Next stop on our barging trip is the delightful city of Beaune. Note the enticing carousel.
Distinctive French architecture on the streets of Beaune.
A very famous site in Beune is the Hotel-Dieu, a charity hospital founded in 1443. The most important monument in Burgundy, it exemplifies the rich Burgundian-Flemish architecture, and features the largest roof of colored, varnished tiles. The Hotel-Dieu was built in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the chancellor to the powerful Duke of Burgundy, Philippe-le-Bon, whose power really was that of a king. Rolin was in charge of finances (collecting taxes), and became extremely wealthy. (Funny how often that seems to happen throughout history, isn't it?) At the end of his life, however, he had a great desire to “give back” to his community (and buy a place in heaven). So he built what was a state-of-the-art hospital at his own expense. In 1463, King Louis XI said, “This is a beautiful thing to do with all the money he stole.”
A close up of the beautifully tiled gables.
Here are the hospital beds that line each side of the room. It looks pretty nice except for the fact that each bed was meant to be shared with another sick person. Beyond the hanging curtain behind each bed was another walkway through which the patient on that side might receive nursing attention more easily.
The magnificent ceiling in the hospital. Nicolas Rolin and his wife thought that beautiful surroundings would help to make the patients happier and healthier.
Jim listens to an excellent guided tour in the hospital courtyard.
A wondrous landscape on a sunny day near the city of Beaune.
The countryside around Beaune is famous for its grapes, which the Burgundians turn into some of the greatest wines in the world. Beaune itself is considered the wine capitol of the region.
Abundant grape vines. Some of the wines made from these grapes will cost hundreds of dollars per bottle, or more, and the bottles will be set aside to be opened years later by connoisseurs. But some of Burgundy's marvelous wines will grace picnic tables or café tables, for consumption by people who can't tell you about greater, or lesser, vintages, but who want wine to add flavor to a simple lunch or dinner. Who is to say that the experts' pleasure is any greater than theirs?