Hôpital Fondation
Adolphe de Rothschild

In accordance with the last wishes of Baron Adolphe de Rothschild (1823-1900), his widow Baroness Julie Caroline (1830-1907) undertook in 1900 the construction of an institution specialised in ophthalmology inspired by the smaller Hôpital Ophtalmique which her husband had established in Geneva. Patients were to be served without charge and ‘without regard to their religion or political opinions’, an unprecedented disposition at the time. Architects Chatenay and Rouvre planned an innovative building based on the visionary ideas of Dr Armand Trousseau, who sought to apply a humanising principle in hospital design.

Adolphe de Rothschild
1823 - 1900

When the establishment opened in 1905, everything was organised to ally medical excellence with social engagement: a nursery allowed mothers to remain near their children, and evening consultations provided treatment to workers unable to leave their jobs during the day.

Julie de Rothschild
1830 - 1907

In 1909, Edmond James de Rothschild (1845-1934), Adolphe’s cousin, was named president of the Foundation, which gained state recognition the same year. During the First World War, part of the hospital was allocated to the military medical corps. Edmond James’s son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild (1881-1957), assumed presidency in 1934. In 1937, new statutes allowed the hospital’s entry into the national social security programme.

During the Second World War, the Nazis occupied the hospital, destroying archives and equipment. After the Liberation, the reconstruction effort was largely spearheaded by Maurice’s wife, Baroness Noémie (1888-1968). In 1957, their son, Edmond Adolphe (1926-1997), became president and offered new life to the Foundation through his significant commitment to scientific research and patient comfort. Thanks to his financial and operational support, comparable in size to Adolphe’s original legacy, a major extension was begun in 1962 in close collaboration with hospital staff and leading French and international experts. In 1990, the hospital reinforced its public service commitment by developing its partnership with state agencies and deepening its specialization in head and neck pathologies.

Under the presidency of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild between 1997 and 2021, the Foundation has become a teaching hospital with partnerships ranging from Harvard University in the United States to Kyoto University in Japan and Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Fields of expertise include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuro-surgery, endovascular treatment, imaging, infant epilepsy, cataract, glaucoma, artificial retina and genetics. Beginning in 2021, the Hôpital Fondation Adolphe de Rothschild will launch a major extension by with the construction of a new complex for care, research and teaching on the hospital’s historic campus at the foot of Paris’s Buttes-Chaumont.

Châtenay et Rouvre, Architects. Façade at the corner of Rue Manin and Rue Priestly, 1909. In L'Architecte, April 1909.
Anonymous photograph. The new ophthalmological institute at the Buttes-Chaumont, Paris, 6 May 1905. © Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris.
Anonymous photograph showing the main façade of the central pavilion, circa 1967.
A consultation room in 1905
A dormitory in 1905
Maternity room in 1905
ENT unit, 1960s
Operating room, 1960s
Pre-surgery preparation, 1960s