Bagnoles de l'Orne – Spa town from the Belle Epoque
Visitors to Bagnoles de L’Orne at the end of the 19th century may well have thought it was a newly-built town as spas, casinos, villas and hotels replaced the woodland. The town was a popular destination for high society from the courts of Europe who came to Bagnoles to take the waters.
During the Belle Epoque which abruptly ended with the onset of the Great War, it was very fashionable for the wealthy to enjoy the benefits of sea bathing and spa towns. Bagnoles de l'Orne was born on the remains of Roman baths and a hot spring whose waters had therapeutic properties. It remains even today the only spa town in western France.
The resort has very well preserved an entire district dating from the Belle Epoque featuring fine villas adorned with coloured tiles, balconies, bow windows, different motifs, grimacing mascarons and intricate roofs. A wonderful change of scenery in the Normandy countryside.
Emblematic buildings in the centre of Bagnoles de l'Orne
The Art Deco style casino replaced the original wooden buildings which have now disappeared and which gave their name to one of the town’s main streets « La Rue des Casinos ». Today’s casino also has slot machines…
The Grand Hotel, one of the first hotels in France to have running water and electricity, is on the other side of the lake opposite the casino and has been converted into flats.
The Pavillon des Thermes Spa still gives medical treatment but also offers health and fitness treatment. Wellness has provided the economy of the resort with a welcome boost.
Church of Sacré Cœur is a pure Art Deco style building on the edge of the Belle Epoque district with splendid stained-glass windows made by Charles Lorin from the Chartres Workshops in the 1930s.
What to see and do near Bagnoles de l'Orne?
Mushroom picking and outdoor sports in the Forêt des Andaines
Bagnoles is surrounded by the Forêt des Andaines, a forest which was said to have been frequented by the Knights of the Round Table searching for the Holy Grail in days gone by. The many thousands of hectares of forest are perfect for jogging, Nordic walking, hiking and mountain biking. In autumn, the forest echoes to the roar of rutting stags. Mushroom enthusiasts can enjoy picking mushrooms alone or take part in a day out run by the Office de Tourisme or a local hotelier and learn how to cook the ceps, girolles, chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms they have gathered.
Bagnoles is 50km due west of Alencon. It can be reached by road or by bike along the Véloscénie cycle route which runs from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Explore Orne in Normandy with Gites de France Orne : Pays d'Ouche, Suisse Normande and Pays des Haras"