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L'hopital de la Salpetriere - Gunpowder Hospital

Located in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris, this old building was named La Salpetriere that stems from its past as a producer and storage area for saltpeter, which of course was used to make gunpowder, however, the storage of this volatile material was then deemed to be unsafe within the city and the building became a place to house criminals and those people that were ill and without money.

La Salpetriere then began to serve as a hospital and had a rather regal entrance and a chapel added and was opened by King Louis XV.

L'hopital Salpetriere

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L'hopital de la Salpetriere - Gunpowder Hospital

For many, many years it was then known as the place that people went to if they were suffering from severe mental health problems and unfortunately, as with most cities that had such a hospital, there are very horrible and dark stories associated with such places, as of course, mental health conditions were completely misunderstood.

It was cruel and harsh environment where people were thrown into prison buildings even chained up in individual rooms that you can still see today.

So, if you are visiting this great city, but are not afraid of the darker side of Paris history, then this would be an interesting and fascinating place to visit, yet even if you do not have the stomach to venture inside this part of the Gunpowder Hospital, a trip to see the building itself just from the outside is still well worth it.

However, at the end of the 18th century La Salpetriere became a true place of medicine and the first real step forward was replacing the shackles with straight jackets.

In the first half of the 19th century, the first humanitarian reforms in the treatment of the violently insane were initiated here by Philippe Pinel and his sculptural monument stands before the main entrance in Place Marie-Curie, Boulevard de L'H?pital.

Later, when Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot took over the department, the Salp?tri?re became world famous as a psychiatric centre and people would travel the world to listen to his lectures.

This hospital saw the birth of psychiatry and neurology and has continued to grow since with other buildings having been added over time and today, not only is it a fantastic teaching institution, it is also one of the largest medical institutions in Europe.

Even though the facilities at this hospital are state of the art today, the place is still littered with memories and some of the original structures do still remain as a bleak reminder of how things use to be.

In fact, when it comes to state of the art, many well known celebrities have been treated here such as Michael Schumacher, plus it was the very first hospital in Europe to perform a heart transplant.  Even more recently, the former French President, Jacques Chirac had a pacemaker fitted here, but there are also the tragedies, like the fact that Princess Diana the Princess of Wales died in La Salpetriere.

Address & Contact Details:

La Salpetriere
91 Boulevard de l'H?pital

Hopital de la Salpetriere

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