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Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy, a region of universal renown, home to villages, major wine producers and brands such as Montrachet, Saint-Veran, Savigny, Santenay, Pommard and Puligny. The small town centre is cosy and laid-back with cobbled streets, historic building, charming squares, and as you would expect, a number of shops catering to tourists coming here for wine tastings and wine cellar visits. Situated right in the heart of this historic town is the jewel of Beaune and a place of legend.
The history of Hospices de Beaune dates back to the middle of the 15th century, a time of misery, famine and destitution at the tail end of the 100-years war with the Kingdom of England. In 1441, Duke Philip the Good’s Chancellor, Nicolas Rolin and his wife Guigone de Salins, were given permission from Pope Eugene IV to build a hospital and refuge for the poor. The hospital, also known as “Hotel-Dieu”, was consecrated on 31 December 1452 and the religious order of sisters, “Les sœurs hospitalières de Beaune”, was established.
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The Hospices de Beaune wine auction is the oldest and most celebrated charity wine sale in the world and attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe. This traditional annual auction, first held in 1859, takes place on the third Sunday of November.
The Hospice de Beaune charitable institution possesses nearly 60 hectares of vines and has been selling its wines for over 150 years in aid of the charities it supports. The event became public in the late 19th century.