Aix-les-Bains

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Aix-les-Bains
A panoramic view of Aix-les-Bains, looking to the north-west
A panoramic view of Aix-les-Bains, looking to the north-west
Coat of arms of Aix-les-Bains
Coat of arms
Aix-les-Bains is located in France
Aix-les-Bains
Aix-les-Bains
Coordinates: 45°41′19″N 5°54′55″E / 45.6885°N 5.9153°E / 45.6885; 5.9153Coordinates: 45°41′19″N 5°54′55″E / 45.6885°N 5.9153°E / 45.6885; 5.9153
Country France
Region Rhône-Alpes
Department Savoie
Arrondissement Chambéry
Canton Aix-Centre, Nord-Grésy, and Aix-Sud
Intercommunality Lac du Bourget
Government
 • Mayor Dominique Dord
Area1 12.62 km2 (4.87 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 27,095
 • Density 2,100/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 73008 / 73100
Elevation 224–524 m (735–1,719 ft)
(avg. 320 m or 1,050 ft)
Website Official website

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.

Aix-les-Bains ([ɛks lɛ bɛ̃]; Èx-los-Bens in Franco-Provençal), locally called Aix, is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Rising from the shores of the largest natural lake of glacial origin in France, the Lac du Bourget, this resort is one of the important French spa towns, and has the largest fresh water marina in France.[1] It is the second largest Savoy town in terms of population, having 28,585 inhabitants at the last census and is part of its own urban area: The urban area of Aix-les-Bains (fr).

A leading town of the Belle Époque, of international renown, Aix-les-Bains was a place of vacation for the princely families and wealthy people. If today it confirms its water town status more than ever, it only remains that the thermal baths are no longer the main activity of the Aix area. The town has partially compensated for the loss of its treated visitors by developing tourism; the town, between the lake and mountains, has many strengths in this area. It hosts up to 200,000 general visitors, people wanting thermal treatment or tourists per year.[2]

Aix-les-Bains shines on a national scale through a number of assets such as the national thermal baths, tourism and the national Musilac (fr) festival. Also, with several labels including Touristic Resort, Flowery City (fr) with Four Flowers and a Golden Flower (exceptional), City of Art and History, a 5@ (five-star or top-grade equivalent) Internet City (fr), and Nautical Resort (fr). However, Aix is also an industrial town, with a few large companies such as Alstom, the headquarters of the Léon Grosse (fr) companies, ABB Cellier, Aixam, and a high-quality leather goods factory.

Geography[edit]

Location[edit]

Aix-les-Bains in the background of the Dent du Chat, on the shore of the Lac du Bourget

Aix-Les-Bains is located in the southeast of France, 107 kilometres (66 mi) east of Lyon. The town is located in a corridor between the mountain of Mont Revard, the first natural rampart of the Massif des Bauges to the east and the Lac du Bourget, the largest natural lake of France to the west. Thus, the city extends mostly on a north-south axis. Its extension is such that its agglomeration merges gradually with that of Chambéry. The area of the commune is 12.62 square kilometres (4.87 sq mi), which is large for the Department. The town is traditionally divided into two, the lower town that occupies the banks of the lake to the west and the upper town, where the town centre is located, overlooking the Lac du Bourget. The town was first built on the heights in order to avoid the many floods[3] of the lake until it was regulated by the dam of the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) between the Rhône and the natural spillway of lake, the Canal de Savières. The average altitude of the city is about 320 metres (1,050 ft) while the lower part of it is only around 224 metres (735 ft), at the level of the lake.

Aix-les-Bains on the eastern shore of the Lac du Bourget, to the right of the picture

560 square kilometres (220 sq mi) of the Lac du Bourget watershed is occupied by the spa town of Aix, which borders on the shore.[4] The lake is primarily fed to the south by the waters of the Leysse, and to the east, by those of the Tillet (fr) and the Sierroz (fr), both from the Aix territory. Native fish can be admired in the aquarium of Aix. The shore, which is occupied by Aix and Tresserve, is highly urbanized and developed along the northeastern part with the road and the railway track. Many restaurants and nightclubs are located there (mostly on the southeastern side). A nautical complex was built on its shore, this includes a swimming pool and a beach which has an Art Deco-style main entrance dating from 1936. After which is a vast esplanade, allowing walkers to stroll and special events to settle temporarily on this site. It offers, to everyone, a panoramic view of the lake and the Dent du Chat, where one can contemplate swans, ducks, herons, gulls and moorhens.

The esplanade is bounded to the north and to the south by the Grand port and the Petit port respectively, thus constituting the Aix port which is the largest fresh water port in the country with 1,500 mooring rings,[5] having privileged places for boating on the lake, with boats having a summer or annual allocation. The festival of yachting takes place each year. This event has old boats coming from all horizons, a professional market, demonstrations and shows.

The slopes above the lake that culminate in the Tour de l'Angle Est, which overlooks the town and lake at a height of 1,562 m (5,125 ft). The western shore of the lake is narrower as the mountains along its edge are closer to the lakeshore, although lower than those on the eastern side.[6] The lake drains out of its northern end into the River Rhône about 5 kilometres (3 miles) to the north.

Aix-les-Bains is situated in the hilly country of the Bugey, which makes up the foothills of the Alps and also forms part of the lower western extension of the Jura Mountains.

Neighbouring communes[edit]

The municipality of Aix-les-Bains is bordered by nine communes. To the north, the municipality adjoins the territory of Brison-Saint-Innocent. To the northeast, Aix is bordered by the commune of Grésy-sur-Aix. Then, to the east, in the continuity of the Aix heights, the commune of Pugny-Chatenod is followed by the commune of Mouxy towards the southeast. Further to the southeast, Aix shares the boundaries of its territory with the neighbouring commune of Drumettaz-Clarafond. It follows south to the communes of Viviers-du-Lac and Tresserve. Finally, in the west, there are two communes bordering Aix, across the lake. These are Bourdeau, La Chapelle-du-Mont-du-Chat. One of the specific limits of the municipal territory of the commune of Aix-les-Bains, on its western side, is the existence the boundary imposed by the Lac du Bourget. This limit of territory is shared with five other municipalities, these being Bourdeau, Brison-Saint-Innocent, La Chapelle-du-Mont-du-Chat, Tresserve and Viviers-du-Lac.

Climate[edit]

The meteorological station of Météo-France in Aix-les-Bains, whose identification is 73008003(4), measures several daily meteorological parameters.

The climate is of the Alpine type, although tempered for the Aix area due to the presence of the lake. The position between two massifs favours the blocking of disturbances that often cause significant rainfall accumulations and even abundant compared to the national average. Nevertheless, this climate is characterized by summers which are often dry and hot but punctuated by fairly regular storms. Autumns are generally rainy, although a beautiful end to the season is also common. Winters have occurred with some frost, but it is low to moderate. The springtime is normal, with no particular abnormalities and varies from one year to the next. Snow is not present or absent, especially on the shores of the lake. The water of the Lac du Bourget cools more slowly than the surrounding land,[7] unlike other Savoy communes. One can specify, all the same, that the top of the town (from 300 metres (980 ft)) experiences more cold and snow, it is possible for there to be snow on the hills and not in the town centre. There is usually between 1 and 2 °C difference between the bottom and the top of the town. The winter of 2007-2008 was characterized by a complete lack of snow, whilst in the winter of early 2010, between 40–60 centimetres (16–24 in) fell during a single night. Episodes of strong winds are relatively rare. The sunshine is good and fog is infrequent (wet or marshy areas around the lake, for example, experience this more regularly). Temperatures, meanwhile, fluctuate, which may allow for a scorching summer and a light winter or, conversely, freshness during passages of summertime rain, and winters with very cold periods.

Comparison of weather conditions
City Sunshine Rain Snow Storm Fog
Paris 1797 hours/yr 642 mm/yr 15 days/yr 19 days/yr 13 days/yr
Nice 2694 hours/yr 767 mm/yr 1 day/yr 31 days/yr 1 day/yr
Strasbourg 1637 hours/yr 610 mm/yr 30 days/yr 29 days/yr 65 days/yr
Aix-les-Bains 1950 hours/yr 1222.2 mm/yr 15–25 days/yr 35 days/yr 10–20 days/yr
National average 1973 hours/yr 770 mm/yr 14 days/yr 22 days/yr 40 days/yr

The table below shows the temperatures and precipitation for the year 2007, along with the record minimum and maximum temperatures up to that date:

Climate data for Chambéry/Aix-les-Bains, 2007
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.9
(64.2)
20.5
(68.9)
24.6
(76.3)
27.7
(81.9)
31.4
(88.5)
36.1
(97)
38.3
(100.9)
38.8
(101.8)
32
(90)
29
(84)
23.3
(73.9)
22.7
(72.9)
38.8
(101.8)
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
(46.9)
10.1
(50.2)
13
(55)
22.8
(73)
21.3
(70.3)
24.4
(75.9)
25.1
(77.2)
24.5
(76.1)
20.9
(69.6)
15.9
(60.6)
8.8
(47.8)
6.3
(43.3)
16.8
(62.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 5
(41)
6.2
(43.2)
7.8
(46)
15
(59)
16.1
(61)
19.2
(66.6)
19.7
(67.5)
19.4
(66.9)
15.5
(59.9)
11.7
(53.1)
5.1
(41.2)
2.6
(36.7)
11.9
(53.4)
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
(35.1)
2.3
(36.1)
2.6
(36.7)
7.2
(45)
10.9
(51.6)
13.9
(57)
14.3
(57.7)
14.2
(57.6)
10
(50)
7.6
(45.7)
1.5
(34.7)
−1
(30)
7.1
(44.8)
Record low °C (°F) −19
(−2)
−11
(12)
−10.3
(13.5)
−4.6
(23.7)
−1.4
(29.5)
2.8
(37)
5.4
(41.7)
5
(41)
1
(34)
−4.3
(24.3)
−10
(14)
−13.5
(7.7)
−19
(−2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 91.4
(3.598)
176.8
(6.961)
147.4
(5.803)
5.6
(0.22)
150.6
(5.929)
104.4
(4.11)
113.4
(4.465)
129.4
(5.094)
84
(3.31)
21
(0.83)
54.8
(2.157)
143.4
(5.646)
1,222.2
(48.118)
Source #1: Météo France and Météociel for the average temperatures and precipitation in 2007[8]
Source #2: Météo France and Lameteo.org for the record high and low temperatures up to 2007[9]

Channels of communication and transportation[edit]

The southern route into the Gare d'Aix-les-Bains-Le Revard

Aix-Les-Bains is located on the major axis of transportation between Chambéry and Annecy. The northern branch of the A41 motorway passes to the east of the town, allowing direct access to Annecy and then later by the continuity of the A40, into the city of Geneva. Two junctions (13 and 14) serve the commune, one to the south, the other to the north. On the secondary network, the RD 991 (fr)[10] road crosses Aix and joins Viviers-du-Lac and Chambéry to the south. To the west, the D1201 (fr) road heads towards the southwest and the Lac du Bourget towards the commune of Le Bourget-du-Lac and through the centre, the D991 road.

