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Hahnemann’s Last Eight Years in Paris – a Travelogue

Nisanth Nambisan
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Nisanth Nambison provides a photo tour of the places Hahnemann lived and worked during his last 8 years in Paris.

On our trip to present a paper at the 69th International Congress of Liga Medicorum Homeopathic Internationalis from 16-19th July 2014 in Paris, we had the opportunity to visit the places where Dr. Hahnemann spent the last eight years of his life. The evening of October 8, 1834, Melanie Hervilly from Paris met Dr. Hahnemann. Three months later on January 18, 1835 they were married at Koethen by a Catholic priest. Six months after their marriage in Koethen, they planned to move to Paris. Residents of Koethen tried to stop Hahnemann but he hinted that his departure was not final; he was only going to Paris to settle some family matters. The night of June 7, 1835 he left Koethen, in a sedan with the curtains drawn.

Hahne+Melanie

 

They finally reached Paris on June 21, 1835. They lived at the apartment of Melanie, at 26 rue des Saints-Peres, addressing the current Faculty of Medicine, only to move into two more houses in Paris, before finally saying good bye to the world.

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First Hahnemann House at 26 Rue des Saints Pères, Paris

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First Hahnemann House at 26 Rue des Saints Pères, Paris. The engraved stone reads “ICI HABITA EN 1835 A SON ARRIVEE A PARIS CHRISTIAN FREDERIC SAMUEL HAHNEMANN PONDATUER DE LA MEDECINE HOMEOPATHIOUE”

 

Ironically, opposite to this house today we see the Faculty of Medicine, Paris for the treatment method he opposed whole his life.

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Metro Stop: Saint-Germain des Prés, Line 4. Between the Boulevard Saint-Germain en Jacob Street.

 

Around 15 July 1835, 3 weeks after their arrival, they moved a little further south, to 7, Rue Madame, in the same district. The house is only a few meters west of the Luxemburg Garden.

[Warning: a new numbering system was established in the mid XIX century; old number 7 was more to the south, near Rue de Fleurus. Nowadays it is number 57-61 of Rue Madame. The buildings 57-61 date from the XVIIIth century.]

The ground floor has a long and wide corridor that overlooks a courtyard. The courtyard is now much smaller due to a new building that is in front of the Luxemburg Garden. Their apartment is situated on the first floor. Melanie’s parents also lived in this street.

In 1835, Hahnemann started his medical practice here, after the authorization given by Guizot.

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Hahnemann House at 7, now 57, Rue de madame, Paris

 

Metro Stop: Saint-Germain des Prés, Line 4. Between the Boulevard Saint-Germain en Jacob Street.

We do not know exactly if it is from October 1836 or July 1837 that they finally moved to the last house where he spent rest of his life at 1, Rue de Milan.

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Hahnemann House at 1 Rue de Milan, Paris

 

According to Haehl, it is 1836, but the signing of the lease was in 1837. The lease established till 1 April 1844 is in the name of Melanie Hervilly, but counter signed by Hahnemann. The lease includes a hotel, a caretaker’s house, a garden and outbuildings. The annual rent was 5000 Francs. Hahnemann stands as a guarantee and declares that the furniture, paintings and art objects are property of his wife.

The hotel was destroyed in the late XIXth Century and has been replaced by a larger building, keeping the same numbers: 1 and 3 Rue de Milan. We learn by reading the lease, that Samuel and Melanie are married under the mode of separation of property. The newlyweds had them transcribed into French on 29 March 1836 in Paris, 1 year after their marriage (18 January 1835). The pastor of the Lutherian Belief Church in Koethen celebrated their marriage.

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02 July 1843, Hahnemann on the death bed at 1 Rue de Milan, Paris

 

Hahnemann died there at 5am on 2 July 1843 and Melanie kept his body there before burial until the 11th July. He was buried in the Cimetiere de Montmartre to the north of Paris in what is popularly called the ‘artist’s quarter’. He was buried in grave number 8 and in 1878 Melanie was buried in grave number 9.

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Hahnemann Grave No.8, Cimetiere de Montmartre, Paris

 

On the insistence of wealthy American homoeopaths, in 1898 it was agreed that his grave should be opened, so his remains could be moved to the more prestigious Cimetière du Pere Lachaise. On May 24, 1898 the two graves were opened and the remains identified from a large lock of Melanie’s hair around his neck and from his engraved wedding ring. The bodies were moved to a much grander tomb in the Lachaise cemetery which can still be seen. It is a ‘celebrity’ grave along with many other Paris notables from the last century and also from this.

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Hahnemann’s Cemetery at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

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Dr. Nisanth Nambison & Dr. Smita Nambison at Hahnemann Cemetery, Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris

Metro Stop: Trinité, Line 12 (Liège) or Line 13. At the corner of Rue de Clichy.

We do not know how long Melanie occupied the building in Rue de Milan after her husband died on 2nd July 1843. During her trial for illegally practicing medicine in 1847, Melanie lived at 47, Rue de Clichy, a few meters from their old house, 104, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

The Paris College of Homoeopathy or `Institut de la Medecine Homeopathique’ was located at 93 Rue de la Harpe. This is a bow-shaped north-south street south of the Ile de la Cité, in the centre of old Paris, just at the top end of the Boulevard Saint Michel. It was opened in Oct 1839 by Dr. Croserio, with Dr. Jahr teaching Materia Medica Pura in German, Dr Mure teaching pharmacology and mnemonics, and Dr. Croserio running the Homoeopathic Clinic.

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Street where Paris College of Homeopathy was located, at 93 Rue de la Harpe.

Courtesy: Dr. Olivier Rabanes, Paris, www.homeoint.org, http://aosh.pagesperso-orange.fr/Melanie.htm

About the author

Nisanth Nambisan

Nisanth Nambisan

Dr.Nisanth Nambisan MD (Hom.), FBIH (London), PGDCA, MDP (IIM) Associate Prof. GHMC, Bhopal, INDIA is author of Pharmacokinship: Relationship of Homeopathic Remedy & Translated Complete Repertory to Hindi language with his better half Dr.Smita Nambisan (Asst Prof, N.S.Homeopathic Medical College, Bhopal). He has presented research papers at several National & International Congress.

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