The Château des Ternes

In Paris, speculators from the 18th century destroyed more castles than revolutionaries. Owner of the Chateau des Ternes since 1778, the rich architect Samson-Nicolas Lenoir was not at all worried about the Revolution. The “Village des Thermes” (Village of Thermal Waters), as it was then called, was so well known for its pure air that physicians sent their patients here for therapy. Lenoir greatly profited from this: he divided up and sold the domain in smaller lots, gutted the building in order to make a street (the current rue Bayen) and set up an iron factory in the outbuildings. In 1802, when Lenoir sold the residence to another American speculator named Codman, not much was left of the original building… In the following decades, the rest was dismantled in order to construct other buildings and even an amusement park in 1816. Luckily, the part that remains today is registered as a historical monument.

The Château des Ternes, Hôtel de Saint-Senoch, 26 rue Bayen
The Château des Ternes, Hôtel de Saint-Senoch, 26 rue Bayen

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Madame Colson’s luxury clinic

The National Gazette or the Universal Monitor, May 8, 1791
The National Gazette or the Universal Monitor, May 8, 1791

On May 1, 1790, the Chateau des Ternes was transformed into a luxury clinic, open to an international clientele: the Hygeia Hotel. Madame Colson, its director, posted an advertisement in the Moniteur universel: “those who, attracted by the reputation of French surgeons, would like to come to the capital to seek treatment,” or pregnant women who want to give birth safely and discretely, were welcome. “Certified by the Assembly,” the Hygeia Hotel offered the best services to its rich patients: a billiard room, library, living room, French and foreign newspapers. The sole condition: only one servant allowed per guest. As for the medical facility, it was state of the art: equality in terms of healthcare was still not on the agenda.

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