Hospices de Beaune, a former almshouse of the 15th century, is now a museum, one of the buildings in a complex that has grown since its early beginning.
Although the Hundred Years War officially ended with the Treaty of Arras in 1435, massacres continued, initiated by roving bands of misfits who roamed the countryside.
Burgundy was then rules by Philip the Good. His Chancellor, Nicolas Rolin, alarmed by the plight of the people in Beaune, decided to create a hospital for the destitute.
Together with his wife, Guigone de Salins, they opened the doors and admitted the first patient in January of 1452. Even now, patients are still being treated there, although in modern medical facilities on the grounds.
Guigone de Salins, the Chancellor’s wife and foundress of the hospital, commissioned 140 square meters of tapestries for the chapel and to cover the beds of the main sickroom. One of these is seen in the picture to the right. These tapestries from the 15th century are still in the old hospital, and three of them are exhibited in the museum. Grateful patients and families in neighboring villages have contributed gifts through the centuries, and the Hospices de Beaune has grown into a Burgundian institution welcoming visitors by the thousands to the museum.