Just a few hospitals can trace their origins back to this period. Unquestionably the most important is "l'Hotel Dieu", which we say more about below.
Apart from this one, there are references to
- l'hopital de la Trinite, founded during the reign of Philippe-Auguste, which is at at the corner of rue Saint-Denis and rue Grenata. It was used as a shelter for travellers and pilgrims.
We learn from the book "Les hôpitaux et la Charité à Paris au XIIIe siècle" by D Louis Mackay (1923) that "la Trinite from 1210 was serviced by the religious quarter. We note that the hospitals were protected from the risk of overcrowding by idle persons. There was a fixed maximum and this figure could not be exceeded. Perhaps one of the secrets of the success of the personnel in these hospitals is found in the confidence they gave to the public, which was assured that alms would be used for the poor and not to maintain a group of idlers."
- l'hôpital Sainte-Catherine, cited in "L'histoire physique, civile et morale de Paris depuis les premiers temps historiques jusqu'à nos jours" (The physical, civil and moral history of Paris from earliest times to the present) by J A Dulaure (1823):
"situed in rue Saint-Denis on the southern corner of rue des Lombards, founded in 1184, its original name was l'Hocirc;pital des Pauvres de Sainte-Opportune and it was run by friars. A papal bull of Pope Honore III dated 17 January 1222 placed this hospital under the protection of la Maison-Dieu-Sainte Catherine. The friars were joined by sisters and this association existed from the 14th century and lasted up until the 16th century."
- L'Hotel-Dieu: there are many legends giving different origins for this hospital which has had a great influence on the city of Paris throughout history. It could be that it dates from druid times or it could be be that it originates from the time of Emperor Julien II. It seems most likely that Saint-Landry, the twenty eighth bishop of Paris, was responsible for the founding of the hospital. D Louis Mackay tells us this about it:
"Saint Landry is especially well known in history as a benefactor, who gave of his income and even sold precious objects from his cathedral for the relief of sick poor people. Similarly, we are told that he established l'hopital de Saint-Christophe near the cathedral for the needy to be received, (...) The foundation date varies according to the author recounting the story, but all are in the period between 600 and 651 (...) The earliest document about l'hopital de Saint-Christophe is a charter of Bishop Inchade dated 829. (...) Suffice it to say here that, there's no doubt that this hospital is the same one that we know by the name of "Hotel-Dieu" (Domus Dei). This name was used for the first time in an official document of King Louis VII in 1157. Up to the middle of the 13th century we can find 3 names for this building: hopital Saint-Christophe, hopital de Notre-Dame, and Hotel-Dieu. It's this hospital (... that) has played a major or a minor role in the lives of many people from all classes of society."