Aix-les-Bains is also accessible by train. It was one of the earliest European municipalities to host a rail network in its territory when it was administered by the Dukes of Savoie.[11] Today, the city is connected to Chambéry and Annecy and Culoz. The Turin–Lyon high-speed railway will, in the coming years, bring together the cities of Paris, Lyon, Turin and Milan. Aix-Les-Bains station has been a multimodal transport hub[12] since 2007. Located to the west of the town centre on Boulevard de President Wilson, Aix-les-Bains-Le Revard railway station is served by the TGV, which puts the town within three hours of Paris. Aix is situated 9 km (5.6 mi) north of Chambéry, by rail.

Chambéry-Savoie Airport,[13] formerly Aix-les-Bains/Chambéry,[14] is located at the south of the town of Aix-les-Bains, in the commune of Voglans, a few metres from the south shore of the Lac du Bourget. It serves many countries including Great Britain (Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh),[15] Denmark (Copenhagen, Billund), Sweden (Gothenburg) and, internally, Paris Orly from 2013.[16][17] There are many winter flights due to the proximity of the winter sports resorts. Three low-cost carrier airlines offer regular flights. In 2002, the airport recorded a record attendance with 3,600 aircraft movements year-round, dealing with more than 10,000 passengers per weekend, mainly in winter.

One of the streets in the town centre

In the town centre, the car is the preferred mode of transport in Aix-les-Bains, despite the efforts made by the Association Roue Libre for the development of urban cycling. Traffic at peak hours is particularly difficult, especially in the summer with the influx of tourists. The portion of the D1201 road along the lake, in the direction of Chambéry, is particularly sensitive to this increase in road traffic. The same problem happens with the Rue de Genève, the Boulevard President Wilson and the Rue de Chambéry. To the north, it is similarly so on the way out of the town in the direction of Albens and Annecy on the Boulevard Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny. However, traffic has tended to improve with urban development promoting the emergence of roundabouts at the expense of the traffic light, allowing a better flow of traffic. In addition, in the town centre, two car parks can accommodate vehicles, although the number of parking spaces remains low in the town centre for shopping.

On the side of public transport, two main bus routes and sixteen additional routes serve the metropolitan area. Two routes are also available to access the side of Mont Revard and the Chapel of the Mont du Chat. Ondea (trade name of the network operated by the company Keolis)[18] was tasked by the CALB (fr) to manage transit services. It employs 55 people. During the summer, the town is served for short trips by a small train travelling on the roads. It runs between the esplanade of the lake, the beach and town centre.

Urbanism[edit]

Urban morphology[edit]

A view of Aix-les-Bains in the direction of the lake

The life of Aix-les-Bains is located largely on its heights where its downtown, the economic lungs, and its thermal baths (the National Baths of Chevalley and the Baths of Marlioz) are located. Indeed, the history of the town has made it a spa town. Aix was organized around this activity, which was initiated by the Romans. The lower part of the town, located on the shores of the lake, was abandoned because of the risk of flooding. The land was cultivated and there were fish farms. The economic activity is mainly on the upper part, and the urban morphology has adapted. It had to take into account living space for services (racecourse, casino, thermal baths, deluxe hotels, station, hospital and golf, for instance) and the surrounding geography.

Aix-les-Bains includes six grand boulevards which are the Robert Barrier Boulevard, Boulevard Lepic, Russia Boulevard, the Boulevard of Dr. Jean Charcot, the Boulevard of the Coasts and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boulevard. These boulevards are wide and open unlike the streets of downtown, which are narrower, and the other axes, which can be more constrained because of the proximity of the Massif des Bauges and its winding climbs, meeting the more anarchic requirements of the moment without taking the urban fabric into overall account. The town includes various neighborhoods such as Chantemerle, Boncelin, around the railway station, the Sierroz, la liberté, the lakeside, Marlioz, Lepic, Franklin Roosevelt and many others.

With urban expansion and population growth Aix-les-Bains constantly extends, similarly to the neighbouring communes. Little by little, one speaks beyond a city of Aix-les-Bains as such, but the Aix area encompassing an urban plan, with the nearby communes such as Tresserve, Grésy-sur-Aix, Mouxy, Méry, Drumettaz-Clarafond, Sonnaz, as well as other communes. This phenomenon also applies to Chambéry, which is located south of Aix-les-Bains and is considered as the Chambéry area. The urban morphology of these two local watersheds tends to draw them inexorably closer together. In order to reconcile the urban development of the Aix and Chambéry areas, the joint association of the Métropole Savoie (fr)[19] has been implemented. The mission is to follow the pattern of territorial coherence (SCOT) of the Combe de Savoie, Chambéry and the Lac du Bourget.

Housing[edit]

A view of the town at the foot of the Bauges

Aix-les-Bains had 11,720[20] homes in 1999. Few new constructions have been built since that date, and only 10.7% of primary residences were built subsequent to 1990. In contrast, homes built prior to 1949 account for 28% of the area. 72.1% of homes are primary residences,[21] distributed as 21.5% in detached houses and 78.5% in apartments. 50.5% of the population are homeowners, with 45.3% as tenants.

1,837 are HLM rent-controlled housing, or 15.7% of the area in 1999, the city did not meet the provisions of article 55 of the law on solidarity and urban renewal (fr) of December 2000, which laid down a 20% minimum rate of social housing in the most important municipalities. It further noted that the number of vacant dwellings was quite high in 1999, accounting for 11.4% of the area. The OPAC (fr) of the Savoy, with more than 1,657 social homes in the commune, manages the assets of about 2,500 homes, through its antenna Aix-les-Bains. This includes 1,600 of Aix-les-Bains, located in the Sierroz-Franklin neighbourhood among others.[22] Homes with four rooms account for 46% of the overall housing stock, with three-roomed homes at 27.4%, and two rooms at 17.5%. Small housing accounts for about one-tenth of Aix housing (studios: 9.1%). It should be noted that these accommodations are well staffed and equipped, particularly because of the geographic location at the heart of the Alps, since 93.9% have central heating and 58.5% have a garage or a parking space.

With the fact that the town is urbanized almost in its entirety, it becomes increasingly more difficult to build larger houses to accommodate families who don't live in the city. The edge of the lake and the hills are beginning to be saturated where there is a sprawl from the surrounding communities. It is worth noting the presence of much accommodation within former large luxury hotels, ruins from the Belle Époque, now gone.

Planning projects[edit]

Several projects of the municipality are underway in the downtown area, on the western shore of the lake as well as mainly to the south. This is to establish new areas of commercial activity to attract new business to the Aix economic area. The establishment of new residential areas is also scheduled. In collaboration with the municipalities of Méry and Drumettaz-Clarafond, through concerted urban development, the town of Aix-les-Bains contributes to the emergence of an activity called the Savoie Hexapôle area and also enables the development of a commercial area serving all of the southern sector of the Aix area.

The ZAC des Bords du Lac, under construction, will extend over about 15 hectares (37 acres) at the location of, among others, the former municipal campground of Sierroz (fr). This very controversial project[23] is yet to be launched by the Deputy Mayor Dominique Dord's municipal team. This new district, developed by the Society for the Development of the Savoy was named Aix–du Lac.

A 36 metres (118 ft)-wide promenade was built, between Barrier and Garibaldi Boulevards, named Allée promenade des bords de lac.[23] This is essentially the opening of a road with a narrow lane of traffic in both directions. The rest will be dedicated to pedestrians, cyclists and trees. This lane will host "high environmental quality" accommodation and nearby businesses that will benefit residents of the neighborhood and buildings under construction.

