Staying in the Hôtel-Hopitel Dieu, Paris


 Hôtel-Hospitel Dieu

I lay in bed, staring at the flood-lit towers of Notre Dame. The sky-light in my room looked straight onto the cathedral. Founded by Saint Landry in 651 AD, the Hôtel-Hopitel Dieu was the first hospital in Paris, and still cares for ill Parisians. The ghosts of some 1300 years of medical history glide along its marble corridors, whispering in consultation outside the wards, then pass into the old-fashioned lifts to visit the fourteen quiet hotel rooms hidden on the sixth floor.

Hotels can be seen as merely a place to sleep, or they can be another layer in all the experiences of travel. They don’t have to be expensive (fortunately!) but as I love pre-dawn and evening strolls, and watching a neighbourhood change by the hour, I try to pick a place to stay somewhere interesting for my walks. If the hotel comes with its own history, is in a old part of town and has a great cafe or restaurant nearby (hello, Paris!) it’s hard to resist. The Hôtel-Hopitel Dieu offered it all.

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The Physicians of Myddfai – 13th C Welsh Medicine


Typical medicinal garden

Medieval Medicine: Rhiwallon of Myddfai 


       Rosemary is useful as a lotion when a man is threatened with insanity. It is an excellent remedy for the stranguary, stone and catarrh. For swelling and pain in the legs, bruise rue, honey and salt. Apply thereto and it will disperse the swelling.

In the early 13th century, Rhys the Stammerer (warrior son of the Welsh Prince Rhys ap

Gruffydd), became Lord of Dinefwr and Llandovery castles. This title granted the right to call to his service a doctor from amongst his freeholders. Under Rhys’ patronage, Rhiwallon and his three sons, Cadwgan, Gruffydd and Einon, established a medical dynasty; the last of their line, Rice Williams, died in 1842. The gravestones of two other descendants, David Jones (d.1719) and John Jones (d.1739), stand in the parish church of Myddfai (in Carmarthenshire, south western Wales). Continue Reading →