Marin Mersenne entered the Jesuit college at La Flèche in 1604, the same college that educated Descartes. Upon leaving La Flèche in 1609, he entered the Sorbonne where he studied theology for 2 years. In 1611 he joined the Order of Minims. Mersenne returned to Paris in 1619 and remained there but for brief trips until his death.
Mersenne found in the writings of Francis Bacon a method of obtaining real scientific knowledge. He opposed the skepticism of Montaigne (1533–1592) who maintained that it was impossible to know absolute truth due to the relativity of sense experiences and value judgments. From 1623 he made a careful selection of scholars who either met at his convent or corresponded with him. These men included Descartes, Roberval, Fermat, Hobbes, Étienne and Blaise Pascal and Carcavi.
The role Mersenne played in bringing together these men and in facilitating their mutual correspondence became institutionalized in the Acadèmie Parisienne, the Paris Academy, which he himself organized in 1635. It is through Mersenne's foresight that Pascal and Fermat would be brought into contact with one another.