Civil engineering of the River Tillet mouth to the Lac du Bourget, in 2013

In 2013, one of the major projects of the municipal council was the restoration of the course of the River Tillet (fr) and the creation of a harbour for boats at the Petit Port near this river leading into the Lac du Bourget. The work amounts to 7 million Euros.[24] By rearranging the small harbor, the city wants to take advantage of the situation by decontaminating the River Tillet, which is heavily polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).[24] The municipality and the CALB (fr) chose for a solution to store the PCB-contaminated soil on-site. The waste transport solution to a specialized treatment center was not successful.[24] Among the comments from various stakeholders in the project, it was said: "It (the contaminated soil) will be placed in a watertight compartment and will be used to make an embankment to widen the roadway of the Garibaldi Boulevard, which runs alongside the fisherman's campsite, and to develop sidewalks and parking.[24]

The work to the harbour for boats has also brought upheavals to the level of traffic. Petit Port will become a cul-de-sac.[25] Barrier Boulevard, previously connected to the Petit Port Avenue, will no longer be so in the future, as the municipality decided to postpone the flow of traffic on the Garibaldi Boulevard,[25] this boulevard will become the new main road to get to the Barrier Boulevard through the small streets which form the way of Biatres[25] and, with a fusion of greenery, a new axis between the business district and the Sierroz campsite. The Boulevard du port aux filles will become a one-way street, except for buses.[25]

Toponymy[edit]

Aix-les-Bains, a city founded in the 1st century AD, is rarely mentioned in the epigraphic texts, and never known by Roman authors. However, two inscriptions preserved by the Archaeological Museum mention of the Latin Aquae (literally: "Waters" cf. Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) or Aix-en-Provence) and Aquensis (local residents of water), so information is provided about the name of this vicus dependent on the city of Vienne. The historians of the 19th century were sometimes subjected to read fanciful names and without historical foundation that still dot some popular books. These include Aquae allobrogium, Aquae gratianæ (an inscription which adorned the façade of the National Baths from 1934 to 1968, and to commemorate the Emperor Gratian, who was assassinated not far away, in Lyon, in 383) and Allobrogum Aquae Gratianæ.[26] The name Aquae is found in the deed of the gift of the royal land of Aix (de Acquis or "acquired") by King Rudolph III of Burgundy to his wife Ermengarde, in 1011. Some texts from the Middle Ages mention of Aquae grationapolis. This suffix simply stating that Aix was part of the diocese of Grenoble.

The first known mention of Aix-les-Bains appears in the archives from September 1792, in a letter from a French soldier recuperating at Aix waters. It is this name which then appears in all official documents, including the deliberations of the municipal council. In the early 19th century, some literary texts made use of the appellation: Aix en Savoie. However, this name has never been used in administrative documents. Since 1954, the railway station of Aix-les-Bains, at the request of the council, has been called Aix-les-Bains-le Revard.

History[edit]

The history of Aix-les-Bains is directly related to the Lac du Bourget and especially to its hot springs which made it a spa among the most renowned in the world. The historical analysis of the town must be closer to the history of the Savoy, if we are to better understand its evolution and its cultural influences. Below are periods and historical highlights of the commune of Aix-les-Bains.

Aquae: Roman Aix[edit]

L'Arch of Campanus, designed by Borgonio in 1674

Historians agree that Aix was born from its sources of water to Ancient Rome, on the remains of a Celtic habitat. The first occupation of the site has been dated by Alain Canal[27] to the first century BCE, however there is nothing to suggest these remains were a fixed habitat. We are left with the remains in public institutions and it would be difficult to draw a sketch of ancient Aquae. The administrative situation of the place is known by epigraphy, which teaches us that Aix was, in the 1st century AD, a vicus, with a board of decemlecti (a council of ten members),[28] and was administratively part of Vienne. Some citizens lived there with, apparently, quite important resources to offer to the gods, a sacred wood, a vine or to build a funeral arch for the case of the Campanii family.

During their excavations,[29] archaeologists have discovered a large thermal complex, in close proximity to its sources. On a lower terrace, to the west, was the Arch of Campanus, probably built in the 1st century, and more downstream, a second terrace carried the temple said to be dedicated to Diana, which had replaced a more ancient circular edifice by the 2nd century, which was probably contemporary with the Arch of Campanus. Remains of a necropolis have been cleared north of the temple. The Parc des Thermes, and various other locations scattered in the town, contain numerous and very varied remains, such as remains of the necropolis and pottery, etc. However, there is no centrepiece which would have led to extensive archaeological excavations. Otherwise, we know nothing of the Gallo-Romans of the Aquae vicus, in scope or in the provision of the habitat. Where did the "Romans" live? Where were their farms, the villages of their staff; What were the activities of the vicus? The mystery is still present. The only clues come from the archaeological map of the remains by archaeological services of the DRAC, and for archaeologist Alain Canal to conclude, "Paradoxically, if Aix has delivered many documents illustrating the age of the site and the quality of the monumental town planning from the beginning of the Roman Empire, we have no precise knowledge about the order of this town."

As a synthesis,[30] the history of the period can be reduced to the occupation of the town centre site from the 1st century BCE, followed by a gradual development of the area between the 1st and 2nd centuries. Occupation seems to be made from the progressive construction of the thermal complex, around which radiated monumental buildings presented on a system of terraces, which had evolved several times during the Roman period. If hot springs were originally the reason for choosing the location, other factors, such as the quality of the site, may have been decisive.

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance[edit]

Aix in 1674, from the Theatrum Sabaudiae (fr)

Knowledge, of the already very poor Aix history from Roman times, is still obscured due to the lack of sources regarding the end of the Roman Empire and the early Middle Ages. We are left to conjecture by studying the destruction from the barbarian invasions that have left traces of fires on Gallo-Roman villas of the area, such as at Arbin. Still, the Roman Baths of Aix crumbling from the fifth century and traces of urban development are lost.

Aix-les-Bains is again mentioned in sources from the 9th century, in 867, and in 1011 through charters. In the latter, King Rudolph III of Burgundy donated the villa of Aix, called a royal seat, with its settlers and its slaves to his wife Ermengarde who, in turn, pass them to the bishopric of Grenoble.[31] This Charter tells us that Aix is a small town with a church and agricultural areas. Bishop Hugues of Grenoble then donated it to the monastery of Saint-Martin de Miserere, at the beginning of the 12th century. The church erected a new priory under the name of Sainte Marie.

At the end of the 12th century, the cartulary of Saint Hugues reveals the existence of two other parishes, Saint-Simond with its church and that of Saint-Hippolyte (in the current area of Mouxy) also with a small priory. Urban geography begins to clarify: One can imagine the small town, contained in its walls, which nobody knew when was built. The central point of the town is the priory, near the ancient Roman temple. This centre could also have been the administrative centre since at least the 13th century. Aix was a seigneurie subservient to the de Seyssel family (fr), who had a chateau which, even if we do not place with certainty, was probably the location of the actual chateau.[32] Two hamlets are attested, Saint-Hippolyte, in the immediate vicinity of the town but outside the ramparts, with a small priory at the centre and at its side, now under the Villa Chevalley, a strong House, the maison forte de Saint-Pol [strong House of Saint-Pol], dependent upon the de Savoie family[32] which recent studies date back to the 13th century. A second important village appears, Saint Simond (Saint Sigismond) with it having a church and a cemetery, established as a parish, and a dependant of Saint-Hippolyte.

The texts suggest the existence of other villages including a certified record from 1561, during the general census of the population for the salt tax.[33] At that time, there were about 1095 inhabitants of Aix, 46% living in the village; Saint Simond had 125 inhabitants, Puer had 91 people, Chaudhary had 87 people and Lal had 86 people, with the rest of the hamlets, about a dozen, sharing the rest. (Marlioz having escaped from the sources).[34] This geography of the habitat seems frozen until the end of the 19th century. In Aix, the nearby Abbey of Hautecombe owned a large area at the heights of Saint Simond.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the ancient church suffered a devastating fire. The Aix people requested the help of Claude de Seyssel (fr) in order to rebuild. He was a seigneurial family member of the town, and was raised to the episcopal dignity. He was the Bishop of Albi, and an especially special advisor to the King of France Louis XII. He is also the author of a number of treaties. With support from De Seyssel the people were able to build a collegiate church, with a chapter of twelve canons, commissioned by a dean, whose appointment was returned to the count. A church was built on the nearby square of the cemetery, which included a choir of flamboyant Gothic style. If the choir belonged to the collegiate church, the nave belonged to the parishioners and presented a more plain appearance. Besides, the poorly constructed roof collapsed in 1644. Among the side chapels, one was reserved for the De Seyssels of Aix, in which is buried their dead. The collegiate church, fully a parish church after the Revolution, was demolished in 1909, after the construction of the new church. This church was known to house a relic of the true cross, which had been worshipped from a distance.[35] It is also at the end of the Middle Ages that the stately Château of Aix was rebuilt. The ceiling of the Great Hall of the ground floor is dated to 1400. The magnificent staircase of honour was built around 1590.

During the 18th century[edit]

On 9 April 1739, a huge fire broke out in the town centre and destroyed 80 homes, nearly half of the town. Reconstruction was made with appeal for subsidies from the king, who imposed an alignment plan whose implementation was entrusted to the engineer Garella. This plan went further than a simple plan of reconstruction since it provided a true alignment of streets, and imposed some rules of urbanism as, for example, the construction of houses of two floors and a ground floor; it also prohibited thatched roofs. However, it was very limited in its scope since it concerned only the burned area or the main street (Rue Albert I), the central square (Place Carnot) and Rue des Bains.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the Aix people and the medical world had begun to become aware of the value of the hot springs of Aix, through the famous writings of the dauphinois physician Jean Baptiste Cabias, who was followed in this area by other renowned doctors. Indeed, since ancient times the exploitation of sources of hot water had never been completely forgotten. Bathing took place in Aix in the Middle Ages and until the end of the 18th century, in the only existing Roman pool, outdoors, or at home where the spa water was brought by hand. The King of France Henry IV highly appreciated his Aix bath, according to Jean Baptiste Cabias.[36] In 1737, to protect the hot springwater seepage from the stream running through the city, a major project was scheduled by the General Commissariat. This changed the urban distribution of the town centre, since it was necessary to dig a new bed for the Moulins stream, outside the walls. They also had to rebuild the four mills of the Marquis of Aix, until then in the town centre, along the new channel (currently montée des moulins [Hill of Mills]).

It is the Duke of Chablais, son of King Victor Amadeus III, to whom Aix owes its renaissance because it was he who, after having tasted the benefit of sources and found it to be poorly housed, suggested the construction of a thermal establishment to the king. By royal appointment on 11 June 1776, King Victor Amadeus III commissioned Robiland to draw up plans for a bathing establishment. It was built from 1779 to 1783, under the direction of the engineer, Capellini.[37] This date also marks the beginning of the demolition of the old town centre, as a result of this imposing construction, people began to clear the surrounding houses to create the place. This first thermal establishment became an important factor of development.

