Sunday, February 18, 2007

Combarel Hospital, the Old

Come take a peek at some of the beautiful old parts of the now nearly-empty Combarel Hospital in the center of Rodez...

I wish I had the time to do some real book research about this site -- information on the Internet is quite thin. I have learned that in the XIVth century, Rodez had 13 hospitals. If I understand the cryptic historical article I found on the Web, the Combarel site was officially formed in 1696 by combining three existing hospitals, Sainte-Marthe, Notre Dame du Pas et Sainte Croix.
Fortunately, the oldest and most beautiful parts of the hospital site are on the register of classified historical monuments, and will be protected in any future projects.

There was no getting around the cars for these photos! One of the big disadvantages of the former site was the lack of parking space.
In case there is any confusion, the Rodez hospital has been public and secular for many years. But traces of its religious past -- I think virtually all French hospitals started as religious institutions -- are still present, as you can see above on the left and, more obviously, below.

Please feel free to add or correct any information about the old Combarel hospital site. This post may be updated as I find time to research the subject more.


cityfarmer said...

If you'll let me I'll become your best history student.

Margie said...

Hi Betty,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the warm welcome to the expat community. It's been a great experience so far and sure to continue!
Love reading about where others are from in France as well as their roots in the US.
Also the network of those who teach english here is great to have. I'm just getting back into teaching after a time off with my kids... a somewhat rocky road at times getting back into a job.
Certainly never a dull moment!
Sounds like we do have a lot in common with our careers and family.
take care, Margie

meredith said...

This post touches a soft spot in me. My girls were born in an old hospital in Cannes that is due to be replaced soon. It wasn't as historic as the hospital in Rodez, but still a special place for me.

Betty C. said...

The clinique in Albi where my first daughter was born closed down a few years back. I know what you mean.

Tinsie said...

I'm not usually a fan of hospitals (I avoid them like the plague) but this one does look like a lovely old place. What will happen to it?

Jann said...

what a beautiful building and area-very interestingn info you have shared with us-thanks

Betty C. said...

I haven't really kept up with all of the plans but the reasonably new (20th century) parts will be either torn down or renovated into some sort of mix of apartments and offices -- at least that is what I last head. The whole thing is sitting on prime real estate, virtually in the town center.

The very old parts and one other building on the historic register (still to be revealed in my blog) will not be destroyed but will no doubt be used some other way.

angela said...

I love that photo taken through the arch..
These days councils are much more sensitive to old buildings and it's no longer a case of simply ripping them down, thank goodness.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Betty !

/*/I wish I had the time to do some real book research about this site -- information on the Internet is quite thin. I have learned that in the XIVth century, Rodez had 13 hospitals./*/


When is a hospital not a hospital ? Wiki gives part of the answer …

/*/Au Moyen-Âge, le terme « hôpital » désignait un lieu d'assistance et d'asile plutôt qu'un établissement de soins. On y recevait les « pauvres du lieu et pauvres passants », c'est-à-dire tous les voyageurs, dont les pèlerins, pauvres « spirituels », qui, même riches, s'étaient dépouillés volontairement pour prendre la route et « suivre pauvres le Christ pauvre. » Le vocable sous lequel l'hôpital était placé n'est pas sans importance : on pense que celui de « saint Jacques » recevait essentiellement une clientèle de pèlerins venant de Galice sans, bien entendu, que la porte ait été fermée aux autres voyageurs. /*/

As the plunder and rape of French city centers and heritage by irresponsible politicians and private interests continues apace for the benefit of the very few, one hopes that at least a portion of this hospital will be preserved for future generations. Based on past performance, though, Amerloque is not holding his breath. (sigh)


Mimi said...

I grew up near an old hospital run by nursing sisters, and this reminds me of it, the traces of religion and the sense of peace in your photos.

It has changed much over the years, even the recent additions to it are gone, and the latest incarnation is about to be converted to residential use. The loss of that complex of buildings, which included an old chapel and greenhouse I could see from my bedroom window, has chanegd the character of the center of my hometown. A pity.

Such beauty here, BC. Thank you for that.