The Hôtel Dieu of Bourges !

I am taking you back to the old Berry country in the center of France, the old Centre ,now it is dept Cher no. 18 in the region of Centre-Val-de-Loire, of my belle France.  I have come here several times ,and always love to come back. This is a new post with older pictures found in my vault that should be in my blog, Therefore, here is my take on the Hôtel Dieu of Bourges. Hope you enjoy the post as I.


As a brief intro, the City tourist office describes Bourges as the La Ville des Nuits Lumiére (the city of night lights ). It is lighted at night in a quant medieval ambiance which makes it unique. Love to walk its cobblestone streets and the hilly ones to climb stairs from one level to the next, it is awesome.

The Hôtel-Dieu of Bourges is fifty years later than the Hospices de Beaune, because this Hôtel-Dieu dates from 1510-1527 for the Gothic part (chapel, ward and kitchens) and from 1628-1639 for its classical part, but it is the same design of medieval hospitals. This Gothic ensemble will be completed by two other buildings in the 17C. The arrival of the first nuns, four in number and following the rule of Saint Augustine, dates from October 21, 1523, but the actual commissioning of the hospital dates from 1527. In 1796, the Hôtel-Dieu was renamed the civil hospice and military and personnel become secular. In 1802, after the signing of the Concordat (sort of peace between the revolutionaries and royals in France)  the Hospitaller Sisters of Mary Immaculate returned to take over the General Hospital and the Sisters of Charity took over the Hôtel-Dieu. The latter left the Hôtel-Dieu in 1970.


The first hospital establishment in Bourges was originally against the apse of the cathedral. It must have been around the year 580 under the archbishop Saint Sulpice Sévère of Bourges. It was named “Domus Dei, Sancti Hursini” in 1198, then “Domus Infirmorum Bituricensis” in 1218 and later “Grand Hôtel Dieu” in 1484, Situated outside the Gallo-Roman ramparts, this Hôtel-Dieu was nevertheless built within the wall of Philippe Auguste, near the west gate of the city (Pont Merlan); the previous establishments were located in the east near the Saint-Étienne Cathedral or in the north near the Voizelle (Saint-Julien Hospital) which were older (1216); other establishments are located beyond the enclosure and the Yévre: Hôpital Saint-Lazare (maladrerie dedicated to lepers) and the Sanitat (current Hôpital Général: refuge for the plague victims during the great plague of 1582 and 1628 ).


We can also think that the great fire of 1487 played a role in the move, by causing significant damage, even if we know that the cathedral was not affected. It is on the grounds of the parish of Saint Médard that the new Hôtel Dieu was built. The site of the new Hôtel-Dieu is as follows: was built near the Saint-Sulpice gate (currently Place Rabelais) on the edge of the rue Royale (rue Saint-Sulpice, currently rue Gambon) which linked the Saint-Sulpice abbey, located outside the walls, to the shopping district of Rue Mirebeau and Place Gordaine. To begin with, a hôtel-dieu like that between 1510 and 1526, was built on the banks of a river, the Yèvrette, this allowed the water from the kitchens and the latrines to be discharged into the river.  Then,  an immense chapel, and a ward for the sick. This sick ward, comprised 28 beds,  opened directly onto the chapel.  Thus, patients can attend religious services directly from their bed. The volume of this room, for air quantity problems, is very large, with large and wide windows, A large fireplace is used to heat all the rooms. As for the floor, it is covered with large stone slabs. Finally, some annex buildings for the kitchens…. And a nearby cemetery. Being able to live in self fed, a large garden allowed the cultivation of vegetables.

In the health and charitable history of the city, the Hôtel-Dieu will quickly take precedence over other establishments. Its care activities ceased in November 1994. Owner of the site since 1996, the City of Bourges has carried out numerous rehabilitation works there. A new modern hospital to go on the road to Nevers now called Jacques Coeur. In 2003 part of the building was transformed, on one side the Maison des Associations, with offices and meeting rooms for the associations of Bourges and on the other the CROUS, i.e. accommodation for students, In 2005, the central part was rehabilitated and 64 social housing units were offered as a priority to people living in the Avaricum district.

The city of Bourges on the Hôtel Dieu

The new Hospital Jacques Coeur today

The local Berry province tourist office on Bourges:

The Bourges Berry tourist office on Bourges:

There you go folks, a nice beautiful town to just walk and walk amongst nice history and beautiful architecture; this is one of them, the Hôtel Dieu of Bourges. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!


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