The town was endowed, from 1896 to 1908, with the Tramway d'Aix-les-Bains (fr). Pictured here the heart of the network, at the junction of the streets of Geneva and Casino
The gare du Revard [Revard railway station] in Aix was the origin of the Railway of Mont-Revard (fr), which connected the city to Mont Revard from 1882 to 1937, eventually replaced by an aerial tramway

Throughout this period and until the Revolution, the town hosted a roughly stable number of approximately 600 patients each year, the majority of them French. Consecutively, the population increased, reaching 1700 inhabitants in 1793. In 1783, to enhance the lives of the patients, the council of the municipality built a landscaped public promenade: le Gigot currently known as Square Alfred Boucher. It was then lined with chestnut trees and was drawn by architect Louis Lampro. Aside from private gardens, this is the first act of urban green space, which gave a boost to the development of the town at this side of the walls, along the road to Geneva.

In 1792 the French revolutionary troops, under the command of Montesquiou, were in Savoy. The civilian use of the spa then stalled. The baths were requisitioned by the armies of the Republic, which sent the wounded soldiers for convalescence. However, it was also an opportunity to publicise Aix to the greatest number. Aix became Aix-les-Bains. With the Revolution accomplished, the privileges of the local nobility were abolished, and this especially helped the town from paying the Lord Marquess of Aix the large sum of money which it owed him for the redemption of seigneurial rights (the town had no charter of franchise). Furthermore, freedom of established trade gave new impetus to the creation of an economy based on the exploitation of the springs as soon as peace was regained. Then we see the development of pensions, hotels and cabarets. On the other hand, the Revolution left its marks on church property, such as the abandonment of the collegiate church, destruction of the bell tower and the church furniture.

It was at the lakeside where novelties was found. The small Puer harbour breakwater, built under the Ancien Régime in 1720 became a real port. First frequented by boats refuelling the troops of the army of the Alps, equipped with a military store, it is gradually built for export goods and, in particular, from the trinkets of workshops installed at the edge of the Lake. Now called it the Port of Puer. The development of this neighbourhood involved the avenue du lac [avenue of the lake] and all this activity attracted the first buildings in alignment along this busy, outside the centre and the existing villages.

Negotiations for the independence of Morocco[edit]

The negotiations for the independence of Morocco were held in Aix-les-Bains.[38] At the conference of September 1955,[39] the President of the French Council, in the person of Edgar Faure, publicly summed up the compromise proposed in Morocco, in the expression "Independence within interdependence". Until then, Moroccan territory was legally a French protectorate and the Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef was in exile. The negotiations were held in the presence of numerous personalities and French and Moroccan organizations. At the talks, Moroccan side tabled the Democratic Independence Party (PDI) as well as the Istiqlal Party, represented by Mehdi Ben Barka, Omar Benabdeljalil (fr), Abdelhadi Boutaleb, Abderrahim Bouabid (fr) and also M'hamed Boucetta (fr). On the French side, the delegation consisted of Edgar Faure,[40] Pierre July (fr), Robert Schuman and other members of the government. In addition to these were invited guests, from all walks, capable of giving advice on the status of Morocco and independence. Faithful allies of the protectorate and the Moroccan traditional chiefs were also invited. Thus, they could also negotiate in the presence of the parties concerned. They were given precedence, if possible, to the disappointment of the Istiqlal Party.

Although these negotiations held in Aix-les-Bains played an important role in the march towards the independence of Morocco, the fact remains that France had previously taken care to largely prepare for this transition. Indeed, the French State was convinced of the need to allow independence to this North African territory. However, with many economic interests at stake and many business relationships, notably the pashas and qaids, pushed France to take care not to rush this transition and initiate this change, smoothly. The destiny of the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco was drawn during this conference at Aix-les-Bains. Officially, negotiations made it possible to reach an agreement to give birth to an independent state. Morocco was finally proclaimed independent during the declaration of La Celle-Saint-Cloud on 6 November 1955. In 2005, there was the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the negotiation of the agreements of the independence of Morocco. For this occasion, a fountain with a pool was made in Moroccan zellige.[41][42] Maalems craftsmen (fr)[43] came specially from their spiritual home to complete this work in the parc de verdure of Aix-les-Bains. The project was supported by the regional council of tourism of the city of Fez (Fez-CRT) and the tourist office.

Politics and administration[edit]

The town hall in Aix-les-Bains

Since the departmental elections in 2015, Aix-les-Bains is divided into two cantons, both involving other communes. These are the Canton d'Aix-les-Bains-1 (fr) and the Canton d'Aix-les-Bains-2 (fr).

The legislative constituency on which the Aix people depend is the First constituency of the Savoy (fr). It is bounded by the redistricting law No. 86-1197 of 24 November 1986, and includes the following administrative divisions: The cantons of Aix-les-Bains-1, Aix-les-Bains-2, La Motte-Servolex and part of Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin.

Aix-les-Bains hosts several administrations and public services on its territory, such as a post office, a police headquarters, municipal police, national police, a gendarmerie, a national employment agency (renamed Pôle Emploi), a tax office, municipal kennel, homeowner associations, a communal centre for social action (fr), a centre of social security, and a railway station. The Communauté d'agglomération du Lac du Bourget (fr) is also based in Aix-les-Bains.

The town hall of Aix-les-Bains has implemented three secondary offices for the town. There is the Sierroz (fr) office, the Marlioz office and finally the la Liberté office. These are a relay for the main services of the town. One can perform many administrative procedures but also requests for support and information. These offices are competent at giving, among other things, guidance for employment matters, an accompaniment to inhabitants' projects (mainly from the associative (fr) fabric), health, law, housing, culture, education and recreation. These decentralized local structures allow the dissemination of information on municipal projects as well as the future projects where the inhabitants can, if necessary, have the opportunity to be able to express their opinion.

Trends and political outcomes[edit]

Politically, Aix-les-Bains is a town of the right, the electors have voted mostly right for municipal elections since 1979. The former mayor of the municipality from 1985 to 2001, Gratien Ferrari (fr), although having been elected with centrist policies succeeded the outgoing mayor André Grosjean (fr) with who he was one of the majority the same municipal council. Similarly, Robert Barrier was a man of the centre-right. However, in the years 1920-1930, the city was the stronghold of the left in Savoy, carried by the workers in the Aix area.

In the Referendum on the Constitutional Treaty for Europe on 29 May 2005, Aix-les-Bains mostly voted in favour of the European Constitution Treaty, with 53.55% in favour, 46.45% against and a 34.97% abstention rate (entire France: No at 54.67%, with Yes at 45.33%). These figures were not consistent with the national trend, it being in opposition. This vote demonstrated the privileged nature of the inhabitants of the town compared to rural departments with significant pools of workers. The electorate had chosen the positive vote being due to having, according to political analysts, a more privileged population economically and a higher educational level.[44]

At the 2007 French Presidential Election, the first round of voting[45] saw Nicolas Sarkozy arrive in the lead with 37.8% or 5,904 votes, followed by François Bayrou with 20.64% or 3,286 votes, then Ségolène Royal with 20.24% or 3,223 votes, and finally Jean-Marie Le Pen with 10.92% or 1,739 votes, no other candidates exceeded the threshold of 5%. In the second round,[45] the electors voted at 61.56% or 9,434 votes for Nicolas Sarkozy against 38.44% or 5,890 votes for Ségolène Royal, a result more right in relation to the national average[46] that was, in the second round, 53.06% for Nicolas Sarkozy and 46.94% for Ségolène Royal. For this presidential election, the turnout rate was very high. There were 19,774 registered voters on electoral lists in Aix, 81.18% or 16,053 voters participated in the rounds, and the abstention rate was 18.82% or 3,721 votes, with 4.54% or 729 votes having a spoilt or unmarked ballot, and finally 95,46% or 15,324 votes were cast.

The regional elections in 2010 resulted in a gathering of the left and environmentalists in the lead (43.3%) before the UMP (40.5%) and the FN (16.2%), with a high abstention (54.2%).

Municipal administration[edit]

The Aix-les-Bains municipal council, as well as the municipal team, is composed of a mayor, ten deputy mayors, seven adviser delegates and seven other charges from missions to the deputy mayors. Six communal council seats are filled by elected representatives from the Aix de tout cœur [Wholehearted Aix] (SE) list, and those of the Aix avenir [Aix future] (KVD) list. To a greater extent, one can also count a random number of delegates of the municipal council from government agencies. The current mayor is also the Député for the first district of Savoy (fr) and a community advisor to the Communauté d'agglomération du Lac du Bourget (fr) [Community of the agglomeration of Lake Bourget].

Here is the share of the seats on the municipal council of Aix-les-Bains:[47]

Party Leader Seats Status
UMP Dominique Dord 29 Majority
DVG Fabrice Maucci 5 Opposition
Independent Thibaut Guigue 1 Opposition

In the communal elections of March 2008, the participation rate for the first and only round of voting was low, with only 58.75% of voters. Of the 20,247 registered on electoral lists, 11,895 people voted and 11,453 voters spoke. The outgoing mayor Dominique Dord, topped the list Une ville d'avance [A town in advance], was re-elected with an absolute majority of 62.27%, or 7,132 votes. He was followed by the Various Left candidate Fabrice Maucci, head of the Aix avenir:durable, solidaire, exemplaire [Aix future: sustainable, solidarity, exemplary] list, who collected 28.12% of the vote, or 3,221 votes. Finally, in third position, the former UDF Mayor of Aix Gratien Ferrari (fr), head of the Aix de tout cœur [Wholehearted Aix] list, who was presented without a label, and won 9.6%, or 1,100 votes.[48]

In the municipal elections of March 2014, Dominique Dord (UMP) was re-elected in the first round with 59.71% of the vote. He was opposed by three other candidates: Véronique Drapeau (FN) (15.33%), André Giménez (KVD) (12.98%) and Fabrice Maucci (FG) (11.96%).

