The University of Paris was first established sometime in the mid-12th century, but it was not until Robert de Sorbon created the campus of the Collége de Sorbonne in 1257 that it began to resemble anything like a modern university. Previously, the university had been disorganized, and students were forced to find accommodations around the city. The Sorbonne hosted students from all over Europe and Paris became a center of learning. It had a complex relationship with the University of Paris, and remained one of the most important schools of theology in the world before becoming secular at the end of the 19th century.
Today the Sorbonne does not exist as a college or university. The University of Paris was split up into 13 different universities in 1968 amid social unrest in France. It is simply a building that houses several of the institutions, though the whole system is still popularly referred to as the Sorbonne. If you plan on visiting the Luxembourg Gardens or the Latin Quarter, make the few-block trek over to check out the Chapelle de la Sorbonne and enjoy the collegial atmosphere.
Address: 1 Rue Victor Cousin, Paris 5e
Metro: Luxembourg (RER B)