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  • The École normale supérieure is a French grande école. The ENS was initially conceived during the French Revolution. It was intended to provide the Republic with a new body of teachers, trained in the critical spirit and secular values of the Enlightenment. It has since developed into an elite institution which has become a platform for many of France's brightest young people to pursue high-level careers in government and academia, and as such stands as one of the symbols of Republican meritocracy, along with École nationale d'administration and Ecole Polytechnique, offering its alumni access to high positions within the state. Founded in 1793 and reorganized by Napoleon, ENS has two main sections and a highly competitive selection process consisting of written and oral examinations. Its students excel in the fields of culture, academic research in the sciences and humanities. During their studies, ENS students hold the status of paid civil servants. The principal goal of ENS is the training of elite professors, researchers and public administrators.

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