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Grand Hôtel Dieu

An exceptional transformation

Remarkable sites and monuments

Last updated date : 02/03/2023

This former hospital built in the twelfth century is today a place where people gather and enjoy themselves, with shops, bars and restaurants in a magnificent setting. The Grand Hôtel-Dieu is a history-filled gem that must be experienced!

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Grand Hôtel-Dieu: an important part of Lyon’s history

Spanning 375 metres, its striking façade on the banks of the Rhône was designed to impress visitors arriving from the left bank. More than two centuries have passed by since it was built and the sight of the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, one of Lyon’s most iconic structures, remains every bit as spectacular. Listed as a Historic Monument in November 2011, the building is an architectural treasure.

Now a lively leisure attraction in the city centre, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu continues to tell the 900-year story of Lyon’s tradition as a centre of medical expertise. This former hospital built in the twelfth century was governed first by the Frères Pontifes (Bridge-Building Brotherhood) and then by the monks of Hautecombe, followed by the monks of Chassagne-en-Bresse, before being sold to the City of Lyon in 1478. A certain François Rabelais worked at the Hôtel-Dieu in 1532. The writer was still in Lyon when he published the novels Pantagruel and Gargantua. In 1755, the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot designed the iconic Grand Dome adorning the building’s roof, which was completed in the nineteenth century.

Shops, restaurants and cafés in the Grand Hôtel-Dieu: spoilt for choice

A new chapter in the building’s history began in 2010 when the hospital was closed. Its metamorphosis, imagined by the architects Albert Constantin and Didier Repellin, required four years of works: at the time it was the biggest private renovation project in Europe!

After opening to the public once again in 2019, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu is now a place for shopping and leisure. This exceptional monument, with its 21 wings and 7 courtyards, is home to nearly 20 fashion, well-being and decor brands. There is a wide choice of food on offer with a variety of cafés and restaurants. You can enjoy a drink at Le Dôme, the bar of the InterContinental hotel, for a magical experience! For entertainment, you will also find the Véritable Théâtre Guignol de Lyon (authentic Guignol puppet theatre) and the Musée de l'Illusion (museum of illusions). Because the Grand Hôtel-Dieu is also a gathering place, activities are regularly organised (some of which are free), with a specific programme in the summer (including outdoor film screenings, DIY workshops, summer market, concerts and more).


It happened at the Grand Hôtel-Dieu...


Grand Hôtel-Dieu


How to visit the Grand Hôtel-Dieu?

If you would like to explore the city’s medical past, you can take one of the fascinating guided tours of Lyon's Grand Hôtel-Dieu. You can discover the Apothecary (ancestor of the pharmacy), which was built in the late seventeenth century, and is now located beneath the Dôme des Quatre-Rangs. Its history is closely linked to that of the former Hôpital de la Charité, which was closed down in the 1930s. Several of the rooms were saved and reconstructed, to serve as exhibits in the heart of the Grand Hôtel-Dieu. If you would like to visit it without a guide, this historical part of the building can be accessed for free on the first Sunday of the month from 10 am to 7 pm.

You can also learn about the building’s history and architecture with the audio-guides developed by the Grand Hôtel-Dieu. 

Lastly, on the site of the Hospices Civils de Lyon, you can take a virtual tour of the Chapelle de l'Hôtel-Dieu: via 14 panoramas, you can get a 360° view of the building and click on works to enlarge them as a 2D image. Built in the seventeenth century, the chapel has conserved its original purpose, which is to receive the public and hold religious celebrations.

Remarkable sites and monuments

Grand Hôtel Dieu

1 place de l'Hôpital - 69002 Lyon 2ème

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