Le Jardins de Beauvoir B&B, Lyon: 45°45’22.1″N 4°49’07.2″E
(8 Rue de Trion, 69005 Lyon, France)
Hospices de Beaune: 47°01’19.3″N 4°50’11.2″E
We were up for an early breakfast again so we could get started on our next road trip – driving from Lyon to Beaune, a town famous for the charity hospital built in the 1400’s by a wealthy patron.
If we took the freeway route it would take us about 90 minutes to drive about 160 kilometers from our B&B in Lyon but we have had enough of white knuckle driving on the freeway so we took the cross county route.
We had a few missed turns on the way out of Lyon but the GPS got us back on track without too much stress. Our cross country route added another 90 minutes to our driving time but it was much more relaxing & we got to see some of the best of rural France. Lots of small towns in between acres of vineyards, olive groves & a variety of food crops (squash, pumpkin, leeks, corn, etc.).
Traffic on this route was much more manageable
We arrived in Beaune around 2:00pm & were able to check in to our hotel – the Hôtel Athanor Beaune Centre. It truly is in the center of the town & it was only a five minute walk to the Hospices de Beaune. We took a brief rest in our room & then went in search of a place for a light lunch. It started raining pretty hard so we lingered in the shelter of our cafe until the worst of the weather had passed through.
After lunch we took a tour of the hospice. The hospital, officially known as: Hôtel-Dieu Museum – Hospices de Beaune Hôtel-Dieu – Hospices de Beaune was built in In 1441 by Nicolas Rolin, a wealthy Duke of Burgundy and his wife Guigone de Salins. This was an act of philanthropy & it also put the patrons in good stead with the Catholic church & the French aristocracy.
Our admission fee included a personal hand held audio device that provided commentary for our self guided tour. This is an excellent arrangement because it allows you to tour the entire facility at your own pace. The commentary is excellent & you don’t have to listen to tour guides shouting out to their groups. It makes for a much more relaxing & quieter experience for everyone.
Below are several photos of the hospice. It was one of the most interesting historical places we have seen on this trip. A definite “must see” place if you are traveling in this part of France.
The hospice main courtyard
The interior of the main hospital area – a total of 30 beds – 15 on each side
Each bed had the same arrangements for the patients.
The architectural details were amazing. Note the dragon’s head holding the cross beams and the carved faces of people in between the beams
Every carved face is different & a bit whimsical – perhaps to cheer up the patients
Even the kitchen had some very interesting plumbing! Note the swan head & neck taps.
The entire facility is maintained in pristine condition & has a lot to do with the prosperity of the town of Beaune. If you are interested in knowing more about this fascinating place here is a link to a travel video by Rick Steves on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kri_sWf0upg?si=b8_FApCd_CQyCU2u
When we were planning our trip to France his travel program and this segment about the hospice was a big motivation for us to come here.
The town of Beaune is very busy with traffic & tourists & the number of restaurants within a 20 minute walk from our hotel is astonishing. We were thinking of going out for dinner but this area is definitely for “high rollers” with many restaurant dinner menu suggestions starting at 100 Euros per person plus wine!
We chose a much more modest option & went to the local grocery store to buy some cold meat, veggies & crackers supplemented with a value priced wine.
Just outside the grocery store I saw this “outdoor laundromat” in the parking lot & had to take a photo of it. Toss your laundry in while you are shopping for groceries!
A pretty sharp contrast to the 1400 AD circa hospice!
Tomorrow we explore more of the Burgendy region