©Roi de Roumanie Ferdinand 1er en visite aux thermes à Bagnoles de l'Orne

Kings and Queens

Royal visitors to Bagnoles de l'Orne

In the 1920s, the fame of the resort attracted the aristocracy. Between the wars, royalty visited Bagnoles de l’Orne and stayed in the resort’s luxury hotels. But there had already been royalty in Bagnoles in the the Middle Ages, during the reign of the House of Valois.

The aristocracy comes to the Grand Hôtel

The present Résidence du Lac remains the symbol of the heyday of Bagnoles de l’Orne, when it was luxurious Grand Hôtel. At this time, the hotel regularly welcomed very important figures such as King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania and the Belgian King Albert I and his wife, Queen Elisabeth.

The King of Romania, Ferdinand I

In 1925 and 1926, the King of Romania, Ferdinand I, came to Bagnoles de l’Orne where he stayed at the Grand Hôtel. It is said that he even brought a gondola to take out on the lake. The hotel’s concierge was responsible for watching out for the king’s arrival. As soon as he appeared, the red carpet was unrolled and greenery was brought out. He religiously followed his treatment program and went to the thermal spa each day in his carriage. The stained glass windows in the church of Sacré Coeur commemorate the gift that he gave to the church. The name Ferdinand I can still be seen on the plaques on the windows.

Albert I, King of Belgium

Albert I of Belgium, known as the “Chevalier King”, also stayed at the Grand Hôtel in the 1920s. He came to the thermal spa resort with his wife Queen Elisabeth, Duchess of Bavaria, who was known as a talented musician.

High Society in Bagnoles de l’Orne

Among the aristocrats who visited Bagnoles de l’Orne were King Alphonse XIII and Queen Victoria of Spain; Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and his brother, the Duke of Spoleto; the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia, Paul Karageorgevitch; and Prince George of Greece and his wife.

In the age of the Valois

Well before the creation of the thermal spa resort of Bagnoles de l’Orne, there were other famous royal residents such as John II of France, John the Good, and Marguerite of Navarre.

John II “The Good”

John of Valois, Duke of Normandy and King of France from 1350 – 1364, had fragile health. Although he didn’t take part in many physical activities, he was fond of hunting. The Forêt des Andaines became his favourite hunting ground. He even had a chapel built on the site of the present Saint-Ortaire.

Marguerite of Navarre

Marguerite d’Angoulême, the sister of Francis I, married her first husband, the Duke Charles IV of Alençon, in 1509. She liked to come to “take the waters” at Bagnoles. She gave permission for her Chancellor, Jehan de Frotté, to acquire land to build a “lodging” that would later become the Château de Couterne.