Cash-strapped French universities will become film sets or host special courses to make money this summer. Paris' prestigious Sorbonne university is renting its interiors rich in history - the chapel is the resting place of Cardinal Richelieu - as a set for period movies and action films, French daily Le Figaro reports, saying one fourth of French universities is in the red. Such initiatives help bring money and publicity, the paper reported.
The university has already been the set of high profile movies including Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo Cabret' and Luc Besson's 'Adele Blanc-Sec'. Rental can cost up to 19,000 euros a day and some productions can stay for a month with the filmmaker guaranteeing that the art and interior decoration is safeguarded while the crew is shooting.
Other universities hosting high profile productions include the Social Sciences department of the University of Toulouse in theSouth which will be the set of the 'Nome de code Rose'movie produced by Besson.
'This type of event is an exception and is not part of a real strategy by the university and that is why we asked for a high price' director Michel Ramongassie said. Room rentals bring 10,000 euros a year in the university's coffers.
Private lessons and summer schools are also a major source of income.
Paris' law school 'Paris Pantheon Assas' has organized for the first time this year from July 16 until August 25 a 110-hourcourse worth 1,600 euros per person to prepare students for the French bar exam.
The university of Angers is renting its rooms for a ten-day high profile conference on medicine and pharmacy.
A law passed in 2007 under former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the financial autonomy of university had sparked a wave of protests and strikes across the country by students and professors.