Thermal Baths And Hiking Trails: Visit This French Spa Town In Fall

The spa town of Bagnoles de l’Orne is a greenery-filled oasis of belle epoch architecture and thermal baths. Located in Normandy, the town has long attracted visitors looking for a salubrious vacation on its lake shores.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the well-heeled flocked to its health resorts and the destination became a symbol of wealth and luxury. The bourgeoisie built a series of opulent villas that still lend the lake-side town an air of grace and grandeur today.

With steamy waters and surrounding forests filled with leafy trails, here’s why Bagnoles de l’Orne is the perfect fall escape.

Take The Thermal Waters In Bagnoles de l’Orne

The thermal waters of Bagnoles-de-l’Orne are legendary for their health-giving properties. A dip in the hot water is said to reduce muscle inflammation, arthritis and joint pain as well as treat skin conditions and burns.

Stay at the four-star B’O Resort, where accommodation ranges from studios to suites. Short-term guests can take advantage of their spa treatments, swimming pools, Turkish bath, on-site restaurant and free Kids Club. You can also book into a three-week program specially designed to treat chronic conditions.

Bagnoles de l’Orne To Have Largest Trail Network In France

If you like hiking, Bagnoles de l’Orne should be on your radar. The area is set to increase the number of its waymarked routes to 70 in 2024, giving it the largest trail network in France mapped by the On Piste network.

Active visitors to the town can try out trail running, mountain biking and Nordic walking through the pristine forest, imbibing the pure air and reconnecting with nature.

To access the trail network, you can download the On Piste app for free. The level of difficulty of routes is categorized by color as used on ski runs in France. Visitors can explore trails ranging from easy Green (5km) walks to more challenging Black paths (60km) with something to suit all ages and abilities.

The routes take walkers and cyclists through the dense woodland and into the foothills of the oldest mountain in France, the Armorican massif, whose granite rock dates from 2 billion years ago.

The Armorican Massif offers a variety of undulating terrain, which suits those looking for more challenging hikes and rides. One route, departing from the medieval castle in the neighboring village of Domfront, has a 500 altitude gain within just 10 kilometers of the trail. The 30km red circuit of Champsecret takes adventure lovers on a picturesque hike through the Andaines Forest and into the cider-making hamlet of Dompierre.

You can even time your visit to coincide with the annual Bagnoles Normandie Trail, which attracted over 700 participants this year. The event includes a range of races like a 100 km ultra-marathon, a 42km Nordic Walking Trail with an elevation gain of 900 meters, and a discovery trail of 8km.

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