The Chapel's History
The Chapel's History
The Hotel Dieu Chapel, property of the Civil Hospices of Lyon, was built, thanks to generous benefactors, between 1637 and 1655 and was based on the design of t he Jesuit Church of the Gesù in Rome. It is one of three Baroque churches in Lyon. Its Louis XIII façade, the style of which lies somewhere between the Fontainebleau mannerist and the baroque, is the work of the Lyon sculptor and architect, Jacques Mimerel.
Robbed of all ornamentation during the revolution, the Chapel was restored to the Church in 1802. In the 19th Century, donations were used to decorate the Chapel in its current day style. Since then however, despite being classified as a « historical monument » in 1941, no further renovation has been carried out.
Lying under 150 years of dust caused by coal heating, the chapel is the only one of the three baroque churches in Lyon yet to be fully renovated, after Saint Bruno of the Chartreux and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. Its renovation, which began in 2012, will enable us to rediscover the true magnificence of a monument of prime importance to the heritage and hearts of the Lyonnais people.
The Grand Hôpital entrance and the Hotel Dieu chapel before 1844. Litho de Chapuy
60,000 Baptisms !
The rapid growth of the City of Lyon during the 17th Century meant that more people required nursing and the Hotel Dieu needed to be extended. A building in the shape of a cross was constructed, in which each arm of the cross could be used to house a ward for the sick. A new chapel became a necessity. In 1637, the cloth merchants of the city financed the construction of the chancel and the side chapels. Donations from the wealthiest families of Lyon then enabled the final six chapels to be built and decorated with their coats of arms, and the construction of the chapel was completed in 1655 with the erection of the façade.
With close links to the Hôtel-Dieu, the chapel served both as a place of worship for patients, a place where the nuns pronounced their vows and a place of Baptism for babies born in the maternity wing of the hospital. The Chapel of the Baptismal Fonts has thus, until very recently, seen an impressive number of new born babies, as more than 60,000 babies were baptised here between 1940 and 1970.