© Le Château de la Roche Bagnoles vue du ciel | David Commenchal

A tour of the Château

Explore La Roche-Bagnoles

The town of Bagnoles de l’Orne officially became an independent commune in 1913. How did this resort, which was originally built on the site of three separate communities, develop around the lake? To find out, we joined a guided tour offered by the tourist office.

The park of
La Roche-Bagnoles

It’s early afternoon and the sun is already high in the sky. We are a little early for our rendezvous, so we take the opportunity to go for a walk in the park’s arboretum and enjoy the shade of a sequoia close to the Château of La Roche-Bagnoles.

From a distance, we spot our guide who is waiting by the fountain just opposite the château. It is 2 pm and we join the rest of the group for a guided tour of this building that is now the town hall. The tour focuses on the exterior of the château, which enables us to look carefully at the different façades of the neo-Renaissance-style building.

We follow our guide to the music kiosk so we can stand in the shade while we hear the story of the Goupil family and the construction of the Château de La Roche-Bagnoles. Anne-Marie-Catherine, the first owner of the Château, entrusted its building to the architect David in 1855, which she was able to afford thanks to the fortune mysteriously acquired by her father and her uncle, who was also her husband!

The façades of the neo-Renaissance château

We approach the château, which we are told is built from local stone. The main façade, which faces due south, has a granite base and corner towers forming a frame around the central block.

These protruding towers and the pepperpot turrets are features borrowed from castles of the Middle Ages, but are merely decorative.

In the centre, bartizans decorated in red brick and topped by a pointed hexagonal roof are pierced with decorative arrow slits. They are ornamented with medallions on which you can see the initials “G” for Goupil and “L” for Louis, as well as faces that certainly represent the Goupil family.
The rear façade, which is highly decorated, strongly resembles the front of the building. However, the towers have been replaced by two corner bartizans that are lower and squatter, but are also ornamented with medallions.
On the central bay we can read the inscriptions “Annoy” and “1858” giving the date that the building was completed. We dpot a bas-relief right at the top which depicts the face of a woman: could this be Anne Marie Catherine Goupil, the mistress of the house?
We finish the tour of the Château with the east façade. On the redbrick chimney we can see a cherub known as “putto”. He is holding in his hands a parchment on which is written “David”, the name of the architect.

The funerary chapel

We go over to a rather unusual memorial a few paces from the château: it is the Goupil family mausoleum. This monument houses the tombs of the brothers Louis and Jean Goupil. Desecrated during the Second World War, the chapel revealed nothing about the secret of the family fortune.
At the foot of the mausoleum you can also see three attractive tombstones that come from the old cemetery of Bagnoles.

The Le Roc au Chien Viewpoint

The tour continues on to the Roc au Chien in the north eastern corner of the park of the Château de la Roche-Bagnoles. After walking in the shade of some large trees for a few minutes we take a path onto a bank of flat rocks that goes down to the viewpoint.

The rocky peak of the Roc au Chien, the highest point of the resort, is one of the mysterious rocks of the town to which two legends are attached. This spectacular natural beauty spot has a magnificent panorama over the lake, the spa and the forest with the former Grand Hôtel, now the Résidence du Lac, at its vanishing point.

The highest point of Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, the 30 metre high Roc au Chien takes its name from two legends that are full of mystery and magic.

from

5,00 €

per person

This tour is only available in French without translations.
Translated booklets are available from the tourist office.

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