Clinique du Diable

Clinique du Diable - Front side Deep in the hills, in the Alsace area in France, decays a big complex that was once a clinic, a sanatorium and even a 4-star hotel. A history that’s told quickly – and a sad story of decay that advances even quicker… But still a tale in pictures to record a moment in time.

The History

The oldest part, built in the late 19th century, was initially a hotel where the German Emperor William II resided. Between the two wars it got converted into a sanatorium and in 1950 to a rest and care institution. During 40 years over 80 employees cared for thousands of patients. The complex contains an indoor pool, a theater, a chapel,  a house called “Villa du médecin chef” (The chief doctor’s villa), buildings housing the staff, a boiler room, garages etc.

Today

A Messy Room It’s said that the Clinique was once one of the most beautiful medical centers in the region. But this started to change in the winter of 2011/12, when the center closed and left on its own. The owner claimed that they were not able to monitor and protect all of their buildings.The Clinique quickly turned into a copper mine for organized traffic. Only the ducts of the pipes are left, wires cut close to the connections. Inside, the ceilings are methodically boned on 6 floors. Everything that promised some money got stripped down and stolen. Despite the rather remote and isolated location, the place became a playground for vandals. There is no window intact, almost no wall without graffiti and the furniture is either smashed or thrown out of the windows. Due to the fast deterioration, the owners were facing quite a challenge in finding a buyer for this big complex and the 7.6 ha of land (of which 6 ha are forest). The initial selling price for the property was 3 million Euros. In six years the site has lost  value and attractiveness not only due to decay but most of all due to the many illegal intrusions. Regarding some information I found, a sales agreement was signed by the end of June 2017, effective by mid-October. The amount of the sales has not been disclosed but the sum of 150’000€ got mentioned. The new owner is a French investor with a project focusing on the creation of residential housing and a hotel. If – and when – the project will be started… no source seems to know. What I know: I am planning another visit in spring 2018. There is still some undiscovered space in there. For example: I didn’t find yet  the theater which is mentioned in one source. How the heck did I miss that? It cannot be that small! But even the cellar is yet undiscovered…

disconnectedThe visits

By accident I found some GPS coordinates on the internet along with a few photos. So we decided in April 17 to go for a visit. After the coordinates proved to be false (we found a building which was still in use), we decided to find a snack in a close by village. The only open shop was a gas station. The guy at the counter was at first a bit confused when we asked him about the “Clinique du Diable” but his wife figured out the location we were looking for. So from there we got the right directions – with the warning that the place is monitored by police and that we may have to pay a fine if caught. For we don’t draw too much attention, we parked in a nearby space in the forest and climbed the last piece uphills through the forest. No police, no motion… perfect! A little later, in the main building: some noise! Some shadows moving – and then… some people with cameras, tripod, helmet, backpacks! So obviously we were not the only ones. In the later afternoon, when we wanted to leave, a few teenagers appeared with their car. At least one had a camera, so hopefully no vandals… Since it was still cold in the mountains in April (some snow and icy wind blowing through each and every broken window and open door) we were not able to sneak through every room. So in July we paid another visit. Snowy roof windowsIt seemed as even more furniture was smashed during those three months – and there has even been a fire in one of the buildings: black grime on the outside walls, the distinct smell of burned wood and paint… several rooms in dark black. Luckily the fire didn’t find too much substance and must have stopped by itself. There was no evidence of any attempt to extinguish the fire. That afternoon we met an older couple from France, exploring the site with their cameras. They were kind of surprised to meet Swiss people in a place like that. The chat was short, but we got told that the place is also used by homeless people to spend the nights. True: I remember something, it could have been sleeping bags, stuffed in some holes, to hide them until the owners return. In the later afternoon, again: some teenagers showed up – this time throwing rocks from the outside into the buildings. When they saw us, they disappeared – but most likely returned after we left. Still: bored teenagers like those are not only ruining everything, but put other people in danger… April 2018: The Clinique still stands. With some people from our photo group we went for an urban exploration to the Clinique. Compared to my last visit about a year before, there is even more damage caused by vandalism and even thief. Also the place got rather crowded meanwhile: not only urban explorers but geocacher and groups with soft air- or paintball guns in army uniforms… And still: there were more rooms and corners to discover. So my pile of photos raised to over 400 GB and a lot of work has to be done with them…

Pictures from 2018

Clinique Du Diable 2018

Pictures from 2017

Clinique du Diable

Latest pictures from the clinique

The Clinique du Diable is still a “work in progress”. As we got over 400GB of photos, from time to time I spend some time to create a new picture and post them sporadically. Here you can find the latest entries. (The gallery above gets updated too – but less frequent).

Rusty Horses Power
Rusty Horses Power - Clinique Du Diable, Alsace, France

Rusty Horses Power

This is the only remainder in a small room – everything else got stolen. One can only assume that this engine was once driving the ventilation of the main building.

 

Red Bathrobe
Red Bathrobe - Clinique Du Diable

Red Bathrobe

The hot water cooled down a while ago – most likely the boilers are completely dry and rusty inside… and somebody may have already checked if it’s worth to peeling them off to get the metal underneath.

 

Clinique Du Diable
Clinique Du Diable, Alsace, France

Clinique Du Diable

The Clinique Du Diable is a big complex with six buildings. This is the view from the front to the main building with some of the employees’ houses. This time in black and white.

 

Shadow of a Chair
Shadow of a Chair - Clinique Du Diable, Alsace, France

Shadow of a Chair

In the basement of the chief doctor’s villa, a strange chair is waiting in a dark corner. The screws and shape may remind more of torturing than healing patients…

 

Color in the Attic
Color in the Attic - Clinique Du Diable, Alsace, France

Color in the Attic

Green and red walls, remains of a red carpet… it must have been a colorful room. Although it’s not on top of the building, there is the roof forming one wall – so almost the attic.

 

Boiler Room
Boiler Room - Clinique Du Diable, Alsace, France

Boiler Room

In the boiler room only two of the four boilers are still standing and slowly corroding with time. Many pipes and two boilers must have been stolen and sold for metal long time ago.

 

Bloody Butchery
The butchery behind the kitchen

Bloody Butchery

It looks bloody. It looks like the butchery – and it’s just in the far corner of the kitchen. Only little people still know what went on in there – and why the walls are still bloody red…

 

Determined
Determined - Clinique du Diable, Alsace, France

Determined

A friend from our photo group on his first UrbEx adventure in the Clinique Du Diable.

Just a year after my first visit to the Clinique I went back with some friends to see what changed – compared to my last visit there is even more damage caused by vandalism and thieves. The place got also rather crowded meanwhile: not only urban explorers but geocacher and groups with soft air- or paintball guns in army uniforms… And still: there were more rooms and corners to discover.

 

Escape(?) Tunnel
Escape(?) Tunnel - Clinique Du Diable, France

Escape(?) Tunnel

In the cellar of the main building we found this low tunnel. The end leads to some barricaded stairs and maybe an exit.
What the use for this tunnel was remains a secret. But one could think… the shelves are long enough for human bodies and at the beginning there is a small room with one table…

 

Mortuary Chamber
Mortuary Chamber - Clinique du Diable

Mortuary Chamber

The first thought when I found this room was… Mortuary Chamber. Maybe because of the one table in there, deep in the basement… And maybe the tunnel with shelves that starts in the right corner of the room…

 

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