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Bagnoles de l'Orne - a legendary spa town

The town of Bagnoles de l'Orne lies in the north of France, in the Orne department of the Basse-Normandie region. Long established as a thermal resort, its waters are the stuff of legends too. Tales of their amazing restorative powers include the story of a horse recovering from the brink of death, an ageing monk being given the power to leap from the highest rocks above the town, and many more.

Attractive, tranquil town

Whether or not you subscribe to these tales, Bagnoles de l'Orne is an interesting and attractive town in which to spend some time. Although it is the only spa town in Normandy, it is typical of all French spas, having an atmosphere of elegance and tranquillity and being sparkling clean and cared for in appearance.

Architectural eras

Bagnoles de l'Orne is fascinating in architectural terms as it has some very distinct areas which are the product of different times in its history. The Belle Époque era, from around the turn of the century, is represented here by elegant bow-fronted villas set in wide tree-lined streets. It clearly speaks of the wealth and refinement of the upper classes who occupied them at this time. This quarter is very evocative of its period, and as well preserved as any in France.

Art Deco

The other architectural style in evidence in Bagnoles is that of Art Deco. Dating to the "Roaring Twenties" this part of town grew up as a result of the rapid growth in popularity of the thermal leisure industry. The "bright young things" of the time came to Bagnoles in their droves, and demanded entertainment on a level hitherto unknown in this previously quiet, affluent town. Two casinos and concert and dance halls were built, along with facilities for horse racing and golf. Art Deco styles predominate from this time, as the style was all the rage in this era! Two especially fine examples are the Casino du Lac and the Eglise Saint Jean-Baptiste.

Shopping, dining and other pleasures...

The twin delights of shopping and dining in Bagnoles de l'Orne are alive and well! The town has a number of good restaurants and plenty of useful shops and other facilities. Leisure pursuits in Bagnoles include tennis and golf, and of course, thermal baths and treatments. With its backdrop of deep forests and pretty meadows, the area is also superb for country sports such as horse-riding, walking and cycling, with fishing available in lakes and rivers (usual permits required).

Out and about

There are numerous interesting places to visit in the region. The mediaeval town of Domfront is lovely, especially on market days, and the 15th century town of Lassay les Châteaux is also well worth a visit. Finally, the flower town of St Fraimbault is a must see, as the whole village is bedecked with flowers all summer long, culminating in a wonderful festival in August.

How to get there

There are two airports close to the town, and these are Rennes and Cherbourg. Both are served by flybe, with flights from Southampton. Rennes is also served by Aer Lingus. The ferry is also an option, with the nearest ports being those of Caen and Le Havre.

Property prices and availability in and around Bagnoles de l'Orne

Property in the town itself is generally a little more expensive than property a little distance outside, as Bagnoles is a popular town in which to live and offers good services and amenities. The region as a whole is becoming more and more popular with foreign buyers, but prices are still at a level which offers a good return... so make that investment sooner rather than later!

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Bagnoles de l'Orne AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Bagnoles de l'Orne?

Bagnoles de l'Orne is set in the north of France, in the south-west of the Orne department.

Bagnoles de l'Orne Property Map


Lower-Normandy Guide

Lower-Normandy Property Map


Orne Guide

  Orne Map

Population: 1,279

Access: By air: The area is served by the airports of Cherbourg and Rennes, both of whom offer direct flights to and from the UK with flybe. Rennes is also served by Aer Lingus. By boat: The nearest ferry ports are found at Caen and Le Havre.

Economy: The economy is driven by tourism.

Interesting fact: Bagnoles de l'Orne was the scene of a double assassination in 1937, when Carlo Rosselli and his brother were killed for their opposition to the fascist dictatorships of Mussolini, Hitler and Franco.

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