Hôpital de la Charité

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Hôpital de la Charité
Abraham Bosse, The Infirmary of the Hospital of Charity, ca. 1639.jpg
The Infirmary of the Hospital of Charity, c. 1639; by Abraham Bosse
LocationParis, France
Opened17th Century
ListsHospitals in France

Hôpital de la Charité (French pronunciation: ​[opital də la ʃaʁite], "Charity Hospital") was a hospital in Paris founded in the 17th century and closed in 1935.


Map of the hospitals of Paris in 1820

In 1606, Marie de Médicis invited the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God to come to France. The Abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Prés granted them the use of its former Saint-Père chapel, which they repaired. They were later given the chapel and its attached cemetery outright.

In 1613, work started on the construction of major hospital structures. The old chapel was demolished and a new one was established in July 1621 by the Archbishop of Embrun. It was renovated in the middle of the 17th century, and in 1732 it received its great portal designed by the architect Jules-Robert de Cotte.[1] The rue Turenne façade was designed by Destouches.[2] The chapel still stands at the corner of the boulevard Saint-Germain and the rue des Saints-Pères. The French National Academy of Medicine had its offices in this chapel from 1850 to 1902.

The original buildings of the Hôpital de la Charité were demolished around 1935 to make place for the new Faculté de médecine de Paris.

The 18th-century French physician and encyclopédiste Louis-Anne La Virotte (1725–1759) worked at the hôpital in 1758.

In the late 18th-century, the hospital became an important institution for clinical instruction; Louis Desbois de Rochefort (1750-1786) started a bedside instruction that focused on the patient's symptoms and physical signs as diagnostic indicators, marking a major development in the history of medicine in France. Rochefort was succeeded by his assistant Corvisart in 1788, who questioned the traditional humoral theory, and employed more physical methods such as palpitation and percussion.[3]


  1. ^ Adolphe Lance, Dictionnaire des architectes français, 1872 (full text at archive.org)
  2. ^ Encyclopédie, volume 6, p. 364.
  3. ^ Risse, Guenter (1999). Mending Bodies, Saving Souls. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 320, 325. ISBN 0-19-505523-3.