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Hospices de Beaune
Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune

Courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu
The Hôtel-Dieu is a former hospital in Beaune. It was founded in 1443 and was used as a hospital until 1971. The Hôtel-Dieu is now part of the building complex of the Hospices Civils de Beaune. Today, parts of the old complex are used as a retirement home, while the rest can be visited as a museum and provide an interesting insight into early modern nursing.


Rogier van der Weyden

Nicolas Rolin .. After the Hundred Years’ War, people in the Côte-d’Or region suffered from oppressive poverty. Many faced starvation. In the small town of Beaune, almost three quarters of all residents were threatened because they had become destitute due to the turmoil of war. For their own salvation, Nicolas Rolin and his wife Guigone de Salins decided to found a hospital here:
I, Nicolas Rolin, knight, citizen of Autun, lord of Authume and chancellor of Burgundy, on this Sunday, the 4th day of August, in the year of the Lord 1443, in the interest of my soul’s healing, striving for earthly gifts against God’s gifts change, I found, and irrevocably bequeath to the city of Beaune, a hospital for the poor, with a chapel in honor of God and his glorious mother
The foundation stone was laid by the Chancellor of the Burgundian Duke Philip the Good, Nicolas Rolin, in 1443, as is still documented on the entrance portal today. On January 1, 1452, the hospital receives its first patient.
Rolin provides the hospital with a 1000 Tourainer pound annually, from the profits of the “Great Saline” in Salins. The management of the facility is the responsibility of a “maître”; the latter, in turn, has to lead a community of “pious women”, the “Béguines venues de Malines”, who then received their order in 1459. The order of the spiritual life is entrusted to two chaplains, and finally Chancellor Rolin himself oversees the further development of the “Hôtel-Dieu”. After his death in 1461, his wife, Guigone de Salins, will continue to look after the hospital.
Thanks to the generosity of many residents of the region, this hospital has been bequeathed impressive property over time. In addition, the allocation of assets to surrounding smaller hospitals in the 17th century further improved the financial resources of the hospice. Numerous conversions and expansions have taken place over the centuries, but the late medieval appearance has not been affected to this day. The main buildings (north and south wings) date from the 15th century. Respecting the existing medieval architecture, the side wings were added in the 17th and 18th centuries, so that the ensemble forms a square encompassing the inner courtyard. Three of the buildings were thus built in the Renaissance style. Particularly striking are the colorful roofs, which consist of different colored terracotta tiles that have been glazed. There are numerous skylights on the roofs. The late Gothic entrance building with its gray stones and slate roof stands in clear contrast.
The old, disabled, wise, sick, parturient and needy people came to the institution until the 20th century.