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Published: June 11th 2015
On the road to Beaune. Vines as far as you could see.
Tuesday 9 June 2015
Some days just feel good and Beaune did this for us. We had slept soundly and woke refreshed and ready for our day trip to Beaune, not far from Dijon. The drive in morning sunshine through vineyard country was spectacular. Vines were spread up and down the gentle southeast facing slopes as far as the eye could see. Occasional châteaux and related buildings broke the expanse of green, while in the rows of vines It seemed pruning and spraying were under way. Machines that do this work were crawling like some fantastic huge insects through the rows, and sometimes appeared on the road en route to their next appointment. Traffic chaos did not result, all remained calm and good humoured on this lovely morning.
The same sense of calm accompanied us as the GPS guided us into Beaune where we easily found a car park with no sign of payment needed. Next stop the Tourist Information Office where a friendly young man explained all public carparks in Beaune are free. This is already our kind of place! Armed with a map and amply prepared by stopping for refreshment at one of those patisseries that make
A sci-fi creature or a grape vine trimmer
your eyes water, we made our way to the top sight on our list of must-sees, the Hotel-Dieu des Hospices Civils de Beaune. It was easy to find and entry was relatively cheap including audio guide. This place is amazing, from the distinctive coloured and patterned tiled roofs and the design which has a large central courtyard to the well preserved rooms and halls surrounding it.
The hospital for the poor was founded in 1443 by a Chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy and his wife. This benevolent couple made sure the buildings were of the highest quality, so they have existed down through the centuries, used to care for the sick or dying poor until 1971. A new state of the art hospital now continues the work begun so long ago and carried out for centuries by a nursing community of nuns. We believe many aspects of the operation and care of patients were well ahead of their time. We saw The Great Hall of the Poor set out with built in beds down both sides complete with pillows, red blankets and curtains for privacy, one highlight among many. Every aspect of the tour was well organised and
easy to understand, a credit to those responsible. If you visit Beaune don't miss this treasure, which, according to one tour member also has the finest toilets in France.
We enjoyed exploring other parts of the old town and found it contained enough sights to have kept us busy for longer than our day there. We will return to Beaune on a future trip, soon, we hope.
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