Hôtel-Dieu, a hospital in Paris!

Well, yes how about a hospital in Paris, but not just any hospital, this is the Hôtel-Dieu , the oldest in Paris and right next by Notre Dame Cathedral. A wonderful area, great architecture, beautiful history and just great walkable area of my eternal Paris.

I think to post on it because of its architecture and historical context and the area in which it is as of now. One of the things I encourage always is to not just visit a place but get to know it, local point of view. This is what I am trying to convey in my blog when I post long on architecture and history of the places. My belle France! Hope you enjoy it!

The Hôtel-Dieu is located at 1 place du Parvis Notre Dame / Place Jean-Paul II on the 4éme arrondissement de Paris. You can get here walking, best of course. However, public transports take you on Metro line 4 stop/arrét Cité, Hôtel de Ville lines 1 and 11, Châtelet lines 1,4,7, and 14. Cluny-la Sorbonne and Maubert-Mutualité line 10 as well as RER B and C Saint Michel-Notre Dame. By bus stop/arrét Cité-Palais de Justice on lines 21, 38, 47, 85, and 96. Also, stop/arrét Cité-Parvis Notre Dame on line 47, Pont Neuf-Quai du louver on line 81, Hôtel de Ville stop on lines 69 and 74, Notre Dame-Quai de Montebello on line 24. There is no parking on site but plenty nearby at Parvis Notre Dame, Hôtel de Ville, and Palais de Justice underground parking garages.

There are plans to move the Hôtel Dieu hospital to new location in the heart of the Saint-Antoine Hospital by the beginning of 2022; it will be join by teams of the hospitals of Paris now at avenue Victoria and rue Saint Martin. The official webpage for Hospitals of Paris on the Hôtel Dieu is here in French: Hospitals of Paris on bit of Hotel Dieu


I like to tell you a bit of its history always wonderful in my eternal Paris.

The Hôtel-Dieu de Paris is a hospital establishment built latest from 1867 to 1878 on the Ile de la Cité, on the northern edge of the Parvis Notre-Dame square in the 4éme arrondissement of Paris. The Hôtel-Dieu is by the date of its foundation, the oldest hospital in the city as was created in 651 by the Parisian bishop Saint Landry, it was the symbol of charity and hospitality. Originally modest, the old Hôtel-Dieu built from the 7C to the 17C occupied the other side of the current Parvis Notre-Dame – Place Jean-Paul-II on the bank of the small arm of the Seine before its extention on the left bank, the Pont au Double connecting the two buildings. In the years 1867-1878, this complex was destroyed and then rebuilt on the north side of the forecourt where the current buildings are now located.

If tradition, in reality established in the 17C, it traces the foundation of this hospital to Saint Landry, 28th bishop of Paris around 650, the first main buildings found to be assigned to the destitute, infirm and sick only date back to 829; they are located opposite a former church, the Saint-Etienne church. In 1157, letters patent mention a Hôtel-DieuSaint-Christophe, because of a dedicated chapel dedicated to this saint. Shortly after, Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, undertook in 1165 the reconstruction of this hospital when the old buildings were destroyed in 1195 and the new constructions completed in 1255. All these buildings, from the origin until 1878, occupy the south side of the present Parvis Notre-Dame square between Petit-Pont and Pont au Double.

