The Marché aux Vins in the Cordeliers church
Right in the heart of the town facing the famous Hospices de Beaune the Marché aux Vins welcomes you in the former Cordeliers church.
While the day and the month – March 24th – are known, the year of its construction remains a mystery. The majority of historians agree that it must have been built between the late 14th and the early 15th century.
This Franciscan church, which was dedicated to Saint Bernadin, was exceptionally high so that its bell tower competed with that of the Hôtel-Dieu. Its entrance facing the North would today be in the axis of Rue de l’Hôtel Dieu, which was opened in 1803.
In the course of the centuries, the church served as a prison, a corn hall, a stable, a warehouse and a tin workshop.
It was bought up and restored in 1977 and today accommodates the Marché aux Vins, its architectural beauty being equalled only by the exceptional wines presented.
Noteworthy: this is where one finds the only vineyard within the historical centre of Beaune, at exactly the same spot where the Franciscans used to cultivate white vines to produce altar wine for mass.
The order of the Cordeliers in Beaune
In 1239 quite a special procession escorting the Christ’s crown of thorns made its way to Paris. As it arrived in Beaune, one of its members fell ill. His name was Valérien and he belonged to the order of Saint Francis, a very young order known in France as the Cordeliers due to the rope-like cord they wore around their waists.
It was founded by Francis Bernadone, better known as Saint Francis of Assisi.
Unable to continue the journey, Valérien was left behind in Beaune with another one of the friars to help him regain his health. The township granted them accommodation in the guardhouse at the Bellevent town gate, situated in what is today Rue de l’Hôtel Dieu.
On the 15th of July 1246 Pope Innocent IV gave his consent for the foundation of a Franciscan convent in Beaune.