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Presentation of the Foundation Course

A year to prepare for the entrance competitions for schools of arts, applied arts and architecture

A year’s introduction to the field, in preparation for the entrance competitions for the country’s top architecture, interior architecture, design and applied arts schools.


This Foundation Course is an original one, with the notion of meaning central to its teaching. During this pivotal year, students develop their uniqueness – with an annual workshop dedicated to their personal plans – and acquire practical skills in drawing, visual communication, photography and video-making.

They experiment with materials and the different drivers for design, and are encouraged to give form to their intentions while developing arguments built on their work.

It is a year of exploration, of trial and error, of repetition and of success, for which sincere and steady work is the key to success – in other words, a seamless entry into the higher education establishments for which the students aim.
Taking on the role of an “initiation in the field”, the Ecole Camondo’s course not only prepares students for Camondo, but also for entrance competitions for other higher education establishments, such as national schools of architecture and courses in interior architecture, design or the applied arts. However, some of our students choose to study graphic design or fashion design, or even cultural mediation and art history.

This preparatory year is therefore a time of guidance and direction, which is supported by two specific days: the first, at the start of the year, is dedicated to different trades, while the second, at the start of the second term, focuses on the schools in our academic ecosystem.

école camondo cycle préparatoire


To ensure students experience their first year of higher education with peace of mind, a regular, clear timetable has been chosen for the Foundation Course. As such, classes take place every day, with working hours from 9 am to 6 pm.

Classes follow three distinct formats: lectures, seminar-style classes in half-groups, and workshop classes. For obvious organisational and educational reasons, when a student is allocated a group, they may not decide to change groups unless absolutely necessary and upon prior request to the head of teaching.

The times of these classes also varies, according to format (workshop or in-room classes).

The teaching on the Foundation Course aims to give students a solid grounding in terms of the tools for thought and representation. As such, alongside the workshops dedicated to experimentation and production, throughout the year students take classes in drawing (representation and live models), visual communication, photography & video-making, contemporary art culture and portfolio methodology.

During the second term, classes on oral skills are offered to prepare students for the oral assessments and interviews they will have to sit during the recruitment processes for the higher education establishments to which they apply.

Every year, once the Foundation Year is rounded off, our students have access to H.E., whether in private or public institutions : École Camondo, Architecture schools, EnsAD, Interiors & design schools, École de Design de Nantes Atlantique, Design Academy Eindhoven, Écal, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cabre, Central Saint Martins…

A4 file to be sent by email to the Camondo School, including: the information sheet, which can be downloaded from the internet; a certificate of completion of the final year of secondary school or a copy of the baccalaureate; a copy of the school reports for the first and final years of secondary school; a curriculum vitae; a concise handwritten letter of motivation (recto verso maximum) which is precise and personal; a portfolio consisting of a dozen or so diversified plastic productions (copies only or photos) demonstrating curiosity, sensitivity and commitment


Interior architecture schools, école Camondo and other interior architecture schools in Paris


National Applied Arts schools: HEAR, Strasbourg?EnsAD, école de Design Nantes Atlantique, ESADSE, Saint-Étienne


International Applied Arts schools: Chelsea College of Art, London, Central Saint Martins, College of Art and Design, London, University of Coventry, École Nationale supérieure des Arts visuels de La Cambre, Belgique , Esaa St-Luc, Belgique? Écal, Lausanne , Design Academy Eindhoven


Architecture schools: Ensa Paris-Val de Seine, Ensa Paris-Malaquais, école d’Architecture de la Ville et des territoires de Marne la Vallée

Our Foundation year is a human-sized class (about 75 students), divided into 2 to 3 groups depending on courses. We offer our students an individual follow-up and guidance. At the end of each semester, an intensive phase is dedicated to training for competitive entrance exams.

Concerted and cooperative pedagogy is the beacon of our teaching methods. Masterclasses and project workshops forge open-minded and creative students.

During the first semester, an information campaign is organised to advise our students on possible H.E. and career paths thanks to the support of professionals

The Foundation Year provides its students with all of the school’s resources such as our library featuring nearly 14 000 references, remote access to digital data, an exhibition hall inside our School, a yearly cycle of conferences, a research seminar in interior architecture and an open access to the IT stock.

Our position is unique in Europe: our School is one of the components of the cultural institution that Les Arts Décoratifs encapsulates. Our F.Y. students benefit from a privileged access to the Museum’s collections, its library, its cultural events – exhibitions and conferences – all of which contribute to enriching our student’s educational culture.

The Foundation Year is an educational offer of Camondo. Its participants are full-fledged students who are part of the School’s life and events, whether administrative, educational or student-life centered. Students, teachers and practitioners are all part of what we like to call the “Camondians”. The F.Y. class reps sit on the School’s Educational committee. All can become a member of the Student Union and therefore take an active part in our School’s community life.

The Foundation Year welcomes foreign students. It helps them become familiar with the French H.E. system while getting prepared for the competitive exams they contemplate. However, proficient knowledge of French is mandatory.

Our “Equal Opportunities” programme aims at promoting social, cultural and geographical diversity. Created in 2008, our programme has recently developped so that students with low income can see their tuition fees financed up to 25%, 50% and even 100% of their tuition fees. Our next ambition: to welcome in 10% of French and international students free of charge.

Foundation Course classes take place mainly at the Muse?e Nissim de Camondo (rue Monceau, Paris 17th), with the option for some to take place at the Muse?e des A rts De?coratifs (rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st) and at the Ecole Camondo itself (boulevard Raspail, Paris 14th).

Students from outside Paris who are looking for accommodation must be aware of this point, as must students on the main course. Regarding any trips made during the day, the sites are only 30 minutes from one another on public transport and student’s timetables take this into account.

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