Bagnères-de-Luchon

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Bagnères-de-Luchon
Luchon Valley, viewed from Superbagnères
Luchon Valley, viewed from Superbagnères
Coat of arms of Bagnères-de-Luchon
Coat of arms
Bagnères-de-Luchon is located in France
Bagnères-de-Luchon
Bagnères-de-Luchon
Coordinates: 42°47′30″N 0°35′41″E / 42.7917°N 0.5947°E / 42.7917; 0.5947Coordinates: 42°47′30″N 0°35′41″E / 42.7917°N 0.5947°E / 42.7917; 0.5947
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Haute-Garonne
Arrondissement Saint-Gaudens
Canton Bagnères-de-Luchon
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Louis Ferré
Area
 • Land1 52.80 km2 (20.39 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Population2 2,622
 • Population2 density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 31042 / 31110
Elevation 611–2,737 m (2,005–8,980 ft)
(avg. 630 m or 2,070 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bagnères-de-Luchon (pronounced: [baɲɛːʁ də lyʃɔ̃]) (Occitan: Banhèras de Luishon), also referred to as Luchon, is a spa town and a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.

Geography[edit]

Bagnères-de-Luchon is located 87 m. S.S.W. of Toulouse, at the end of a branch line of the Southern railway from Montréjeau. The town is situated at the foot of the central Pyrenees in a beautiful valley at the confluence of the One and the Pique.[1]

Thermal springs[edit]

Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated for its thermal springs. The springs, which number forty eight, vary in composition, but are chiefly impregnated with sodium sulfate, and range in temperature from 17C to 65C. The discovery of numerous Roman remains attests the antiquity of the baths, which are identified with the Onesiorum Thermae of Strabo. Their revival in modern times dates from the latter half of the 18th century, and was due to Antoine Mégret d'Étigny, intendant of Auch.[1]

Within the town today (2006), a more modern entrance to the baths sits alongside the older buildings. The bathing experience consists of repeated spells within a hot, sulphurous atmosphere in caves that run approximately 100 metres inside the Superbagnères mountain, and in a cool swimming pool within the entrance building. It was these sulphur springs that led to a twinning of the settlement with Harrogate in 1952.

A 1914 map of Luchon

Sights[edit]

Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated as a fashionable resort. Of the promenades, the finest and most frequented are the Allées d'Étigny, an avenue planted with lime-trees, at the southern extremity of which is the Thermes, or hot baths. The road is lined with bars and restaurants.

Sports[edit]

Superbagnères, located on the territory of the commune, to the south-west of the town, is a ski resort. Historically it was connected to the town by a railway, and it was the second resort in France to install a lift, but today it is connected with a gondola lift. Each cabin holds up to four people and takes about ten minutes to reach the summit, running in the summer as well as the winter. It is not possible to ski back down to Luchon, except in times of exceptional snow for talented locals who know the woods.

Cycling is a popular sport in the region in the summer. The climbs of Superbagnères, Col de Peyresourde, Port de Balès, Col de Menté, Col du Portillon and the Col de Portet d'Aspet are all nearby.

The Tour de France route often passes through Luchon, due to its location deep between two cols. List of the 52 stage winners and stage starts in Luchon:

In Superbagnères:

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1793 1,164 —    
1800 1,080 −7.2%
1806 1,396 +29.3%
1821 1,683 +20.6%
1831 2,077 +23.4%
1836 2,385 +14.8%
1841 2,629 +10.2%
1846 2,770 +5.4%
1851 2,770 +0.0%
1856 3,016 +8.9%
1861 3,294 +9.2%
1866 3,921 +19.0%
1872 3,829 −2.3%
1876 4,012 +4.8%
1881 4,256 +6.1%
1886 3,729 −12.4%
1891 3,528 −5.4%
1896 3,720 +5.4%
1901 3,260 −12.4%
1906 3,465 +6.3%
1911 3,415 −1.4%
1921 3,635 +6.4%
1926 3,820 +5.1%
1931 3,884 +1.7%
1936 3,591 −7.5%
1946 4,105 +14.3%
1954 3,666 −10.7%
1962 3,888 +6.1%
1968 4,123 +6.0%
1975 3,484 −15.5%
1982 3,498 +0.4%
1990 3,094 −11.5%
1999 2,903 −6.2%
2008 2,622 −9.7%

In addition to the Tour, the pro series race Route du Sud is also partnered with Luchon, with a stage finish in Superbagneres in 2008 and Luchon in 2009.

Luchon is also a mountain biking destination. Its position at the confluence of two valleys gives a wide variety of routes up into the mountains – although most of them start with a large climb (although the gondola can carry mountain bikes). There is one mountain biking guiding organisation based in Luchon itself, and another further down the valley. (See external links).

Luchon also offers a golf course, tandem paragliding (from Superbagnères), tennis courts, and an airfield with gliding.

Luchon has a nine-hole golf course close to the town centre. It dates to the early 1900s, making it one of the oldest golf courses in the department. In 2008 the "Club de Golf Luchon" celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

Personalities[edit]

Died in Luchon[edit]

  • Theodore Gobley, pharmacist and chemist, member of the Académie Nationale de Médecine, who established the chemical structure of phospholipids, on 1 September 1876, at the Hôtel des Bains, cour d'Etigny, where he was staying with his family

International relations[edit]

Luchon is a sister city of the following cities around the world:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bagnères-de-Luchon". Encyclopædia Britannica 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]