Think "socialized medicine" is a 20th century concept? Think again! This hospital was founded back in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone for the express purpose of serving indigent patients. Amazingly, it did so in this building all the way until the 1980's (the sick are now treated in a state-of-the-art building on the outskirts of town). Why Rolin and his wife undertook this monumental task, the downright weird medieval treatments that were dispensed here, and the stories of the nuns who selflessly nursed the sick, are told here in fascinating detail. Along with wall text, visitors are given excellent audio guides (they're part of the price of admission).

Interestingly, the hospital is also famous for its excellent wines, produced by vineyards bequeathed to it by grateful patients over the years. Care continues to this day, supported by money earned from the hospital’s annual wine auction, which takes place on the third weekend of November, the Vente des Vins des Hospices de Beaune. Pictured here is the vast “room of the poor.”  The building also holds important works of art, including a The Last Judgment polyptych by Flemish artist Roger van der Weyden.