Hospices De Beaune also known as Hotel Dieu is quite the edifice. A time travelling experience, that takes you back to the gothic architecture and the middle ages. I admired the glazed tiles and marvelled at how the building was still standing and well maintained considering how old it was. These days most building are built so fast and it does not take them long to start wearing and tearing. It was founded by Nicolas Rolin and his wife Guigone de Salins in 1443. It was still used as a hospital until the 60’s as a hospital thereafter it was turned into a museum.
Its purpose was to be a palace for the poor and disadvantaged. This building inspired the Hotel Dieu-Flanders of Paris. For Catholics out there, you would be interested to know that the Pope Eugene IV supported this venture.
If you do not speak French, not to worry the museum has a portable guide that you can set to the language of your choice.
What I found interesting is that in those days the water was so contaminated that water was considered dangerous. The sick would have a canister of wine on their bedside. They would take their medicines with wine, which is not quite recommended today. Even the system of how sister’s could became nurses was explained. Another thing that struck me was a chapel where bedridden patients would attend mass in the comfort of their beds. How thoughtful was Nicolas?
The unique part about Hospices De Beaune is that it is the wine maker’s hospital. Their wines are also stored in Patriarche Cellars. They grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties on the vineyard. The vineyard is about 150 acres. They have an annual charity auction that started in 1859 that took place the third of November. This created a three day festival that focuses on the wines of Burgundy and the food. This event signifies the end f the wine year in Burgundy known as Trois Glorieuses–The Three Glory days. Each day has a significant event it runs from Friday to Monday. The auction includes Grand and Premier cru wines for you wine enthusiasts or sommeliers out there. As of 2005 the auction has been organized by Christies. The money is used to maintain the museum and buy hospital equipment.
If you love museum’s, wine, architecture and art this is definitely the museum for you.
Have a great day.