If you fell ill back in the Middle Ages whilst in Burgundy, you would have been lucky to grab yourself a bed in the famous “Hospices de Beaune” (built 1443).
I just visited “Hotel Dieu” (as it is also referred to) located in the center of Beaune, just down the street from where we used to live. Shame on me, but I never went into the place earlier as it was always packed with tourists (a rare species at this time of year here).
The street exterior resembles a very large cathedral and its entire slate roof was replaced over the past 2 years. After going thru the entrance, you discover the large courtyard, its buildings with gothic facades and multicolored-tiled roofs. The fire-glazed terracotta tiles apparently can be traced to central Europe and this colorful style became so popular, that in the long run it was regarded as “typical” to Burgundy.
The “Hospice” was run by nuns in this magnificient collection of buildings from its beginning until 1971 (!) when a modern hospital replaced it. The “Hospices” over the centuries was supported by benefactors who not only donated money, but also land and vineyards. In fact, the “Hospices” owns 61 hectares (150 acres) of Premier and Grand Cru vines and since1859 have the most famous wine auction in the world. So every November during the weekend of the auction there are festivities, wine tastings, and a folkloric parade in the town center.