Beautiful in Beaune!
The sun finally came out today after hiding for most of the last week and it was a beautiful day in Beaune! I finished my route checking duties for the Lonely Planet guide and sent off my 'work' to Paris. So I spent today being a tourist in Beaune before heading to the Loire River valley.
Beaune is the center of the Burgundy wine world and so many of the sites here are wine related. One of the places I visited was the museum of wine where I learned about the different soil types of the Cotes d'Or that make the wines here so wonderful and so varied. There were also displays on how the vineyards are worked, wine barrel-making, the history of burgundy bottles and glassware, and an old winery with some of the biggest wine presses I've ever seen.
The main attraction in Beaune is the Hospice du Beaune - a hospital that was set up in the 15th century and continued to serve patients into the 1970's. This is really an amazing place with it's colorful tiled roof and displays of the early ideas of healthcare. The main hall for the sick has beds at one end and a chapel at the other as healthcare and religion were closely intertwined. The nurses were all nuns. Tools for blood letting and drilling holes in the head were on display. The pharmacy had containers for dried and ground samples of everything you could imagine and some you couldn't (not sure what ground eye of frog was used to cure). And again the link to wine is also present. An auction is held at the Hospice each year where the first barrels of the latest vintage are sold. This event does much to set the prices each year for Burgundies that we will be drinking next year and for decades to come.