Saturday, 18 July 2015

L'Hôtel-Dieu de Paris

This week I read an amazing article about the first ever use of rabies vaccine. It's a fascinating and remarkable story from the history of medicine that I was not aware of. I was very excited to read that Louis Pasteur gave the first rabies vaccine at the Hôtel-Dieu and saved the life of a child. Extraordinary stuff for 1885.

I've visited L'Hôtel-Dieu a few times, drawn in by the sense of history of such a wonderful hospital in the shadow of Notre Dame. L'Hôtel-Dieu was founded in 651 by Bishop Saint Landry, initially in a different location on the other side of the Parvis Notre-Dame, and it straddled the two banks of the Seine. Several fires took their toll over the centuries and it was built on the current site in 1877.

The staff of the past are a who's who of French medical history including Dupuytren, Dieulafoy, Trousseau and Ambroise Paré. Famous names still today.

These photos are from my visit in 2013.

It's always intriguing when a sign is in English
Clearly health funding and health service provision
is an issue the world over. 

I'm not sure how to read this sign.
Medico-judiciares victimes? 
There is a beautiful inner courtyard.

I've seen the statue at the end of the courtyard before, and I'm moderately certain that this statue didn't look like this previously, but I can't find the photos to prove it. It is rare to see vandalised statues though in France.

Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme
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Paris in July


Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Very interesting! I will have to read the article. Thanks for sharing this information & photos. Curious about that statue!?

Jeanie said...

Thanks for posting this, Louise. Very interesting. I have walked by it many times but didn't know you could tour. I periodically read about it (its mentioned) in the Aimee Leduc mysteries by Cara Black. The the park is lovely.

Vicki said...

Interesting article! Great photos!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

What a great array of photos! Thanks for sharing the snapshots and the historical facts.


Sharon said...

Great post and great photos. Cuts to health seem universal.

Tamara said...

Fascinating History and lovel looking grounds. I am impressed by stroies like this - when I visit places I often just go where the guide books suggests, or where i wander to. But you remind us that there are other stories in cities like this one. thanks.

skiourophile said...

Not only can you walk around it but you can stay there (and not as an inpatient!). There is tourist accommodation available (, and I stayed there a couple of nights in 2010. Very comfortable and it felt quite secure and safe -- a good option, I thought for first-time travellers. (I did it for the experience and the location.) The rooms are (all/mostly?) in the attics (all modernized) and one could just see a bit of Notre-Dame if one stood on the bed... ;-)

guiltlessreader said...

Thanks so much for coming by my blog! I do need to get my way over to France (one of these days). I love your photos and that vandalized statue is just intriguing!

I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

So many wonderful things happened in I can add one more.

westmetromommy said...

What an interesting place! I had never heard of it, so thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The statue is not vandalized. Each year the new medical students decorate the statue. When we were in Paris in 2008 the statue was dressed like Cinderella. When we returned in Paris in 2012 the Paris was dressed like Freddy Kruger.

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