La Pitié-Salpêtrière, with more than 30 hectares, is one of the biggest hospitals in Europe. But it is also a very interesting site in terms of cultural heritage: indeed, it was first created in the 17th century, when King Louis XIV wanted to isolate ”unwanted” members of the society (beggars, prostitutes, the insane…) from central Paris to a place supposed to ”redeem their soul”, but which was actually more similar to a terrible detention centre than a charity place.
Later, in the 19th century, it also became an important site of research in psychiatry…
Some of the buildings date back to its early history, especially the chapel, which is still in use today for Catholic patients or simply for visitors who may enjoy some freshness in the middle of summer.
This very austere but still imposing church is often quite empty, and daily masses take place in a small part of it. The rest of the building is regularly used for art exhibitions.
Next to the chapel, a nice lawn, adorned with a few sculptures and equipped with public benches, can offer a very nice and shaded break far from the crowds of Paris’s big touristic sites.