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).

Sunny Garage
Sunshine in the big garage

Sunny Garage

Once full with cars and trucks, there is only trash, scattered glass and sunshine left in the big garage. With the last employees the last cars must have left.

Opening
The rusty door of one of the remaining boilers of the Clinique Du Diable.

Opening

The rusty door of one of the remaining boilers in the heating room. Still some color is left but the door remains closed…

Come in! … or stay out?
Some entrances to the staff buildings

Come in! …. or stay out?

The entrances to the staff buildings and a leisure room with a forgotten child’s bicycle… With kids around it must have looked a bit more inviting than it does today.

Under the Kitchen
The storage room underneath the big kitchen of the Clinique Du Diable

Under the Kitchen

Underneath the big kitchen of the Clinique Du Diable this must have been the storage room. Now it’s empty – but it must have held a lot of non cooled food for this big complex while in use.

Regulation
Regulation - Valves in the cellar of the Clinique du Diable

Regulation

A lot of pipes run all through the basement across the buildings and up to the top floors. The valves as well as the pipes lost purpose and just remain relics with some color…

These Boots are made for…
These Boots are made for...

These Boots are made for…

However the boots got in to an empty room with (artificial – I assume) blood on the wall, one can only speculate.

If someone left props from a photo shooting – or if there was something else going on? We won’t know…

Bloody Hand
Bloody Hand - Clinique du Diable, France

Bloody Hand

A barricaded corridor underneath the big kitchen in the Cinique du Diable.

The furniture was most likely used once upon a time. But however it got here and where a red hand print on the wall comes from will stay a mystery…

 

In the Shadow of the Sun
In the Shadow of the Sun

The chief doctor’s villa in the Clinique du Diable, France

The chief Doctor’s villa in the Clinique du Diable.

The building is a bit up the hill, behind the main complex and hidden in the trees. It looks as creepy as some things we found in the cellar…

 

Clinique Du Diable – Update
Clinique du Diable - Urbex

Determined

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…

 

Last count
Clinique du Diable - Last Count

Last Count

From the day it was mounted, this electricity meter counted day and night. Until the cables got cut and counting stopped forever.

 

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