Friday Heirloom 67: Musée du Service de Santé des Armées (Val-de-Grâce), Paris

Friday Heirloom 67: Musée du Service de Santé des Armées (Val-de-Grâce), Paris

Check out the Highlights of September here

As long as there’s light, there’s hope.

Last Sunday at Val-de-Grâce Paris was so sunny it hurts…

Paris, a city with bright buildings and not-so-bright skies to sit under, was actually shining with brimming light on my first weekend back from vacation… It was like the whole city was welcoming me back to where I belong.

While I was debating between going to the Fondation Cartier to check out their latest show (“Freeing Architecture” by Junya Ishigami) or simply breathing the city’s renewed allure in the streets, I stumbled upon a quiet, beautiful plaza on which gently sits the monumental church “Val-de-Grâce” and its collection of objects housed in the Museum of the Army’s Health Service.

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Val-de-Grâce in all its splendour

The space is ample and quiet; some rooms are centered on the staff of the Health Service, in particular the evolution of their uniforms and their teachings. They also represent the main mission of the Service: the medical support of the armed forces during conflicts.

My favorite part of the collection was definitely the pharmacy objects, because they really are at the heart of the Army Medicine. Installed in the ancient kitchens of the Benedictines, right across the alley leading to the Chapel, visitors can check out the “Majolics”, Italian ceramics of the Renaissance. They are so good.

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Some of the pieces I was able to photograph…

One of the security guards helped me shed light on the question: “What Is This Place”? He took me to the Chapel of Val-de-Grâce and introduced me to the beautiful A/L initials decorated on the windows (Anne d’Autriche et Louis XIV). In fact, it is said that the queen, after getting pregnant, went to the Chapel of Val-de-Grâce to thank the Lord.

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Massive doors at the end of the Chapel: beauty is in the details

One thing I picked up from the words of my (now) friend was the lack of funds to sustain the museum. The only programs they’re able to afford are the concerts and auditions which, every Sunday, bring to the Chapel large and intellectual crowds.

The museum itself does not seem to have put in place ways to sustain its activities.

Oh well, as long as there’s light, there’s hope

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The beautiful Chapel of Val-de-Grâce

The Museum of the Army’s Health Service is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm with an admission ticket of 5euros. It is located at: 1 Place Alphonse Laveran.

For more information on both the museum and the Chapel – I’m definitely going to one of their concerts soon! – please check out the website (in French only).

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