Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Medieval Hospital

Continuing our visit to Hostel Dieu in Beaune, this is the main part of the hospital, with a row of beds on either side of a great hall.

At the far end from the main entrance is a chapel, convenient for helping 'medicine' (such as it was) along or for providing appropriate rites where 'medicine' failed.

I gather it was a major innovation at the time of its building.

For one, there was the provision of art, to help alleviate suffering.  

Also, the nursing sisters were given special training.  

The hospital was referred to as "The Palace for the Poor". 

However, it was terribly over-crowded.  Shortage of hospital beds is a perennial problem for the NHS, but nothing like I remember reading in The Seven Ages of Paris even before we went to France.   

I had to see what was behind the beds.  I think it said there were small
fires for heating, another major innovation.

I remember reading that part out to Bill, but I can't for the life of me find it again, or the bit I'd swear I saw on their website. Anyhow, the story goes that Louis XV visited the hospital and was shocked to see female patients and male patients sharing beds.  

He demanded that separate beds be provided for each gender.  

Theoretically, two men could still share but never mind, he did give a generous amount of money to keep the place going.

This is an 'N' (for Nicolas) and a 'G' for Guigone and the
word 'seule', meaning 'only'.

Consequently there is a room named for him and some of the wine sold under the Hospice label also bears his name.


Beryl said...

I like the idea of art to help in the healing process. Is this one of those places that you can really only appreciate in person?

Shelley said...

Beryl - I'm thinking that if one is well enough to appreciate the art it's time to get out of the hospital. I think most places can only truly be enjoyed in person, but if you wish, there is a panoramic video on the hospital website.

vintagefrenchchic said...

I have to say it looks pretty cool and for whatever reason, way more private than half the hospital rooms I have been in. I love the picture showing it in full swing.

Carolyn said...

Those beds actually look rather grand and very comfortable :)