Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon
Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon was a hospital of historical significance situated on the west bank of the Rhone river, on the "Presque-isle" (the Peninsula between the Saône and Rhone rivers which run through the city center). It has been out of use since 2010.
First erected in medieval times, the building originally served as the "Confrérie des frères pontifes" (est. 1184), a pontifical meeting-place and refuge for both traveling and local members of the clergy. However, when the first doctor Maître Martin Conras was hired in 1454, 'Hôtel-Dieu' became a fully functional hospital, one of the most important in France. As Lyon was a city known for its trade and seasonal fairs, many of the early patients were weary travelers of foreign descent.
In 1532, 'Hôtel-Dieu' appointed former Franciscan/Benedictine monk-turned-doctor and great Humanist François Rabelais, who would write his Gargantua and Pantagruel during his tenure here. Renaissance poet Louise Labé lived just beyond the western limits of the building.
Massive expansion projects in the 17th century by Ducellet (under Louis XIII and Richelieu) and in the 18th century by Soufflot (under Louis XIV and Colbert) replaced the original building with the grandiose wings and courts we know today. In fact, at its greatest point, the hospital extended from its present position beyond Bellecour to engulf the area now occupied by the central post office.
'Hôtel-Dieu' houses the "Musée des Hospices Civils" a permanent exhibit tracing the history and practice of medicine from the Middle Ages to modern time and includes a fine collection of apothecary vases amongst other objects.