In 1606, an annex to the Hôtel-Dieu, the Salle Saint-Charles, was built on the left bank. In 1684, Louis XIV donated the Petit Châtelet to the Hôtel-Dieu. The hospital then expanded along rue de la Bûcherie (current quay of Montebello). The State intervenes gradually, first through the lieutenant general of police, member of the Bureau of the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris in 1690, then through the intermediary of Necker, who created in 1781 the charges of Inspector General of Civilian Hospitals and forces houses, and King’s Commissioner for all matters relating to hospitals. Louis XIV decides, under the influence of the Parliament and the company of the Blessed Sacrament to create the general hospital in April 1656. The General Hospital should not be confused, with the nature at the same time prison, manufacturing and conventual, intended among others to beggars, vagabonds, prostitutes, debauched, and abandoned children, of the Hôtel-Dieu, which keeps its independence and its specificity from the care of poor patients. The sick of the General Hospital are systematically sent to the Hôtel-Dieu for treatment ,except venereal sick persons. The role of Madame Necker, alongside her husband, gradually changes the symbolism of the hospital: from charity, it passed to charity. But it was not until the end of the 18C that the hospital became a healing machine, where the patient was treated there and returned cured. However, it was not until the 19C that the hospital became a place for practicing medicine and science, but also a place for teaching and medical research. In 1772, a fire destroyed a large part of the Hôtel-Dieu. Other plans are then built and many modifications are made.

It was firstly the cemetery of the Innocents which welcomed the sick who died at the Hôtel-Dieu. When it was saturated, in 1348 during the Great Plague, the dead were brought to the cemetery of the hospital of the Trinity located rue Saint-Denis. In 1673, the Hôtel-Dieu and the Trinité hospital opened the Clamart cemetery on a plot acquired the previous year on the edge of the Faubourgs Saint-Victor and Saint-Marcel or Saint-Marceau, located to the south west of the square where the Clamart cross stood (now Place de l’Émir-Abdelkader) and west of the Faubourg Saint-Victor horse market.

In 1801, Parisian hospitals were given a new administrative framework: the General Council of Hospitals and Hospices Civil of Paris. On the other hand, at that time, the Hôtel-Dieu advocated the practice of vaccination. The Duke of La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt is a fervent supporter of it. Likewise, René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec’s discoveries allowed to refine the diagnostic methods, auscultation and etiology of diseases. Faced with this development of medicine, the Hôtel-Dieu cannot cope!

In 1837, the extension of the Quai de la Bûcherie (now Quai de Montebello) was declared of public utility. To do this, the old Hôtel-Dieu was demolished and a new annex was built in 1840 between the new quay and rue de la Bûcherie. During the Second Empire, the buildings became cramped to cope with the evolution of medicine and the missions of hospitals, so that their replacement was decided. On May 22, 1865, the removal of the old Hôtel-Dieu and its reconstruction north of the Parvis Notre-Dame were declared of public utility. The buildings of the old Hôtel-Dieu, intended for destruction are replaced by new high constructions, from 1867 to 1878, on a plot of 22,000 square meters delimited to the north by the quai Napoléon (future quai aux Fleurs), at south by the Place du Parvis, to the west by the rue de la Cité (previously rue de la Juiverie), to the east by the rue d’Arcole, so that on the parvis or forecourt of the cathedral, the construction site of the new Hôtel-Dieu faces the facade of the administrative building of the old hospital until the destruction of the latter. The construction of the new Hôtel-Dieu is part of a large-scale urban project which profoundly changes the urban landscape of a central part of the Ile de la Cité, near the cathedral, where a whole set of streets and houses are demolished both for the development of a larger forecourt and for the opening of the hospital site.

The current buildings were built from 1866 to 1876, on the initiative of Baron Haussmann in the redeveloped perimeter of Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Third Republic completed the construction of the hospital on its current site at the end of the 19C, with the main entrance at 1, place du Parvis. It was not until 1908 that the Augustinian nuns permanently left the Hôtel-Dieu. They will find refuge in a convent located in the 14éme arrondissement of Paris, rue Maison-Dieu (now a medical building). The splendid central courtyard, which leads to a chapel, was converted in 1975 into a French garden. It is currently one of the public assistance hospitals – Paris hospitals. This hospital center depends on the Paris-Descartes Faculty of Medicine.

And there you go , I feel great to tell you about another wonderful Paris institution which we love and have even gone inside walks its hallways and enjoy the garden while doing our walks in the area. You need to do it quickly before modernity changes all the beauty of it, the Hôtel-Dieu is worth a visit.

And remember, happy travesls, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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