Val de Grâce

Not far from the Paris Observatory, the Luxembourg Garden and the Aiglon Hotel, Val-de-Grâce is in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, on Boulevard de Port-Royal.

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le val de grâce

Founded in the 17th century, Val-de-Grâce is a church and a former convent built by Queen Anne of Austria, and then converted into a French military hospital during the French Revolution.

Val-de-Grâce: the work of a queen

Val-de-Grâce Church was built in 1621 by Queen Anne of Austria, the wife of King Louis XIII, in gratitude for the birth of her son, the future Louis XIV. Embellished all through the 17th century, the church was one of the capital’s most ambitious religious projects. The Benedictine convent attracted notice due to the size of the monastery and the beauty of the church. The greatest artists and architects of the 17th century took part in the construction of Val-de-Grâce, including the architects Mansart and Le Muet, the sculptors Anguier and De Buyster and the painters Jean-Baptiste, Philippe de Champaigne and Pierre Mignard Le Romain. Their work is still displayed inside the church today. Val-de-Grâce prospered until the French Revolution, when it survived undamaged. A 15-minute walk away from the Aiglon Hotel, Val-de-Grâce is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Paris.

The army teaching hospital

On 31 July 1793, the revolutionary Convention decided to convert Val-de-Grâce into a military hospital. The religious edifice became the “army teaching hospital of Val-de-Grâce”. With the aim of making Val-de-Grâce Church more independent, building work was carried out from 1974 to 1978. A brand new hospital then arose after restoration work in 1996. All the medical services of an ordinary hospital are to be found here. The French presidents and a large number of French and foreign personalities come to the hospital for treatment in complete discretion.

 

Among the famous patients are Nicolas Sarkozy, the actress Laura Smet and the gangster François Marcontoni. The Val-de-Grâce’s use as a military hospital will come to an end in 2017. Its medical activities will be gradually transferred to the Percy Hospital in Clamart and to the Bégin Hospital in Saint-Mandé. Only the historic part of the site of Val-de-Grâce will remain open to the public.

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