Flashback on the Hôtel-Dieu’s conversion

Before its spectacular transformation, this monument of Lyon on the banks of the Rhône was a hospital.

Nowadays, this building, a listed historic monument, is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History of the building



by the Bridgebuilding Brotherhood



completed by two students of Soufflot.



in the great Dôme, later rebuilt in 1967



of the public hospital and the chapel



of the new, renovated Grand Hôtel-Dieu

The structure was constructed in 1184 by the Bridgebuilding Brotherhood, a society of building monks, and was then named the Hôpital du Pont du Rosne. It was initially a reception centre for the sick, as well as pilgrims and other travellers.

© www.patrimoine-lyon.org

François Rabelais was named the hospital’s chief physician. According to the archives, it was also during his time in Lyon that he wrote the book Pantagruel.

In 1754, the majestic cupola was erected by two students of Jacques-Germain Soufflot: Toussaint Loyer and Melchior Munet. It was completed in 1761.

Over the course of 1796, the new joint administration of the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu and the Hôpital de la Charité put an end to their rivalry. Inside these buildings, many surgeons distinguished themselves with their achievements. In 1914, the hospital was requisitioned to become an army hospital, which it remained until 1923.

In 1944, the great dome caught fire. It was only rebuilt in 1967, based on Soufflot’s original plans.

The dome is a reflection of its architect’s style: neoclassical architecture that is an amalgamation of Gothic airiness and ancient splendour.

©Région Rhône-Alpes, General Inventory of the Cultural Heritage of the City of Lyon

In the early 21st century, hospitals were considered to be businesses and had to pay the associated economic imperatives. The investments made between 2002 and 2010 offered a response to the development of private structures but did not preclude the need for reorganizations.

The hospital, the museum of public hospitals and the chapel definitively shut their doors at the end of 2010.

A breathtaking conversion

The building’s transformation posed considerable challenges, given the requirements associated with the inscription of its location on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The refurbishment project aimed to accentuate and give new life to this heritage site, whilst respecting its history.

Project spanning 42 000m²

17 635m² of shops and restaurants

8 000m² of courtyards and gardens

In particular, the site is home to the InterContinental Hotel, a convention centre, the International City of Gastronomy, and housing.

The work began in April 2015, after four years of project design by the Eiffage Group.

« The project carried out at Lyon’s Grand Hôtel-Dieu is the biggest private operation to convert a historic monument that has ever been conducted in France.» Thierry Brossard – Project Manager Eiffage Construction

This building project was carried out in collaboration with architects Albert Constantin and Claire Bertrand of AIA Associés and Didier Repellin, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, plus Eiffage Construction, Eiffage Energie and Generin.

Participation of Maison Rouveure Marquez

Rouveure Marquez participated in this spectacular renovation. The company’s expertise in plasterwork decorated and enhanced the inside of the majestic dome. The ceilings in the restaurant Epona were also installed by Rouveure Marquez teams.


More information

1 place de l’Hôpital, 69002 Lyon
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