You may have read in my previous post that I headed to Beaune from Dijon for the afternoon recently. It’s such a quick and easy train ride, and you don’t ever have to worry about getting back, as there are constantly trains running between the two cities. Maybe one of these days I’ll even cycle between the two.
The Hospices de Beaune are one of France’s most beloved historical monuments, as they date back to the Middle Ages and are extremely well-preserved. The beautiful tiled rooftops make them immediately identifiable as Burgundian and can be seen from quite a distance, although the buildings are not very tall. They are truly that iconic and recognizable. The unassuming outer façade, visible to passersby looks like many other typical French monuments: concrete and even a bit sterile; it would be easy to pass and not wonder what was behind. But if we know anything about European doors, it’s that we must always wonder what is behind the doors. From various places in town, you can see the rooftops and spires poking out from above, but otherwise one may never know what splendor lies behind the entry doors to this sacred place.
The Hospices consists of several buildings, the main one being the original Hôtel Dieu. Being that this was a hospital for centuries, the current display is of hospital beds lining the walls in the main building. This very main room is connected to a chapel, showing just how important religion was to not only the nuns but also to the patients, who would go pray at the altar if their health and strength permitted.
As you can see, I took loads of photos (too many?) because I was so struck by the beautiful architecture and tiles. While it looks like I was there alone, I was not at all. I am always waiting patiently for people to exit my shots, and I am amazed I got so many without anyone in them.
The Hospices des Beaune are one of the main attractions in all of Burgundy, and for good reason. While the space served as a great hospital of the region, it also has a unique connection to the wine industry the region is known for. In the 1400s, a Guillemette Levernier gifted the hospital a plot of land holding vineyards, a gift that has remained part of the Hospices for centuries. There is a yearly auction that benefits the Hospices and its upkeep, which “is the most famous wine charity auction in the world. The proceeds of the sale are used to improve the hospital’s equipment and in the conservation of the Hôtel Dieu.”* In short, after 600 years, this place remains deeply connected with the people and the industries of the Bourgogne region, and it is evident in how proud the locals are of this landmark.
The beauty of these roofs and the importance of this historical monument put this on the map of top places to visit in Beaune. It is worth taking the time to visit the Hospices de Beaune and learn how it has played an important role in Burgundy and in France alike. It is located in the center of town and not far from the tourism office.
🇫🇷 Plan your visit to Beaune and the Hospices de Beaune with the help of the Beaune Tourism Office.
🍷 For more articles on the wonderful region of Burgundy, please check out these posts:
* Source: Beaune Tourism