Bagnères-de-Bigorre

L'AlamZic brews new sounds

Because of a strong demand from the local youth, the Bagneres municipality decided in 2008 to build a hall devoted to amplified music.
La Halle aux Grains, the main musical venue in Bagneres, was not adapted to the public and the demands of modern music and works to modernise the place would have been too costly while hampering its use by other forms of music. A new 450-capacity hall, dubbed AlamZic, was created close to the Halle aux Grains to benefit from the previous venue's facilities in terms of staff and parking space. The new venue, inaugurated in 2012 for a budget of 1.2 million euros, was conceived by architect Philippe Guitton and works hand in hand with another similar venue in La Gespe in order to attract artists with a higher profile. Its copper roof and its round shape make AlamZic a remarkable architectural fixture in town. It also houses boxes for local bands to rehearse.

Web sites

L’AlamZic, new musi venue- ©pixbynot/Ville de Bagnères-de-BigorreConcert in L’AlamZic, 2012 - © pixbynot/Ville de Bagnères-de-Bigorre
10 previous stages
Population: 8,700
Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees (65)
Specialities: noir de Bigorre (pork), wine, garbure (soup), onion, Madiran wine.
Economy: spa, tourism, small mechanical and electric industries, agriculture.
Sport: Stade Bagnerais (rugby union), Amicale laïque (canoeing)
Celebrities: Pierre-Georges Latecoere (airman), Jean Gachassin (rugby, tennis), Laurent Fignon (cycling), Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Wilfried Forgues and Franck Adisson (canoeing Olympic champions in 1996), Adiren Theaux (ski).  
Festivals : « piano Pic » classical music festival (July), voice festival “A Voix Haute” (August), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)
Labels: ville fleurie (3), Pic du Midi regional “Grand Site” Midi-Pyrenees

Timeline

  • 28 BC

    Roman Valerius Messala submits the Campani tribe. The Romans exploit the hot water and build thermal baths. The town is then called Vicus Aquensis or Aquae Convenarum.
  • 580

    A plague epidemic ravages the region and the town, destroyed by an earthquake, is abandoned. 1171 – Centulle III, count of Bigorre, grants a charter to the Bagneres people. The town has been rebuilt and is preserved by rampart.
  • 1313

    The town grows and is as populated as Tarbes, the county capital.
  • 14th century

    Two plague epidemics (1348 and 1360) and the Hundred Years War ruin Bagneres, who fall to the English in 1360.
  • 1550

    Jeanne d’Albret, queen of Navarre and countess of Bigorre, becomes Protestant but Bagneres remains strongly Catholic Protestants are arrested in 1562. In retaliation, Protestant Montgommery ravages the region.
  • 1588

    The plague sis stopped by the miraculous intervention of Lloye.
  • 1606

    Henri IV annexes Bigorre to France.
  • 17th century

    Bagneres is again badly hit by three plagues and an earthquake leading the villagers to build sold houses in Salut stone.
  • 1670

    Thermal baths develop and private spas open in town.
  • 1828

    Creation of the Grand etablissement thermal, estended by the Neo-Thermes in 1882. Writers Lamartine, George Sand or composer Rossini are among the celebrities coming to the Bagneres baths.
  • 1862

    Creation of the Soule rail factory.
  • 1870

    Marble factories and paper-mills are created.
  • 2001

    Creation of the Pyrenean Botanic Conservatory.
Portrait of Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre.Henry IV of France before1622
10 previous stages
Population: 8,700
Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees (65)
Specialities: noir de Bigorre (pork), wine, garbure (soup), onion, Madiran wine.
Economy: spa, tourism, small mechanical and electric industries, agriculture.
Sport: Stade Bagnerais (rugby union), Amicale laïque (canoeing)
Celebrities: Pierre-Georges Latecoere (airman), Jean Gachassin (rugby, tennis), Laurent Fignon (cycling), Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Wilfried Forgues and Franck Adisson (canoeing Olympic champions in 1996), Adiren Theaux (ski).  
Festivals : « piano Pic » classical music festival (July), voice festival “A Voix Haute” (August), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)
Labels: ville fleurie (3), Pic du Midi regional “Grand Site” Midi-Pyrenees

Web sites

Bagnères-de-Bigorre and cycling

In 1952, Raphael Geminiani won in Bagneres after going solo in Col d'Aspin. Gem was used to win stages after rest days and he said he owed these victories to his wife, who came to visit in those one-day breaks. Eleven years later, Jacques Anquetil, with three Tour victories behind hilm, did not have much to prove on the Tour. However, in a stage between Pau and Bagneres-de-Bigorre with the Aubisque and Tourmalet on the day's profile, the Frenchman made it a point to show the opposition, and especially Federic Bahamontes, that he was still the boss. Anquetil even sprinted to earn his first stage victory which was not a time trial. Bagneres-de-Bigorre was also the haven in which Laurent Fignon had settled towards the end of his life creating a training centre bearing his name. This year will also mark the 30th anniversary of his first victory in the Tour de France.

