Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance

59 Rue Néricault Destouches
Tours 37000

Elena Pierazzo
Scientific Field

Created in Tours in 1956, the Centre for Advanced Renaissance Studies (CESR) is dedicated to research and teaching in European Renaissance civilisation.

The Centre is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s leading institutions in pluridisciplinary Renaissance studies (architecture, history, history of art, history of science, european literature, musicology and philosophy) in the widest chronological sense, extending from Petrarch to Descartes.

It has a documentation centre and a library with the "CollEx" label, which currently contains almost 60 000 multidisciplinary volumes.

It also participates, in association with numerous collaborators, in the study of heritage, mainly in the Loire Valley, as well as the development of the digital humanities, drawing on projects innovative in intellectual content, transmission of knowledge and pedagogy. In addition, it contributes to ambitious French national programmes (as a partner of Biblissima Equipex and Cahier consortia of TGIR Huma-Num) and international programmes (DARIAH, Europa Humanistica, MedioEva, PerformArt) as well as to collective global initiatives (TEI, MEI). It is also fully integrated into Open Science through the preservation, accessibility and availability of its digital data and research programmes. The CESR regularly organises symposia, seminars and thematic schools.

Research projects

  • Architectura: Reference tools and databases related to modern architecture and the reception of ancient architecture in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • Bibliothèques virtuelles humanistes: A research programme on early modern documents: digitisation, publishing, valorisation of the written heritage of the Renaissance.
  • Centre de musique baroque de Versailles: Attached to the CESR since 2013, the CMBV research team is dedicated to the rediscovery and study of the French musical heritage of the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Europa humanistica: Transmission of texts and knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance. It provides a collection and a database.
  • Intelligence des patrimoines  : An interdisciplinary ARD programme (Ambition Recherche Développement) on the cultural and natural heritages. It provides an innovative approach to inhance value of heritage combining research and socio-economic sector.
  • Performart: An ERC Programme exploring the contribution of Roman aristocratic family archives to the history of the performing arts.
  • Ricercar: A research programme in musicology: Renaissance music, data bases, digital library, valorisation of the musical heritage

Library with 58, 000 books, including 3,000 rare books from 15th to 18th century, and about 50 periodical subscriptions


  • Bibliothèques virtuelles humanistes: 1,500 digitised books, including 1,300 books in facsimile and 150 XML-TEI enco­ded texts, published online
  • Photo library of 20,000 images (1,500 digitised) relating to Renaissance architecture
  • Ricercar : 4,000 musical sources, 3,500 scores, 2,500 records, 2,000 theses, 4,500 images
  • Video-conference room
  • Computer equipment comprising 150 computers, 5 servers (comprising 5 Linux server and 1 Windows 2008 server)
  • Publishing unit (PAO, network laser printer)
  • Databases and Web portals. Collaboratives digital platform
  • Multimedia equipment : digital cameras, 3D scanner, on-board cameras, drones, 3D animation and creation software, 3D printer, 3D video-projector, virtual reality headphone, kinect, video editing table, professional scan­ner for old books, eye-tracking solution
  • CESR collections: Brepols: Épitom musical, Études Renaissantes, Europa Humanistica - Beauchesne: Christophe Plantin - Champion: Le Savoir de Mantice - Droz: Catalogues régionaux des incunables - PUFR: Renaissance, Scène européenne - Garnier: Musicologie.



Université de Tours