"Infotainment? What the hell are you talking about?"

Hôtel-Dieu: A bit of Morbid Curiosity?

On Sunday I ventured into the vaults of the Hotel-Dieu of Paris. This hospital was founded in 651 AD by Saint Landry, and is the oldest hospital in Paris. It was the only hospital in Paris before the Renaissance, and still resides on the Ile-de-la-Cité.
The current building dates back to 1878 as it had to be rebuilt after the old structures were destroyed in a fire on numerous locations.
The building itself is a perfect example of the preoccupations on hygiene of the 19th century, and represents a "ventilated" architectural type with lots of wings and courtyards.

Riverfront view

The building is fascinating since it hasn*t really been renovated and some parts just look like a hospital in the slums. In many old high ceilinged rooms, functionalism of a more modern age took over and put in second floors and wiring.
The endless hallways creep you out, and sometimes there are doors open that should better be closed (I once nearly got into an ER while searching for a coffee vending machine). You can openly wander around the magnificent open courtyard with its arched hallways, leading you up to the huge chapel structure (unfortunately closed).
Also don*t come here for emergencies, unless you have time to kill! I once spent a whole afternoon here with Haily, when she cut open her hand. We had fun fun fun and lots of hysteric patients screaming and unconscious people staring at you in a braindead way... Man I love this place!

Stairs are everywhere, but try to find a working elevator...
Feeling tired? Wanna lay down a bit? Who knows where you may wake up.
The chapel
The waste disposal room! I went in there... found no body parts whatsoever... not even a prolapse!
The ceilings are still brightly colored here
a view from the chapel
Sweet mother Mary! What the hell are you doing here?
Praise Jeevus!
It looks like one of those nightmare corridors where you would expect headless zombies chasing you...
The morgue: closed on Sundays! (Yes, apparently people don*t die on Sundays over here...)
Too bad, I couldn*t visit!
One of the plans for a new Hotel Dieu, based on a Panopticum by Bentham
The fountain courtyard
finally a corridor that looks like a hospital
This courtyard will be redesigned into very necessary medical space
Sometimes it feels like a prison in here

Funny thing, the statue on the lawn is called Polnagreff. In reference to french singer Polnareff, and also a "greffe" is french for organ transplant. But I don*t get the joke here...
must be a student joke I guess
some rooms get wow-views on the towers of Notre Dame, or river views onto the Seine
Surprisingly deserted...

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1 Responses to “Hôtel-Dieu: A bit of Morbid Curiosity?”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I discovered this strange statue Polnagreff on Linda's blog
    On Google I only found your Morbid curiosity (enjoyed it a lot) and another photo of the statue. So I wrote to the hotel which is situated in the Hotel Dieu and here is the answer :
    concernant la statue, à l'origine elle représente un célèbre chirurgien, Dupuytren. Elle est régulièrement redécorée par les étudiants en médecine. Cette année ils ont choisi de lui donner l'allure du célèbre chanteur Polnareff et l'ont intitulé Polnagreff en raison des différentes greffes pratiquées à l'Hôtel Dieu.
    en espérant avoir répondu à votre demande,
    So, now we know that's this statue of the famous French surgeon Dupuytren is redecorated every year by medecine students. This year they gave it the look of Polnareff and made a pun on words because of the greffs !  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...

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