Raphaêl Geminiani in Nancy-Mulhouse stage , Tour de France 1952 – © Presse SportsJacques Anquetil on the Tourmalet, stage Bayonne-Bagnères-De-Bigorre, Tour de France 1959 - © Presse Sports
10 previous stages
Population: 8,700
Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees (65)
Specialities: noir de Bigorre (pork), wine, garbure (soup), onion, Madiran wine.
Economy: spa, tourism, small mechanical and electric industries, agriculture.
Sport: Stade Bagnerais (rugby union), Amicale laïque (canoeing)
Celebrities: Pierre-Georges Latecoere (airman), Jean Gachassin (rugby, tennis), Laurent Fignon (cycling), Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Wilfried Forgues and Franck Adisson (canoeing Olympic champions in 1996), Adiren Theaux (ski).  
Festivals : « piano Pic » classical music festival (July), voice festival “A Voix Haute” (August), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)
Labels: ville fleurie (3), Pic du Midi regional “Grand Site” Midi-Pyrenees

Web sites

Places to see

Grands Thermes:

The “Grands Thermes”, in the heart of Bagneres-deBigorre, date from the late 19th century and display the typical thermal architecture of the period, using noble material such as the marble of the Pyrenees. Spacious and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including three thermal water pools, the establishment is specialised in cures for rheumatology and respiratory problems.

St Vincent church:

The 14th century church was built on the site of an older shrine. It is in Gothic style for the West façade while the porch is Renaissance.

Jacobins tower:

The Gothic Jacobins tower is a 35-metres-high square belfry in its first two floors, becoming octagonal at the top. It is what remains of the church of the Dominican church destroyed by fire in 1343. The convent and the cloister were demolished in 1793.

Caves of Medous:

The caves of Medous are natural caves without any trace of prehistoric human presence. They were dug by an underground river and are famous for their beautiful natural decoration of stalagmites and stalactites looking like petrified waterfalls. They attracted pilgrims since the 18th century and inside was built a chapel, in which the Virgin Mary appeared to the Lloye widow, warning her that plague would hit the town.

Grands Thermes - © Florent PécassouSaint-Vincent church (Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Hautes-Pyrénées, France) - © Florent Pécassou
10 previous stages
Population: 8,700
Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees (65)
Specialities: noir de Bigorre (pork), wine, garbure (soup), onion, Madiran wine.
Economy: spa, tourism, small mechanical and electric industries, agriculture.
Sport: Stade Bagnerais (rugby union), Amicale laïque (canoeing)
Celebrities: Pierre-Georges Latecoere (airman), Jean Gachassin (rugby, tennis), Laurent Fignon (cycling), Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Wilfried Forgues and Franck Adisson (canoeing Olympic champions in 1996), Adiren Theaux (ski).  
Festivals : « piano Pic » classical music festival (July), voice festival “A Voix Haute” (August), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)
Labels: ville fleurie (3), Pic du Midi regional “Grand Site” Midi-Pyrenees

Web sites

The Lloye widow and the plague

Domenge Jouanolou was born between 1550 and 1560 in Beaudean, in the vale of Serris. She was nicknamed Lloye (pure as a lily) because of her great piety. Married to a farmer called Lanne, she settled in Bagneres with her daughter when her husband died and only came out to pray at the Notre-Dame de Medous chapel. In 1588, Lloye twice had visions of the Virgin Mary, who asked her to go to the consuls and churchmen of Bagneres to warn them of an imminent disaster if they did not start penitence and prayer. Nobody listened to the widow and plague suddenly hit town. The miracles attributed to Lloye were investigated in 1648 by a magistrate who found that the epidemic killed more than 80 pc of the people of Bagneres and the neighbouring villages.

A year later, as the locals started returning to their homes, Lloye met Simone de Souville, a noble woman, who mocked her, saying the plague had only killed the poor. The Virgin Mary again appeared to Lloye and ordered her to tell Simone de Souville that plague was returning to kill the rich and that she should be ready to die. Simone de Souville was the first victim of the new epidemic. Scared by the supernatural nature of the plague, the Bagneres people then gathered to pray at Notre-Dame de Medous and the disease went. From that date, Catholicism became deeply rooted in the daily life of Bagneres.

The caves of Medous house one of the smallest chapels of the depaqrtment - © Grottes de Medous
10 previous stages
Population: 8,700
Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees (65)
Specialities: noir de Bigorre (pork), wine, garbure (soup), onion, Madiran wine.
Economy: spa, tourism, small mechanical and electric industries, agriculture.
Sport: Stade Bagnerais (rugby union), Amicale laïque (canoeing)
Celebrities: Pierre-Georges Latecoere (airman), Jean Gachassin (rugby, tennis), Laurent Fignon (cycling), Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Wilfried Forgues and Franck Adisson (canoeing Olympic champions in 1996), Adiren Theaux (ski).  
Festivals : « piano Pic » classical music festival (July), voice festival “A Voix Haute” (August), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)
Labels: ville fleurie (3), Pic du Midi regional “Grand Site” Midi-Pyrenees

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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