Secret Garden Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu

Secret Garden Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu

No matter how long or far you have strolled around Paris, explored narrow cobbled laneways or ventured into private courtyards, there is no chance that you would simply stumble across this secret garden and courtyard without knowing where to find it.

secret garden paris hotel dieu notre dame

If you love discovering hidden treasures in Paris and are looking for a little adventure, sneak into Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu to see a delightful hidden oasis in a very unusual location, but let’s keep it our secret.

secret hidden garden paris hotel dieu

Located right in the centre of Paris, next to the Notre Dame Cathedral where thousands of tourists pass by each day without an inkling that it exists.

paris hospital hidden garden off the beaten path

Let’s image you visited the Notre Dame and need a little respite away from the crowds, somewhere quiet where you can sit down, relax and rest your weary feet.

secret courtyard garden hotel dieu paris hospital

With your back facing the Notre Dame cross the road, diagonally to the right and find the main entrance to Hôtel-Dieu, Paris’ oldest hospital.

Enter through the main doors, turn left and then right.

Be confident and quiet, you are going to visit your sick Aunt, right?

et voilà, you are in!

secret gardens paris hotel dieu paris hospital garden

Founded in 651 when poverty was rampant, Hotel Dieu began as a general institution to look after the poor and sick, offering food and shelter in addition to medical care.

The hospital was ravaged by several fires and the current building dates back to 1877.

The concept of this original hospital was to aid the poor and funded by charity. It wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that it became a place to cure the sick.

Napoleon ordered part of the hospital to be rebuilt after another fire destroyed a large part of the building.

For the past 50 years, the hospital has specialised in the field of diabetes and associated illnesses including the research of new insulins, the effects of nutrition and artificial pancreas.

Perhaps you could play a little Chopin, allowing the music to waft up to the patients that occupy the 349 beds in what is regarded as the oldest, still operating hospital in the world.

This ancient courtyard and secret garden offers a quiet moment to relax and explore without the usual tourists that descend upon the city.

Wander around and admire the garden pots that will be brimming with colourful flowers in the warmer months but keep it our little secret and hopefully it will stay that way so we can pop in for a little respite when we are in the area.

Paris has many hidden treasures, you just need to know where to find them.

If you have found this information interesting or useful, please leave a comment or follow me on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes, your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date. Merci!


Paris Adèle’s Information Nécessaire:

Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu
1 Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, 75004

Nearest Metro: Cité


Opening Hours:
10am – 6pm

Entrance: Free

Handicap Access: Yes


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One Response to Secret Garden Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu

  • Mary Jo Kolb

    Hi, just wanted to let you know that the security guards chased us out of the hospital garden a few years ago–and not in a gentle way! We only wanted to take some photos, but that bought us no goodwill. Beautiful place, though.

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