At Lessines, the birthplace of Walloon Surrealism master René Magritte, seven centuries of medicine and healthcare are celebrated at this rare example of a mediaeval hospital, which was saved from the bulldozers after it closed in the 1980s.
Notre Dame was run by an order of nuns who served the local community from 1242. Occupying some 20 rooms arranged around a central cloister, the exhibits include some hair-raising surgical instruments from the distant past, as well as religious art, furniture and 2,000 rare books and manuscripts. The Gothic cloister and Baroque chapel are particular delights, and overall Notre Dame is an outstanding example of Wallonia’s pivotal role as a centre of Christianity, art and science.
The Notre-Dame à la Rose Hospital is one of the last examples of an autarkic hospital site.
A living museum
There are 20 rooms to explore, divided in 4 themes:
- Medicine and Pharmacy
- Botanics: the cloister garden, planted with 350 medicinal plants is exceptional
- Tuesday to Fridays, from 14:00 to 18:00 (last entry at 17:00)
- Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 14:00 to 18:30 (last entry at 17:30)
- Closed on Mondays except for public holidays.
- All year round, booking mandatory
- Library or document centre
- Educational service
- Visitor guide for groups
- Car parking