our national problem, needs no comment."[5] The school offered courses in architecture, interior decoration, stage design, and costume design, adding poster and graphic design a year later. Among its supporters were interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe and author and interior designer Edith Wharton.

In 1931, interior designer Jean-Michel Frank led a group of students at the Paris Ateliers to create an icon of modern design, the Parsons Table.[6]

After teaching advertising, illustration, and stage and costume design, Van Day Truex became director of the Paris Ateliers in 1934. An influential voice of 20th-century American design, Truex later became the design director of Tiffany & Company, where he developed the firm's signature interiors and graphics. Guest critics at the Paris Ateliers during this period include fashion designers Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Jean Patou.

After closing before the onset of World War II in 1939, Parsons restarted its activities in Paris in 1948 offering a summer course combining travel and study. What was now Parsons School of Design reopened the School (at first with a summer abroad program in the late 1970s); it became known as Parsons Paris. In 1980, Parsons expanded its Paris program, entering into an educational partnership with the American College in Paris (now American University in Paris), to offer Bachelor of Fine Arts and study-abroad options. Beginning in 1986, students matriculating in the Parsons Paris program were eligible to receive a degree from Parsons School of Design. But when the contract between Parsons School of Design and Parsons Paris expired in 2008, the former decided not to renew it. At the expiration of the agreement, Parsons notified the Paris school that it could not continue to use the "Parsons" name any longer. The Paris school challenged that decision and brought the legal proceeding before the International Chamber of Commerce who ruled in favor of Parsons School of Design.[7] That institution, now called the Paris College of Art, is no longer affiliated with The New School.

New campus 2013

President of The New School David E. Van Zandt announced that Parsons School of Design was opening a new academic center in Paris Fall 2013.[8] Its primary academic building is on rue Saint-Roch in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

In 2019, Parsons Paris announced plans for opening a site at the Komunuma visual arts complex in Romainville in 2020, adding to its main venue in central Paris. Students will divide their time between the two locations.[9]

Notable alumni


  1. "Study Options In Paris".
  2. ELLA ALEXANDER (13 November 2012). "Parsons To Reopen In Paris". VOGUE.
  3. BIBBY SOWRAY (13 November 2012). "Parsons heads to Paris". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  4. D. D. GUTTENPLAN (November 11, 2012). "Parsons to Re-Open Campus in Paris". The New York Times.
  5. "The New School Libraries and Archives". 1922.
  8. Andrew Russeth (11/12/2012). "Parsons Plans Paris Academic Center for Fall 2013". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. Anna Sanson (October 15, 2019), Imane Farès drops out of new Paris gallery complex The Art Newspaper.

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