Hospices De Beaune Cour Interieure2Hospices De Beaune Cour Interieure2
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Hôtel-Dieu Museum - Hospices de Beaune

Burgundy's must-visit site

This is the historic monument that best evokes Burgundy. Its Gothic-style architecture and glazed tile roofs, its charitable and hospitable vocation and its works of art are emblematic of the Burgundy of the great western dukes, or of 15th-century Burgundy, or of the golden age of the Duchy of Burgundy.

Brittany has its lighthouses, in Burgundy we have the Hospices de Beaune. Ready for discovery and wonder? Follow us.

Hospices de Beaune

The legacy of a pair of benefactors

In the aftermath of the 100 Years’ War in the 15th century, France was weakened. The countryside was devastated, and the population, which had also suffered from the Black Death, had halved. It was at this time that Chancellor Nicolas Rolin, inspired by Flemish hospital foundations, built the Hôtel Dieu in Beaune. Accompanied by his wife, Guigone de Salin, Nicolas Rolin wanted to offer the most needy the very best in medical care. In 1443, the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune was built.

Moi, Nicolas Rolin, chevalier, citoyen d’Autun, seigneur d’Authume et chancelier de Bourgogne, en ce jour de dimanche, le 4 du mois d’août, en l’an de Seigneur 1443 … in the interest of my salvation, desirous of exchanging temporal goods for celestial ones … I irrevocably found and endow in the town of Beaune, a hospital for the poor sick, with a chapel, in honor of God and his glorious mother …

Nicolas Rolin - 1443

Glazed tiles

Burgundy's architectural imprint

You pass the porch of this elongated gray building in the center of Beaune. Your nose is still on your ticket and you have no idea what you’re about to experience. Your feet gently strike the cobblestones and you finally look up. You’re stopped dead in your tracks. The courtyard of the Hospices de Beaune reveals itself, majestic, splendid, unexpected. You gaze in wonder at the glazed tile roof. This symbol of prestige usually covers the roofs of cathedrals and princely residences. The roof of the Hospices de Beaune, the palace for the poor, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. It’s a treasure you never imagined.

La Grande Vadrouille - Vous aimez bien tout ce qui est bon
La Grande Vadrouille - Vous aimez bien tout ce qui est bon
La Grande Vadrouille - Vous aimez bien tout ce qui est bon

"Dîtes 33" in the Salle des Pôvres

This quote will speak to many of us. And it will come immediately to mind when you enter this magnificent Salle des Pôvres. You’ve guessed it’s one of Mother Superior’s lines to aviator “Big Moustache”, from the film La Grande Vadrouille, a movie starring de Funès and Bourvil. This famous scene in the “salle des pôvres”, a treatment room still in use at the time of the 39-45 war. It was no doubt not easy for the hospital sisters to keep up the seriousness of their daily tasks during the filming. You’ll discover a few anecdotes during your visit.

And above all, you’ll learn more about the beginnings of modern medicine, made available to the most disadvantaged. Nicolas Rolin and his wife were keen to offer therapeutic methods that were more hygienic, more effective and free of charge for the needy. This was reassuring for the sick of the time, even if most of them had more faith in God than in the care of doctors.

As proof, the Chapel adjacent to the Salle des Pôvres welcomed prayers of healing and gratitude.

Journey into the world of medicine

15th century

The tour takes you through the intricacies of modern medicine. You discover how the architecture of the place was designed to improve the efficiency of care and hygiene. Some practices are still used today, 6 centuries later.

The collection of torture objects, pardon medical instruments is often astonishing. You’ll find that anesthesia has its good points after all.

We then invite you on a treasure hunt in the apothecary. It’s up to you to find the potions with the most evocative names among the earthenware pots and jars. Can you spot “fish glue” or “sowbug powder”?

Visit the Hospices de Beaune

The kitchen, an essential part of medicine

at the Hospices de Beaune

In the kitchens of Hôtel-Dieu, the sisters were busy providing healthy, balanced food for the sick. Organization was meticulous. It’s easy to imagine the activity that reigned in this austere but functional room. Can you feel the warmth of the fireplace? Hear the spit turning in front of it? The concert of wooden spoons on brass instruments? A beautiful symphony for a gourmet show. And the aroma that wafts from the room… enough to invigorate any sick person.

Wine sales

To finance hospital care

The Domaine des Hospices de Beaune has always offered its vintages for sale to finance its hospital. After the French Revolution, wine sales were carried out on an amicable basis, then by sealed bids. But it wasn’t until 1859 that the auction system became the norm. Joseph Petasse, Bursar of the Hospices de Beaune, aware that the quality of the wines would bring buyers from all over the world to Beaune, contributed to the adoption of this type of sale.

Since then, the Hospices de Beaune Wine Sale has become the world meeting place for wine professionals. During your visit, you’ll discover how this extraordinary estate came to be. You’ll also get a glimpse of the prestigious appellations that, even today, finance the Hospices de Beaune’s investments.

The jewel of the Hospices de Beaune

The Polyptych of the Last Judgment

This work by Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden dates from the 15th century. This majestic altarpiece was commissioned by Nicolas Rolin and has therefore been an integral part of the Hospices de Beaune from the outset. Its fifteen panels depict the Christian theme of the Last Judgment. Proof, if any were needed, of the weight of religion on the souls of patients and carers.

Admiring this Polyptych can take some time, such is the incredible detail of the work. Set aside some precious minutes at the end of your visit to make sure you don’t miss out.

A must-see for

His sublime roofs

His role in medicine from the 15th century to the present

His masterful Polyptych.

Practical information

Address

Rue de l'Hôtel-DieuPlace de la HalleBP 40104, Beaune

Prices

Base rate - full rate adult12€
other prices9€
Young person's rate5€
Sonderpreis--

Opening hours

  • Monday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Tuesday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Wednesday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Thursday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Friday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Saturday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Sunday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Monday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Tuesday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Wednesday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Thursday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Friday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Saturday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Sunday 09:00 - 19:30
  • Monday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Tuesday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Wednesday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Thursday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Friday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Saturday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30
  • Sunday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:30

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