Officine ApothicairerieApothicairerie ancienne pharmacie hospitalière de l’Hôtel-Dieu, construit à la fin du XVIIIème siècle. Mille et un contenants nichés dans de magnifiques boiseries de l’Apothicairerie de Bourg-en-Bresse. Ain.
©Officine de l’Apothicairerie de Bourg-en-Bresse. Ain.|Pierre JAYET


, ancient pharmacy with so many hidden secrets

If you come to Bourg-en-Bresse, don’t miss our treasure, under any circumstances!

Just like all treasures, you’ll have to put the effort in to see it… Come to Boulevard de Brou, a stone’s throw from the Royal Monastery of Brou, and behind the great stone walls of the Hôtel-Dieu, the former hospital pharmacy is still found at its original location.

Three rooms devoted to the art of healing

The apothecary was transferred here at the end of the 18th century, and closed its doors once and for all in 1963. The Tourist Office now organises guided tours of these rooms.

After walking along an ancient cloister which is still perfectly visible, you’ll be entering through the side entrance. As soon as you begin to push open the wooden door, you’ll catch a glimpse of the glistening stills and other utensils.

You’ll find yourself plunged into the world of the pharmaceutical profession of bygone days.

A rare, one-of-a-kind room

It was in this room that the nuns would concoct their preparations. Oils, juices and syrups would flow from the extremely ancient press, onto the marble stone.  The mortars were used to make fine powders. The stills were used for distilling and the cast-iron furnace heated herbal teas and other concoctions. The finely crafted brass swan’s neck tap was used to fill the containers.

A library filled with secrets

The back room is filled with knowledge. The shelves of the library are lined with leather-bound books with golden writing. Imagine books about science, recipes, codices and other encyclopaedias that hold a wealth of information from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

A thousand and one containers

You haven’t seen it all yet.

When you walk into the dispensary, you be stopped in your tracks, not daring to step foot onto the red carpet that covers the wooden flooring. You’re our special guests, come on in. You look around and admire the 18th century oak units that line the walls in this big, yet warm and inviting room. On the shelves, the ceramic, glass and wooden containers all seem to be waiting for an expert hand to seize them. You’ll be surprised to notice that many of the ingredients are still here today. Everything has remained intact. A white powder here, a golden liquid there. In some of the containers, you can see scented balms, dried fruit, cloves and star anise. There are seven alcoves, each displaying a big pots (known as ‘monster pots’) filled with panacea.

Find out about some of the ancient natural remedies

You can feel that this place, with its subdued atmosphere, is rare and moving.

The only thing missing is you, to share

the fascinating history of this ancient pharmacy.

Continue the visit