On the rare free afternoon of our French nuclear facilities tour, we had the pleasure of visiting Beaune, the beating heart of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) wine region. We were treated to a headphones-and-tape-recorder tour of the Hospices de Beaune, a medieval charitable hospital for the poor, rather than the wine tasting that
everyone I would have preferred.
I shouldn’t be such a cynic. The Hospices, or the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune, was actually a beautiful building in archetypal French 15th century style, decorated with an intricate colored tile roof and stretching gargoyles. Now a museum, they had some of the original roof tiles on display — glazed like thrown pottery.
I wouldn’t have visited the Hospices on my own, but I left impressed. The site offers a rare architectural style and a lovely chapel. The town of Beaune itself is a good place to base oneself for a few days in the Burgundy region — it’s quaint, but not without tourist shops peddling wine and Dijon mustard.