List of mayors[edit]

Here is the list of mayors who have held the Town Hall of Aix-les-Bains:

List of mayors from 1956
Start End Name Party Other details
March 2001 In progress Dominique Dord UMP Deputy of the first district of Savoy
March 1995 March 2001 André Grosjean (fr) RPR Retired, General Counsel
March 1985 March 1995 Gratien Ferrari (fr) UDF-AD (fr) College Principal, Deputy of the first district of Savoy
1983 1985 André Grosjean RPR Retired, General Counsel
1977 1983 André Grosjean RPR Industrial, General Counsel
1971 1977 André Grosjean Industrial, General Counsel
1969 1971 André Grosjean Industrial, General Counsel
January 1956 1963 Lucien Spycher

Legal proceedings[edit]

The town of Aix-les-Bains has several judicial courts:[49] which will be soon merged with that of Chambéry following the reform of the judicial map initiated on 27 June 2007,[50] an industrial tribunal (fr) and a House of Justice and the Law Council. With regard to other judicial proceedings, the Aix area depends on the city of Chambéry. Following judicial cutting, Aix-les-Bains is dependent of the Court of Appeal of Chambéry (fr), the High Court (fr) of Chambéry, of the juvenile court, the Commercial Court (fr) of Chambéry, the Social Security Affairs Tribunal (fr) of the Savoy and the Chamber of Attorneys the Court of Appeal of Chambéry.

Environmental policy[edit]

Traditional house opposite Mont Revard

On the Lac du Bourget, with several thousand people in addition to tens of thousands of tourists, the water quality had gradually deteriorated from the 1950s to 1970 in a major phenomenon of eutrophication,[51] since the lake at the time was the natural outlet of all sewer pipes, with in particular, Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains. Many motor vehicles of the time were also highly polluting, spitting their fumes which partially dissolved in the waters and spilt oil which was also found in the lake. They made a lot of noise and noise generated was damaging to birds and small mammals. A remediation action has been engaged since the mid-1970s, in order to reduce the eutrophication of the lake, the aim being to arrive at the same results as for Lake Annecy.

Services of water treatment stations have been established in Savoy and in particular to Aix-les-Bains. Rivers such as the Tillet (fr) and the Sierroz (fr) have thus been remediated, improving upon the quality of the waters of the lake and the regeneration of aquatic species. Aix-les-Bains has a public aquarium for the conservation of local species such as trout, Arctic char and carp. This establishment mainly specialises in freshwater fish. The Aquarium du Lac du Bourget (fr)[52] allows not only to help the local wildlife conservation but also for prevention work and educational visits.

The Lac du Bourget Aquarium in Aix-les-Bains, an Art Deco-style building

The city also offers trails marked and arranged allowing hikers to travel in the direction of Mont Revard. These courses are especially popular to athletes, walkers and bicycle enthusiasts. These paths are regularly maintained, eliminating the spread of detritus in green spaces. The municipality also has a municipal park, the Parc du Bois Vidal (fr). Here there are also many trails. The desire was to create a forest here without pomp, where nature evolves freely.

Many events are held at Aix-les-Bains. The convention centre, the Casino Grand-Cercle (fr) or even the Victoria Cinema contribute to the special conferences, such as for broadcasts of documentaries, films and ecology. Between 27–29 September 2005 the first national water meeting was organized. The municipality wanted to, through organised days,[53] increase the exchange of information and experiences for greater synergy in the field of preservation and protection of water. It also created and published the Charter of Environmental Quality and Accessibility at construction sites.[54] This charter aims to reduce and limit pollution caused by urban sites such as noise pollution, waste products and water and soil pollution.

International relations[edit]

Aix-les-Bains is located in Earth
Aix-les-Bains
Aix-les-Bains
Fairbanks
Fairbanks
Kislovdsk
Kislovdsk
Milena
Milena
Moulay Yacoub
Moulay Yacoub
Rosemère
Rosemère
A map of the world with Aix-les-Bains and its twin towns highlighted

Aix-les-Bains is twinned with several other foreign cities. Twinning is a relationship between two cities in different countries which is reflected in socio-cultural exchanges.

Aix-les-Bains is twinned with:

Population and society[edit]

Demography[edit]

Aix-les-Bains has approaching 30,000 inhabitants, making it the second most populous city in the department. Its density is 2038 inhabitants per km2, its urban area is 44,490 inhabitants and its metropolitan area, which merges with that of Chambéry, has 200,000 inhabitants. Of the total population of Aix 46.6% are male, which is close to the national average of 48.6%.

Demographic surveys show a frank and regular increase of the Aix population.

In 2012, the municipality had 28,729 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known throughout the population censuses carried out in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, censuses of communes with more than 10,000 inhabitants are held every year as a result of a sample survey, unlike other communes which have a real census every five years.[note 1][note 2]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 1,415 —    
1800 1,596 +12.8%
1806 2,018 +26.4%
1822 2,813 +39.4%
1838 3,556 +26.4%
1848 3,850 +8.3%
1858 4,116 +6.9%
1861 4,253 +3.3%
Year Pop. ±%
1866 4,373 +2.8%
1872 1,876 −57.1%
1881 4,741 +152.7%
1886 5,580 +17.7%
1891 6,296 +12.8%
1896 8,328 +32.3%
1901 8,120 −2.5%
1906 8,679 +6.9%
Year Pop. ±%
1911 8,934 +2.9%
1921 8,764 −1.9%
1926 11,563 +31.9%
1931 13,020 +12.6%
1936 12,889 −1.0%
1946 14,556 +12.9%
1954 15,680 +7.7%
1962 18,132 +15.6%
Year Pop. ±%
1968 20,627 +13.8%
1975 22,210 +7.7%
1982 23,451 +5.6%
1990 24,683 +5.3%
1999 25,782 +4.5%
2006 27,375 +6.2%
2011 28,585 +4.4%
2012 28,729 +0.5%
From 1962 to 1999: Population without double counting; for the years following: municipal population.
Source: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1999[55] then INSEE from 2004[56]

Over 70% of the Aix population is under sixty. In contrast, 30% of that section of the population is in the upper section of this age group. The demographic trend in the Aix area tends to an aging population and a high proportion of single people.[22]

Changes in the age structure of the city of Aix-les-Bains, comparison between 1999 and 1982:[57]

The total number of households in Aix is 11,720. These households are not all equal in numbers of individuals. Some of these households contain one, others two, three, four, five or even more than six people. Here below, is the data as a percentage of the distribution of these households, compared to the total number of households.

Households: 1 person 2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 people+
Aix-les-Bains 39.4% 32.1% 13.3% 9.8% 3.4% 2.1%
National average 31% 31.1% 16.2% 13.8% 5.5% 2.4%
Source: INSEE[58]

In 1990, the town was ranked 302nd nationally[59] and then in 1999 it passed to the 292nd position in national ranking. Its growth is therefore constantly increasing and yet is expected to accelerate in the coming years due to the increase of the birth rate and by the decrease in the mortality rate recorded in recent years thanks to medical advances and improvement in the standard of living. Its net migration for the period 1990-1999 was positive since it was valued at over 632 inhabitants placing Aix at 475th position in the national rank. The natural balance for the same period was an increase of 417 inhabitants and a total annual variation in population of 0.4%.

Education[edit]

Aix-les-Bains makes several educational facilities available to residents of the town including seven nursery schools (fr) and nine public elementary schools (fr); with a kindergarten and two primary schools under private contract (fr).[60] Common public kindergartens include: in the centre of Aix-les-Bains, Franklin Roosevelt, la Liberté - Aix-les-Bains, Lafin - Aix-les-Bains, the Sierroz, Marlioz - Aix-les-Bains and Saint-Simond. Also, the Boncelin public primary school. Public elementary schools which are present include le Choudy, du Centre, Franklin Roosevelt, la Liberté, Lafin, Le Sierroz (fr), Marlioz and Saint Simond. In the private sector, but under contract, there is the Gazouillis kindergarten and the primary schools of Lamartine and St. Joseph.

The town has three public collèges for lower secondary education, which are Garibaldi, Jean-Jacques Perret and Marlioz. There are three private colleges under contract namely Lamartine Catholic college, the la Ribambelle college and the Talmudic college. Aix-les-Bains has only one public lycée general, technological and professional which is the Lycée Marlioz, which also offers many post-secondary education qualifications (vocational baccalaureate, BTS notary or trade).

In the private sector, non-contract is an established private technology ITCC school and two private schools under contract, namely the Talmudic lycée general (fr) and the Tomer Deborah lycée general. There is also the presence of a lycée professionnel (fr) under private contract, the la Savoisienne lycée professionnel.[61]

The town also hosts other training (fr) institutions. Examples include the professional (fr) academic section LPO Marlioz, SEGPA (fr) CLG Marlioz, the Municipal Conservatory of Music and, since 2006, the Peyreffite Graduate School.

Cultural events and festivities[edit]

The Festival of the Lake at Aix-les-Bains

Several festivals are organised in the town of Aix-les-Bains, with the following being the most significant:

Each year, other events also take place in the Aix area such as:[63]

  • The Night of the Museums (May)
  • The Acquascenies (July)
  • The Navig'Aix (August)
  • The Biennale Charles Dullin (November)

Health[edit]

A public general hospital (fr) is located in the commune. It is ranked 16th in the national rank[67] for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The town also has the Queen Hortense Hospital (fr) for Rheumatology.[68] There are about forty doctors of all disciplines present in the city.

