European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
VIDEO: Former Laennec Hospital Reopened During European Heritage Days

One of the 17th century architectural masterpieces of Paris recently reopened its door for the first time after a decade-long reconstruction work. Located in the 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th district, the former Laennec Hospital welcomed Parisians to its newly rebuilt interior within the 2016 European Heritage Days festival that took place in France on 17th and 18th September. Now a home to head offices of Kering and Balenciaga, two renowned luxury groups, the former Laennec Hospital still evokes the spirit of the 17th century France through its lively architecture.  

Founded in 1634 using donations from Father Joulet de Chatillon and Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, the grand chaplain of King Louis XIII, the edifice initially served as the "hospital for the incurables." At the same time, it was an important centre for medical research on tuberculosis and other widespread diseases of the time. In 1878, the building was renamed Laennec Hospital to pay respect to René Laënnec, a famous French doctor who invented the stethoscope. Over the last ten years, the building was being restored to its historic appearance in order to provide space for new cultural activities, while preserving its architectural uniqueness. Its reopening was symbolically held during the 2016 European Heritage Days, which highlighted its value as an invaluable heritage site of Paris.  

The reopening was marked with a special ceremony that was attended by numerous celebrities from the worlds of art, culture and business such as Charlotte Casiraghi, Salma Hayek Pinault, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vincent Perez and many others. This was an important occasion that celebrated the efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of Paris and enable citizens to remember a bygone era by revisiting this remarkable historic site.

The whole renovation project highlighted the historic value of the building and the ways it enriches the city’s present day architecture, while the ceremony helped raise awareness of the value of urban heritage. The building’s important space in the French history was also recognised by the French Historic Monument Society, which listed it as a national monument back in 1990s. Through the efforts of Kering and other organisations that participated in the renovation project, this architectural gem has been revived to remind all Parisians of the glorious history of their city.

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