Tuesday, August 15, 2006

L'Hopital Laennec

Just down the street from me on rue Vaneau is a huge abandoned property, the former Hopital Laennec. It is about to be transformed to a new mixed-used residential and academic center, with international collaboration from Stanford and some of the grandes ecoles in Paris. Here's one website for information. The city of Paris has some info in French as well, under Projet Laennec Rive Gauche.


In addition to being much contested for the demolition of some older buildings and amid local concerns about building heights and density, the property has acquired another place in neighborhood culture: the home of the beloved stray cats. A small band of residents juggle their schedules to make sure that each day the 6 adults and 15 kittens get fed. They slide opened cans of cat food under the rusted gate. While some folks gather to scrutinize the construction/demolition permit signs posted by the Mairie de Paris, others young and old hoist themselves up to peer over the wall and look at the admittedly beautiful felines.

Yesterday I saw one well-dressed lady being dragged by her dog down the street because he knew they were reaching the kitty stop. Being a French dog, he wasn't interested in the cat food at all -- just all those enticing chats. One of the neighborhood cat-feeders was there, and told us the story: 6 adults, feral and unadoptable. The neighbors have contacted the Mairie of the 7th arrondissement, which is helping them look for a new terrain for the adults who will soon be displaced by the construction. 15 kittens soon to be seeking a home.

I won't be one of the adoptive parents, but if I were, I could come up with some great names.


Unknown said...

Merci for the post. I lived, yes lived, in the Laennec 20 years ago as an exchange student. The hospital director had a wing of the upstairs west wing for his family, and rented three rooms to (American) exchange students. Visiting Paris a couple of weeks ago, I was saddened to see "Permis a Demolir" signs on my former home. Glad now to see that it will be preserved to some extent, and used for a good purpose. Vive L'Hopital Laennec!

Anonymous said...

Just watched Smiley's People where the character played by Eileen Atkins is treated at Laennec. Curious to see if it was still around since I hadn't heard of it. Funny to come across this blog...

Unknown said...

I'm thinking about renting an apartment on Rue Vaneau across the street from L'Hopital Laennec in September. Can anyone tell me if construction has started or if it will begin before October?

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