There is a place in Beaune called the Hotel Dieu or Hospices de Beaune - if you get to this city, this amazing tour is a must see! A stone's throw from the square and market in Beaune, behind this unsuspecting doorway and plain white wall lies a breathtaking courtyard...
When I tell you that the pictures don't even do this scene justice, that's such an understatement. Being in this courtyard with it's beautiful 15th Century architecture and the incredible glaze tiled roofs is something you have to do in order to really take it all in.
Built in 1448, this hospital intended to be a refuge for the ailing and the poor, housed many orphans, elderly, mothers about to give birth and the destitute for many years before becoming a museum as it is today. The charity owns 150 acres of donated vineyard land and uses the wines for their annual auction each November which includes a black tie event at the Clos de Vougeot. Many of the wines are classified as Grand Cru and Premier Cru. This institution is one of the oldest examples of philanthropic, and wine-producing heritage, becoming tied to the economical and cultural life of Burgundy.
Room of the Poors
This amazing chapel was used for the bedridden so that they could attend mass from their beds. Instead of having pews like you would expect in a chapel, this room was lined on each side with curtained beds, each bed capable of housing two ill people. Across the middle of the amazingly tiled floor is a 10 inch grate stretching the width of the room over a running stream in the floor. This was said to be soothing and have healing qualities for the patients.
The hospice also has many artistic treasures inside including murals painted in the 17th Century, breathtaking architecture and busts. This altar piece known as The Last Judgement was the most awe inspiring I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it.
|"Polyptych of the Last Judgement", by the Flemish painter Rogier Van Der Weyden|
Through the back of the building and another courtyard is yet another building still used today to house the elderly. I'd be glad to retire there - wouldn't you?