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
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'Hôpital.
Later, when Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot took over the department, the Salpêtrière became
world famous as a psychiatric centre and people would travel the world to listen to his
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:
91 Boulevard de l'Hôpital