There is also the Gustav Zander Centre for functional rehabilitation and care. This is an independent private clinic. Its capacity is 40 beds of complete hospitalisation, with forty day case places. The specialties of this centre are, primarily, for functional rehabilitation and motor rehabilitation, traumatology, orthopedics, neurology and cardio-vascular diseases.[69] It was authorized to increase its capacity with fifteen new beds and 15 additional places. This extension was expected to be operational in 2008.

Another institution in the Aix area is the Herbert Clinic (Générale de santé (fr)). It has a capacity of eighty-four beds and places of which seventy-five are surgical beds and nine outpatient surgery places. This clinic is for specialty surgery and is particularly present in the practice of anaesthesia-resuscitation, gynecological surgery, maxillofacial surgery, plastic and aesthetics, orthopaedic surgery, upper limb orthopaedic surgery and surgery of the hand, surgery of the spine - neurosurgery, vascular, and thoracic surgery, urologic Surgery and, finally, visceral surgery.[70]

A renowned spa town, the thermalistes institutions of the town must be mentioned[71] many of which provide medical care. The Thermes Chevalley of Aix-les-Bains, found in this area, specialises in rheumatology and phlebology. The Marlioz Spa specialises in the diseases of the respiratory tract and throat diseases.

Aix-les-Bains is the first spa town in France to be part of 84 towns and intercommunal structures of the French network of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) group of healthy cities. This implies the adherence of the commune to the WHO doctrine of health for all. The association (fr) of the French network of WHO healthy cities was established in 1990, and the Aix-les-Bains commune joined in 2008.[72]

Sport[edit]

Sailing and windsurfing on the Lac du Bourget

Aix-les-Bains is a very active city in the field of sport. There are about eighty-two associations[73] in direct connection with sport. More than fifty different sports can be practiced in the commune. Among others this includes waterskiing, motor sports, Taekwondo, tennis, archery, sailing, volleyball, water polo and handball. Further sports include judo, karate, swimming with the Cercle des nageurs d'Aix-les-Bains (fr) swimming club, boating, paragliding, petanque, scuba, rugby union, athletics, rowing with the Nautical and rowing agreement of Aix-les-Bains, basketball with the club Aix Maurienne Savoie Basket and boxing. Fencing, football, golf with the Aix-les-Bains international golf course (fr) of 18 holes on an area of 45 hectares (110 acres), strewn with natural obstacles and crossed by a river, the Tillet, gymnastics and many other sports are also practiced.

Horse racing takes places at the Hippodrome de Marlioz (fr) racecourse and the Société des courses of Aix-les-Bains [Racing Society of Aix-les-Bains]. The Marlioz racetrack has hosted public events for more than a century.[74] The Marlioz track, ranked '1st category gallop' and '2nd category trot', has large grandstands, a panoramic lounge and an open-air restaurant.

Cycling includes two races which are organized in the town by the Amical Cycle Aixois [the Aix-les-Bains cycling club], with an Easter prize and a night prize. Aix-les-Bains is one of the cities having been included more often, 18 times, in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Tour de France has also had stage finishes in Aix-les-Bains on numerous occasions. Since World War II, amongst other appearances in the race, the town has had a stage finish in the event in 1948, 1951, 1954, 1958, 1965, 1972, 1974, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2001.

The municipality operates several sports services[75] such as the municipal sports school, the municipal office of sports, this sports office should not be confused with the previous service, and finally the centre nautique municipal, the beach and pool of Aix-les-Bains.

Between 1949 and 1961, the town was very present in motorsports, thanks to the Aix-les-Bains Circuit du Lac [Lake race track]. The circuit was situated by the Lac du Bourget. With a length of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), it was around the place where the crossroads of the lake now is. It was the only automobile circuit of Savoy. Events for Formula 2, Formula Junior and Grand Prix motorcycle racing were held. It attracted local drivers and spectators[76] but also people from Switzerland, Italy and England. The geographical situation lent itself readily to the practice of cycling.

On 30 March 2013, the Group B final of the European Championships took place. Rugby U18 was held at Aix-les-Bains between the Netherlands and Croatia. The Dutch team won with 51 points against 3 and took the title.

Media[edit]

The press is represented mainly by the large regional dailies and, in particular, Le Dauphiné libéré. More locally, there is quite a rich press, with La Vie nouvelle, La Savoie (fr), L'Essor savoyard (fr), Le Messager (fr), La Voix des Allobroges (fr), Le Faucigny (fr) and many others. In addition to the national radio stations, the town is covered by many local stations including France Bleu Pays de Savoie, ODS radio, HotRadio and Hellebore. TV8 Mont-Blanc local television broadcasts across the Pays de Savoie. A regular show is La place du village, which highlights local life in the Aix area. This is also the case in the local information of the same television channel, as well as on France 3 in the local and regional edition.

Economy[edit]

Essentially a spa town until the mid-20th century, Aix-les-Bains has gradually transformed its local economy and is no longer dependant on the thermal baths which are less frequently used than before. Like the cities of Vichy, Évian and other spas, Aix-les-Bains has diversified the economy and invested a lot on tourism potential and health. In 2000, the commune had a network of 34 stations classified by the label of France Station Nautique (fr).[77] It also obtained the label of Station Touristique at the end of October 2013.

Revenues of the population and taxation[edit]

The average income per household in Aix-les-Bains is about €15,606 per year. However, this number does not reflect the reality for the majority of Aix-les-Bains households whose earnings are modest, or even precariously low. The share of households taxed in 2005 was 66.8%.[78] The number of indebted taxpayers of the wealth tax is two hundred and twelve. The average wealth tax for the commune is approximately €4,091 per year which is slightly lower than the national average which has an average tax of €5,683 per year.[79] With respect to the mean wealth of those liable to pay the Solidarity tax on wealth, it amounts locally to €1,338,548 per year compared to €1,493,167 per year for the average national.

Income tax in 2003

Taxable households (%) Average income per household in € Average income per taxable household in € Average pension amount in € Pensioners and pensions (%)
Aix-les-Bains south 66 22,269 29,409 19,979 30
Aix-les-Bains town 53 15,845 23,693 17,973 37
Aix-north-Grésy 62 20,327 27,724 18,876 31
Savoy 57 16,911 24,215 16,897 31
France 52 16,827 25,912 16,883 31
Source: Ministry of Finance[80]

Canton according to the social development of territories Aix-les-Bains

Share of beneficiaries of the RMI per 1000 inhabitants Number of beneficiaries with low income Number of persons covered by low income beneficiaries As a % of the total population 1999 Recipients of the RMI
31 December 2000 31 December 2004
Aix-les-Bains south 5.4 231 603 5.7 57 57
Aix-les-Bains town 16.9 1,378 3,043 11.8 383 435
Aix-north-Grésy 3.4 156 369 4.9 26 25
Savoy 9.3 13,126 30,380 8.1 3,403 3,463
Source: Chamber of commerce and industry of Savoy[80]

The local municipality direct tax rate for 2007 follows.[81] This rate includes the rate of council tax on developed property rates, the no-property tax rate and frame rate of the business tax. The rate of council tax rises at municipal level to 13.82%, in the intercommunal level to 0%, and at the departmental level to 4.92%. The developed land rate amounts to a municipal level of 25.04%, the intercommunal level at 0%, with 7.46% at the departmental level, and 2.07% at the regional level. The undeveloped land rate amounted to 42.08% at the municipal level, the inter-communal level at 0%, the departmental level at 29.37%, and the regional level at 5.15%. In terms of the rate of business tax, the municipal level is at 0%, the intercommunal level at 20.12%, the departmental level at 9.09%, and the regional level is at 2.43%.[82]

Employment[edit]

The commune of Aix-les-Bains had approximately 14,086 total jobs[83] (employee + self-employed) in 1999, including 1,039 salaried jobs. The average annual rate of change of total employment, between 1990 and 1999, was 0.07%. The number of jobseekers (categories 1-2-3-HAR) on 31 December 2006 was 1,412 with a 13.7% unemployment rate.[84] The rate of activity for those between 20 and 59 years of age stood at 82%, which equals the national average of 82.2%. There were 42.9% of working age against 24.3% of retirees whose number is well above the national average of 18.2%. There were 20.5% of school age and 12.2% of people without activity.

Distribution of employment by industry

Agriculture Artisans, merchants and entrepreneurs Executives, intellectual professions Associate professionals Employees Manual workers
Aix-les-Bains 0.1% 8.8% 10.5% 23.6% 34% 23%
National average 2.4% 6.4% 12.1% 22.1% 29.9% 27.1%
Source: INSEE[85]

The municipality has many structures to help job seekers in their approaches and their career as well as for guidance. A national agency for employment is present as well as a local mission specialising in orientation and workshops of discovery in the world of employment. Also included is the "Association (fr) for the Development of Social Promotion", a training body, but also a permanent home for information and guidance, and a centre for information and orientation (fr).

Companies of the agglomeration[edit]

An Aixam car

The companies and institutions total at 1 January 2006 was 2,624. Aix-les-Bains had reached a number of 198 new businesses for the year 2004. It lay at 216th position in the national ranking. There are mainly thirteen types of institutions.[86] Agricultural and food industry institutions represent 3.3% of the total number of companies with a number of 58. Consumer goods industries represent 1.7% with twenty-nine institutions, car industries are two companies at about 0.1% of the companies. Capital goods industries have a share of 1.5% with twenty-seven companies. The intermediate goods industry includes twenty companies or 1.1 per cent, energy amounts to 0.1% with its two companies. Construction has 135 companies representing 7.7%, trade represents no less than 28.4% of the total number of companies with four hundred and ninety-six institutions. Transportation includes forty-three institutions or 2.5 per cent, real estate activities totalled sixty seventeen companies or 4.4 per cent. Services to the companies represent 12.4% with two hundred and sixteen institutions. Services to individuals include two hundred eighty-two companies at around 20.6% and, finally, with respect to the last type of school education, health and social action (fr) there are 282 companies or 16.1% of the total number of establishments.

