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.