Louis Braille was only 10 when he traveled to Paris with his father on February 15, 1819, to enroll at the Institute for Blind Youth. Although a trip from Coupvray by stagecoach took only four hours, it was to be a life-changing journey for Louis. He was greeted kindly by Sébastien Guillié, the school's director.
Despite the sometimes harsh conditions of school life, Louis loved attending the Institute for Blind Youth. The school had been at its present location since 1816, and although the living conditions at this school were far better than at its previous location, it was filthy and damp. Students with no vision found it hard to walk about the poorly kept building, which was over 200 years old. The building had been used, among other things, as a prison during the French Revolution.
When Louis arrived at the school, there were 60 boys and 30 girls. He became friends early on with Gabriel Gauthier, who remained a close friend for the rest of his life. Louis particularly enjoyed weekly outings to the botanical gardens, when each child would hold onto a rope that kept the group together as the children walked through the city streets.