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.