Bagnoles de l'Orne
Built beside a romantic lake, hiding in magnificent forests, this charming thermal spa town nestles in the Normandie-Maine Regional Nature Park. With an elegant casino and racecourse as well as its renovated thermal spa centre, Bagnoles-de-l’Orne makes for a deeply relaxing break.
Discover the only thermal spa town in the whole of northwest France. Bagnoles-de-l’Orne is a delightful hideaway in a forest glade. The spa town has recently branded itself the Grand Domaine de Bagnoles, reflecting the elegance of its setting.
This thermal resort became particularly popular in the Belle Epoque. It retains something of the feel of the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, so prettily set around its lake. Some grand period buildings still occupy prime positions, including the casino, which has pride of place beside the water, and the palatial Résidence du Lac, standing out in patterned brick.
Amusing legends abound about the hot spring waters around Bagnoles-de-l’Orne and their almost magical properties. One story tells of an ageing local lord who was giving up on his ailing, ancient steed. The horse disappeared into the forest, only to emerge rejuvenated. The nobleman’s loyal companion then led his master to the thermal waters here. The lord took to the waters and also came out rejuvenated!
Bagnoles-de-l’Orne has long been a place to come to relax, then, and for contemporary pamperings, it’s good to know that the thermal spa centre has been renovated recently. Across the lake, a shaded park calls for a promenade, and beyond that stands a beautiful wood-surrounded racecourse. Horse-riding, Nordic walking, hiking, mountain-biking and archery are among many activities to enjoy at the resort and in the surrounding forests.
- Les Thermes (Bagnoles-de-l’Orne’s thermal springs): beyond the legends, the hot spring waters of Bagnoles are considered to have natural therapeutic properties. A speciality of the B’O Thermes establishment is the use, in certain treatments on offer, of Normandy cider apples together with the thermal waters!
- Arboretum: there are over 150 species of trees for you to discover in the gardens of the château (which is now home to the town hall).
- Belle époque district: time seems to have stopped at the beginning of the 20th century in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne’s most distinguished residential area, for the greater pleasure of romantic-minded wanderers and lovers of ornate architecture.
- Casino: set in an elegant Belle Epoque building, the casino occupies a prime lake-side location. The Hôtel Béryl beside the casino, and run by the same company, also offers more conventional spa treatments.
- Tours of the spa town: beyond the little tourist train that runs in peak holiday season, and beyond themed guided tours organised by the tourist office, you can also follow a 20-stage tour around the spa resort at your own pace, either using the audio-guide provided by the tourist office or a smartphone.