France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Aix-les-Bains Town Center, France
The upper part of the town is the old center, parts dating from Roman times and other parts the center of 19th century life.

  Aix-les-Bains, statue
Carved tree in the Parc.


   

 

Many of the things to see in the center of Aix-les-Bains are clustered in a fairly small area on the hill, making them easy to visit on foot.

Start at the Hôtel de Ville, or Mairie (map). This buiding dates from the Middle Ages and was rebuilt in the 16th century. A lovely fountain of flowers graces the square in front of it.

The Mairie is known for its elegant Renaissance staircase, the Escalier d'Honneur. Built in the late 16th century, it used the flamboyant gothic style that was popular at the time.

The Mairie is also where you'll find the Temple of Diana, dating from Roman times, and the Lapidary Museum. The temple is 17 meters by 13 meters (56X43 feet), one of the largest and best conserved in France.

Note: Although you can see the exterior wall, to visit the Temple of Diana and the Escalier d'Honneur, you must reserve through the Tourist Office.

Just across from the Mairie is the Arc de Campanus, a Roman arch that dates from the end of the first century. Erected by Lucius Pompeius Campanus in memory of his deceased relatives, the inscription reads L. POMPEIUS CAMPANUS VIVUS FECIT.

The arc, in turn, is just across from the Thermes Nationaux, or National Baths. These lovely buildings housed the baths that made Aix-les-Bains so popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While you cannot visit the baths, you can admire the lovely facade of the building.

The building houses the Tourist Information Office, as well as several other administrative offices. Slip into the main hall to admire the art deco design and architecture.

Just across the street from the baths is Le Parc Thermal, a lovely park that is known for its flowers, trees, fountains, and sculptures—including some rather unusual ones. The parc is also home to the théâtre de verdure, an open-air theater that can seat 3,000 spectators

Just down the street, on the aptly named Rue du Casino, is the Casino Grand Cercle, built in the late 1800s. The games room and the main foyer are decorated with lovely 19th century mosaics. To get into the games room you'll have to show a passport, but you can wander and enjoy the foyer on your own. Although the decor is 19th century, the sounds of slot machines are decidedly 21st century!

If you want to go even higher in Aix-les-Bains, drive around the corniche, or high road, that is home to some of the elegant old hotels, such as the Panoramic or the Royal et Splendide. Many of these have been converted to residences, but you can admire the architecture and setting. For information on today's hotels, click here.

And don't forget that Aix-les-Bains also has a lively waterfront area, about 2.5kilometers (1.5miles) downhill. More...


What to See & Do

Aix-les-Bains Hotels

Aix-les-Bains Restaurants

Aix-les-Bains Waterfront

About Aix-les-Bains

Tourist Information

Lac du Bourget

 

 

Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan

 

Building, Aix-les-Bains, France

Above, One of the elegant old buildings of Aix-les-Bains, getting a facelift.

Below, Detail of mosaic in the Casino.

 

Mosaic, Aix-les-Bains Casino

Arc de Campanus, Aix-les-Bains
Above, Arc de Campanus, with the baths in the background.

 
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