The four main businesses[86] present in the town of Aix-les-Bains are Léon Grosse (fr) with a turnover of 627 million Euros (consolidated 2008, given to "Léon Grosse"), Aixam with a turnover of 74 million Euros,[87] Aixam production, which is an entity independent of Aixam, with a turnover of 47 million Euros and ABB Process Automation with 50 million Euros of turnover (2003 figure). The Aix area includes many other companies. Among other things, also present in Aix-les-Bains, are the Savoie-Yaourt (Savoy yoghurt) business, the Société des eaux minérales d'Aix-les-Bains (fr) which is a mineral water producer, the Cavaillé company in the wine[88] field, the company Areva as well as the manufacture of high-quality leather goods, the Bauer Compressor Company, and the company Clipsol[89] which is very in vogue thanks to its production of solar heating. Moreover, in recent years the hospitality sector has tended to develop. Hospitality giant Accor[90] is particularly present in the area of Aix, in order to benefit from the growth of health markets and hydrotherapy.

Trade[edit]

The town centre of Aix-les-Bains

Aix-les-Bains has nearly 500 shops.[91] These are, for the largest number, present in the town centre. Merchants benefit from the attractiveness of the geographical situation of the commune with the proximity of the lake and the Massif des Bauges, but also thanks to the casino. However, its aging image as well as competition from neighbouring communes tend to undermine the Aix shops. Indeed, the peripheral communes such as Tresserve, Grésy-sur-Aix, Albens or even Le Bourget-du-Lac attract ever slightly more local clientele. On the other hand, the Chambéry area is facing competition from the area of activity of Les Landiers, where most of the big names are, such as Darty, la Halle aux vêtements, Feu vert, but also the large Carrefour hypermarket. This presence has forced the town of Chambéry to revitalize its own town centre. Aix-les-Bains shops have, in this general situation, struggled to survive and attract potential customers.

However, the Aix-les-Bains municipality became aware of this state of affairs. A Fisac[91] record has been opened. The city has set many objectives and measures. For example, to include the creation of an office of trade and crafts, which organises special events à la carte, the creation of an internet site, support for food shops, the study of facilities in the south of the town as well as on the improvement of the bond between the Lac du Bourget and the town centre, the valuation of public space, and more generally the improvement of communication and the development of multiple channels of information for advice.

Hydrotherapy[edit]

Main articles: Thermal bath and Hydrotherapy
National Thermal Baths at Aix- les-Bains.

Springs, gushing on the hillsides, through two holes in the cliff, were already known to the Celts (the Allobroges tribe), who worshipped them under the auspices of the god Borvo. Attached to the city of Vienne, after the conquest of Caesar, the Roman vicus of Aquae (Aix) grew around a first-class bathing establishment, continually improved and expanded. Therefore, this tradition of baths was permanently preserved over the centuries. There are also testimonies of the presence of King Henry IV[92] in 1600, who washed in the unique Roman swimming pool still accessible at the time, called the Royal Bath. In 1783, through the subsidies of King Victor Amadeus III, a first modern thermal hotel was built. These thermal baths, several times enlarged (1818 to 1856-60), naturally became the national baths during the incorporation of Savoy into France in 1860. New buildings completed the complex in 1897, and especially in 1934. In 1996, a new state institution, the Thermes Chevalley were inaugurated, relying on several new deep catchment sources.

The underground travel of the waters, from the opposite shore of the lake (more than thirty years at 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) deep), explains its temperature of 46°. Many sources provide calcium, sulphated, silica-rich waters which are very slightly radioactive at 45° or cold, and finally with bicarbonatees.[93] They, according to their origin and their temperature, are used either for showers or baths, in a swimming-pool, or to drink. These warm waters are especially indicated[94] for degenerative rheumatism such as lumbar or cervical arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, acute lumbago, recurrent arthritis of the hands, knee osteoarthritis, and for inflammatory rheumatism and spontylarthrite rheumatism. The use of sources is also beneficial for the algodystrophy, tendonitis, and phlebological problems (chronic venous insufficiency, suites and sequelae of thrombosis, lymphatic insufficiency, Raynaud's disease), on the other hand, these waters are contraindicated for the varicose ulcer, stroke or recent cardiac events.[94] The cure techniques are the use of showers, individual enclosure (Berthollet), physiotherapy,[95] mud application, underwater showers, and rehabilitation in a swimming pool. By their calming of the nervous system, the waters can cause euphoric relaxation.

The Thermes Chevalley

The national baths of Aix-les-Bains[96] consist of two buildings located on two very distinct sites. Thus the Thermes Pellegrini and the Thermes Chevalley Spa facilities are located on the height.

There is also the Marlioz Spa.[97] This is located in a park of 10 hectares (25 acres). It uses water from springs discovered around 1850. A first private institution was built in 1860, then entirely rebuilt in 1980. This spa is particularly suitable for the release of the respiratory system and heals diseases of the mouth. Treated ENT diseases are otitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, the pharyngitis, tonsillitis, the laryngitis, surgical preparations and post-surgical in ENT. Also treated are pathologies in pneumology, tracheitis, bronchitis, bronchial dilation and finally asthma.

Thanks to its thermal baths, in 1986, the town had around 52,000 hydrotherapy visitors[98] and 1992, more than 44,550 hydrotherapy visitors.[93] Since the year 2000, as a result of the disappearance of the agreements with the social security, attendance has decreased. Aix-les-Bains hosted approximately 35,200 hydrotherapy visitors[99] for the year 2005. This number represents about 7% of all spa guests in France and 60% of the Savoy hydrotherapy visitors. Between the year 2004 and 2005, a significant decrease of 3% in the rate of attendance was found.[99] March 2008 began with a serious conflict between staff and management which resulted in a strike.[100] Since 2007, the direction of the National Baths of Aix-les-Bains conducted a deliberate policy to revitalize attendance and privatise the facility. This privatisation should be effective in the course of the year 2009.

Local culture and heritage[edit]

Aix-les-Bains is an integral part of the Savoy. A tourist resort, the culture is mixed between its food and its communal history. Its heritage is an anthology of influences from many historical invasions. It owes much to its status as a spa town which in the Belle Epoque allowed it to boom and offered it a rich and varied heritage capital. Therefore, it is classified as a City of Art and History (fr).

Places and monuments[edit]

With its rich past and its recent evolution, the commune of Aix-les-Bains has an important and varied heritage. The commune has fourteen monuments listed in the Inventory of Historic Monuments[101] and 902 listed within the General Inventory of Cutural Heritage (fr).[102] In addition, it has three objects listed in the Inventory of Historic Monuments[103] and four listed within the General Inventory of Cultural Heritage.[104]

Heritage was also the subject of studies by the Directorate of Culture of the region of Rhône-Alpes in its series Les dossiers de l'inventaire (Études sur le patrimoine) [The inventory files (heritage studies)]. It has no less than 1163 buildings which have thus retained some attention.[105]

Casino Grand-Cercle[edit]

Main article: [[Casino Grand-Cercle (fr)]]
The Casino Grand-Cercle

The Casino Grand-Cercle is located in Aix-les-Bains, and constitutes a major architectural complex in Savoy, in the same way as the casino of Évian. The casino was opened in 1850 by the King Victor-Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy. The ceiling of his living room is covered with a beautiful mosaic of 3.5 million small cubes of glass mounted on a golden background. At the time, the building included a ballroom at its centre, flanked by two rooms, one for games, the other for reading and correspondence. Thirty years later, the casino had gained momentum and was expanded with two side pavilions. In 1899, the building acquired a 900-seat theatre, equipped with wooden machinery. Recently four works by the painter Di Credico (fr) were placed in the room of traditional games (boules, roulette, blackjack, etc.). The Casino Grand-Cercle was ranked at 24th in the classification of French casinos, on the basis of its gross product from the games for the fiscal year of 2004-2005.[106]

Château of the Rock of the King[edit]

Main article: [[Château de la Roche du Roi (fr)]]
The Château de la Roche du Roi [Chateau of the Rock of the King]

The Château of the Rock of the King is a 20th-century chateau. It is located on the heights of Aix-les-Bains, built on a hillside, the chateau dominates much of the town and overlooks the racecourse and golf course among others. It was built in 1900 by the architect of the town, Jules Pin Sr. as well as by the Léon Grosse company. This chateau is now a classified historical monument. Its architectural style is a mix of oriental palaces and chateaux of the Renaissance. The total area of the building is approximately 500 square metres (5,400 sq ft). It is built on a terrace supported by a vaulted semicircular basement. Outside of the chateau, in its periphery, is a dense forest of many hundreds of trees, brush, and plants common to the region. The chateau currently belongs to a foreign private owner. The town attempted to acquire the building after noting that it was abandoned for many years, and after several major damages had been reported and multiple interventions by firefighters called to deal with fires.

The Church of Our Lady[edit]

The façade of the church

The Notre-Dame-des-Eaux [Our Lady of the Waters] Church, parish of the Assumption, is located in the centre of Aix-les-Bains. An architectural competition was held to design the religious building and was won by Arthur Bertin. The construction was entrusted to the Bonna company. Work began in 1890 with completion planned for 1892 while, in reality, changes were still made until 1905.

The building takes the form of a cross. The general appearance is of Byzantine inspiration. The crossing of the transepts supports a dome. The colour of its green steeple is due to the oxidation of its cover which is made of wood. The tower rises 55 metres (180 ft) above the courtyard. One can also admire its simple barrel vaults which, for their part, are of rather Romanesque inspiration. The Way of the Cross, currently ranking in the supplementary inventory of historic monuments, comes from Spain, from where it was brought by General Forestier (fr), during the campaigns of Napoleon. The tables of the Twelve Apostles, classified since 1976, and preserved in the choir, definitely come from Italy, according to expertise, and would be of 17th century origin.[107] The building dominates the heights of the Aix-les-Bains town, and it is very present in the daily life of the inhabitants.

