Ancestry UK

L'Hôpital des Enfants Dieu (Enfants Rouges), Paris, France

The Hôpital des Enfants Dieu was founded in 1536 at the behest of King Francis I. Financed by a tax on money-lenders, it occupied an existing building near to the Temple on Rue du Chantier du Temple (sometimes referred to as Rue Portefoin. On the map below, its location is indicated by the number 47.

The School site is shown on the 1713 map below.

Hôpital des Enfants Dieu (Enfants Rouges) site, Paris, c.1713.

The establishment received children whose parents were at the Hôtel-Dieu (Paris's oldest hospital, largely catering for the city's poor) as well as orphans from outside the city and its suburbs. It was decided that, as a symbol of their 'charitable support, the children should be dressed in red and the institution thus quickly became known as l'Hôpital des Enfants Rouges.

In 1680, the Hôpital des Enfants Rouges was taken over by another institution, known as La Couche, but continued in operation under its own name until 1772.

In 1777, the premises was purchased by Les Prêtres de la Doctrine Chrétienne who remained until 1790. The buildings were demolished at the time of the Revolution and la Rue du Grand Chantier created at the location, now la Rue des Enfants Rouges.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Archives de Paris, 18 Boulevard Sérurier, 75019, Paris. Has extensive records for the city's foundling, abandoned and orphan children from 1639 onwards — there is a useful introductory page.


  • None identified at present.