A square... with a lot of history.

Today, in the 10th arrondissement, you can find a little open space, Square Alban-Satragne, named after a local town councilor.

However, so many other names and events are related to this place… With large surroundings this was previously referred to as the Clos de Saint-Lazare. (Before the creation of the arrondissements, Paris was divided in some 50 “clos” (enclosures).)

The Clos de Saint-Lazare was originally – 12th century - occupied by a leper colony (“lazar house” – Saint Lazarus being the patron of the leprous). The Leprosy had to a large extent disappeared a few centuries later and the installations were offered to Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) in 1632 and it became the site for his “Congregation of the Mission”, founded in 1624 - the members of its different branches usually referred to as Vincentians, Lazarians… and for the “Daughters of Charity”, co-founded by Vincent and Louise de Marillac, both later sanctified.

I already posted about Vincent de Paul (see here) and the chapel where he’s buried and his head and hands have been sculptured.

Below we can compare a 17th century map with what the area looks like today. Please notice the presence of a nearby church, Saint-Laurent. (I will revert to it below.)

Already in the days before the 14th of July, 1789, the revolutionary forces plundered almost all of the buildings and in 1794, Saint Lazare became a prison, later combined with a hospital for prisoners and for “filles publiques” (prostitutes), in operation until 1927. Most of the buildings were demolished during the 1930’s. Here we can see what it once looked like during the 17th century and later, when it was a prison. One building from the prison time remains, the chapel in red bricks, constructed in 1824. The architect was Louis-Pierre Baltard (the father of Victor Baltard, known for the Les Halles pavilions)…

… who also created some hospital buildings behind the chapel, rather recently restored and now housing a multimedia library and some local services. 

There are some other traces of the previous history, like the walls surrounding the prison.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, until the Revolution, the successors of Vincent and Louise continued the activities and several installations were made in the neighbourhood, including some buildings from the beginning of the 18th century, which are still there – 99-105 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis. 

Again checking a map with a closer view…

… we can see the Saint-Laurent Church, with 15th century origins, but of course modified later. The immediate vicinity with Vincent de Paul’s and Louise de Marillac’s activites are obvious, illustrated. Louise de Marillac was initially buried here. 

Quite close we can also find the Saint Vincent de Paul Church, more recent - from the 19th century. We are still within the previous Saint-Lazare enclosure (see map above).  The references to Vincent de Paul and to Louise de Marillac are numerous.  


Anonymous said...

If I had to choose to get lost in an enchanted place...this would be the ideal one...
So much history and so much to discover!

I always love a story about charity...and the Hermanas Vicentinas also called Hermanas de la Caridad in my language, are famous the world over for this cause.....

I have such wonderful childhood and youth memories of this congregation!
Those nuns tirelessly worked side by side with my father in creating Pavillion # 11 at the Hospital de Clinicas, then the only school hospital dependent of the Faculty of Medicine in Paraguay.

In a South American country, whose economy was destroyed by mismanagement and political instability, the creation of this place in the year 1945 was considered at the time as nothing short of a miracle.

By creating Pavilion # 11 (Sala # 11) with the help of the "Vicentinas" then, my father, freshly out of Cornell U. training, hence founded the first school of Orthopedics and Traumatology of his country.

Thank you so much, M. Peter for making me travel to the past with this masterpiece of a post.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Peter , as always you surprise us with yet another delightful place to go or add to our long list. Thanks for sharing . Take care Anne

Thérèse said...

Un bel et intéressant retour sur le passé avec des photos d'aujourd'hui. Toujours aussi passionnant.
De même pour les commentaires que tu attires.