The square in front of the church is used for public parking during the week, due to its central location in the urban fabric.

The Faure Museum[edit]

The Faure Museum

The Faure Museum is based on works originally from a private collection, that of Dr. Jean Faure (1862-1942). They were bequeathed to the city and kept, in a villa built in 1902, since 1949.[108] This museum has the second greatest French collection of works of Rodin with not less than thirty-four sculptures, not counting the master studies. The establishment also displays a collection of paintings concerning impressionism to the public. Associated painters, such as those of romanticism, post-impressionism and symbolism are also displayed. It holds the second largest impressionist collection of the province.[108] Paintings by Corot, Boudin, Jongkind, Ravier (fr), Puy, Cézanne, Sisley, Pissarro, Degas, Bonnard, Vuillard, Lebourg, Lebasque, Marquet, Robert Antral, Charles Cottet, Jules Desbois (fr), Edmond Aman-Jean, John Singer Sargent, Victor Vignon, Constant Troyon and Stanislas Lépine. Adolphe Monticelli, Georges Michel, and Jean-Victor Bertin are also displayed.[108]

Green areas[edit]

The Parc du Bois Vidal (fr) at the heights

Regularly winning awards from the National Committee of the flowering of the France (fr), since 1959, Aix-les-Bains has won several prizes:[109]

  • Town of four flowers[110] since 1981
  • National grand prize of the flowering confirmed every 3 years since 1989
  • National grand prize of the flowers of fall in 1991
  • European grand prize of flowering towns and villages, in 1992
  • Winner of the Golden Tree awarded by the National Union of Entrepreneurs of the Landscape
  • In 2012, the Fleur d'Or (fr) [Golden Flower].[111] It was awarded for one year and can no longer be granted back to the city before a period of six years

Aix-les-Bains has averaged more than:[112]

  • 860 bins and planters
  • 6,000 trees in the city centre including 2,150 in alignment
  • 279 hectares (690 acres) of parks, gardens, squares and sports facilities
  • 125,000 plants including 45,000 bulbs in spring
  • 72,000 plants in summer
  • 3,200 plants in autumn
The esplanade alongside the Lac du Bourget

A flowering in four seasons is ensured in the town. Thus, its horticultural centre of approximately 2,500 square metres (27,000 sq ft) ensures continuous and regular production of about 300,000 plants per year. In summer 2008, more than 95,000 plants wrapped and decorated the town, divided into 103 species and separated into 241 varieties.[113] Aix-les-Bains was the first city in Savoy to embark, in 2006, in integrated biological control, a mode of ecological production of plants.[114]

The Parc floral des Thermes (fr) is composed of old and rare trees. This is a theatre of greenery with three thousand seats. It welcomes open-air concerts, especially in summer.

The Parc du Bois Vidal (fr), in an area of 18 hectares (44 acres)[115] in the heart of the town, includes woods and meadows in its midst, along with hiking trails and a sports park.

The esplanade of the lake spans the east shore of the Lac du Bourget. Bounded by two marinas, it includes a lawn and trees. The Musilac festival, as well as the Navig'Aix event, occur here each year.

The Corsuet (fr) forest stretches along the edge of the town of Aix-les-Bains in an area of approximately 116 hectares (290 acres). Many trails have been constructed. There are also sports courses and the presence of mountain bikers.

The Japanese Garden offers a composition of a design based on Kanji[115] at its centre. It is located on the Avenue Charles de Gaulle, at the entrance of the Golden Tulip Hotel.

Hotels[edit]

The Royal, Splendide and Excelsior luxury hotels seen from Tresserve
The Bernascon luxury hotel

Among other tall buildings in Aix-les-Bains, the luxury hotels must be listed. Now though, they are vestiges of the Belle Époque, and have been mostly converted into collective housing. However, they maintain their impressive exterior façades as well as their masterful entries, adorned with most of the awnings from the time and with canopies of wrought iron. These palaces are the Beau-site, the Grand Hotel, the Bernascon, the Splendide, the Royal and the Mirabeau, etc.[116] Not to mention the Astoria which is the only grand hotel still in operation.[117]

The great hotel projects multiplied in Aix-les-Bains between 1883 and 1914. The funding emerged from the two prestigious figures of Gaudens-Antoine Rossignoli (1837-1908) and Jean-Marie Bernascon (1826-1912), while the designs illustrate the works of Antoine Gouy and Alfred Olivet, both architects in Geneva, and Sébastien Pin, known also as Jules Pin Sr., an architect of Aix-les-Bains.

  • The Splendide luxury hotel (1884) built by Gaudens Antoine Rossignoli
  • The Excelsior luxury hotel (1906) built by Gaudens Antoine Rossignoli
  • The Bernascon luxury hotel (1909) built by Jean-Marie Bernascon with its annex villa Regina
  • The Royal luxury hotel (1914) built by Louis Rossignoli
  • The Mirabeau luxury hotel (1910)
  • The Grand Hotel (1858) built by C-B Pellegrini with a "Les Ambassadeurs" annex in 1877
  • The Hotel of the Globe (1868), today Hôtel de l'Europe with its annex Villa Victoria (1883) to receive the Queen
  • The Beau Site Hotel (1883)
  • The International Hotel (1893), burned in the years 1985-1995, now renovated
  • The Hôtel des Iles Britanniques [Hotel of the British Isles] (1903)
  • The Astoria Hotel (1904)
  • The Panoramic Hotel

Other buildings[edit]

The Arch of Campanus at the National Baths

The town of Aix-les-Bains is dotted with numerous historic buildings as well as buildings of character. Of the Gallo-Roman era, there is the Arc funéraire romain de Campanus [Roman funerary Arch of Campanus]. This arch was erected by the patrician of Gallia Narbonensis, Lucius Pompeius Campanus, honouring the dead of his family. This monument is a symbol representing the passage to the afterlife. The arch has a height of more than 9 metres (30 ft). It consists of an archway between two pillars surmounted by an entablature with architrave, all made of cut stones fitted without mortar. The arch includes a frieze, cornice and an attic. The frieze has eight niches to house the busts of some of the characters to which the arch is dedicated.

There is also the impressive building of the Thermes antiques [ancient baths]. Around 120 BC, the Romans built these comfortable baths in Roman fashion, such as was the case throughout the Empire. The structure includes several baths from a hot bath (caldarium), and a warm bath (tepidarium), to a cold bath (frigidarium).[118] All of the basins are covered in marble. The rooms were decorated with columns and sculptures. Currently, the Roman ruins are still visible inside the national baths.

Also of note is the current Aix-les-Bains town hall. Originally, it was a mansion belonging to Conrad the Peaceful, then a chateau of the Marquis of Aix[119] between the 15th and the 17th century. Next to the town hall there is the Gallo-Roman temple, known as the Temple de Diane [Temple of Diana] which became the Lapidary Museum. This ancient shrine is one of three temples in France which are fully preserved.[118] Today converted into the Archaeological Museum, the building houses many statues and antique objects, as well as items from the Bronze Age.

Gastronomy[edit]

Harvest at Château Boncelin in Chantemerle, near Aix-les- Bains

The cuisine of Aix-les-Bains is typical of Savoy, based on products of the local soil and mountain meadows, essentially the Bauges. In addition to its famous fondue, there is the pleasing main course of potato doughnuts, and also crozets (fr), péla, tartiflette, diots, polenta and rioutes (fr). For dessert, there are bugnes, confiture de lait and blueberry pie.[120] Aix tables feature Savoy cheeses such as Abondance, Beaufort, the Bleu du Mont-Cenis (fr), Savoy Emmental (fr), Savoy Gruyère (fr), Persillé des Aravis (fr), Reblochon, Abbaye de Tamié, Tomme de Savoie and still many others. However, the presence of the Lac du Bourget, and the rivers such as the Tillet and the Sierroz, offer a variety of freshwater fish, to Aix cooks, which make up good number of local dishes. The local trout, Arctic char and the vendace are pleasing to eat.[121] Also fishing and frying pike delights the taste buds of the inhabitants of Aix-les-Bains. The surrounding forests and mountains of average altitude, such as Mont Revard, offer very popular produce. There are fungi, for instance, and the reputation of cèpes (fr), boletes of Revard, continues unabated. Several vineyards around the Aix-les-Bains commune produce wines used in many specialities, such as Savoy fondue, by the use of white wine. Thus, the vineyards of Saint-Innocent and of Saint-Baldoph are found near Aix-les-Bains, and the area generally enjoys most of the wines of Savoy.

Cultural heritage[edit]

The Theatre de Verdure in the Parc Floral des Thermes

The town of Aix-les-Bains has several facilities to promote culture. The presence of the Casino Grand-Cercle (fr) allows the municipality to have a theatre. Commonly known as Théâtre du Casino, it is a masterpiece of the 19th century. It offers a capacity of nine hundred seats and a stage of 20 by 13 metres (66 ft × 43 ft). This Italian theatre has an orchestra pit, an organ and a cinema screen. The casino owner is regularly solicited for the use of this room for film and television shoots, because of its authentic ornamentation.[122] More original still, Aix-les-Bains enjoys an outdoor theatre called the Théâtre de verdure in the city centre, in the park known as the Parc Floral des Thermes. It has a capacity of three thousand seats for outdoor concerts.[123][124] Tea dances are regularly organized, as well as the Aquascénies event, and also parts of theatres. One of the main halls of the commune is the convention centre of Aix-les-Bains. Exhibitions, congresses, concerts, live comedy, and many other artistic and cultural events are organised here.

Aix-les-Bains was one of the earliest French cities to have had a cinema. Today it has no less than three cinemas which are the Victoria, the Rex, and the Les Toiles du Lac of Aix-les-Bains. These three institutions are all owned by the same owner. With the creation of the multiplex Les Toiles du Lac[125] offering eight rooms, the Rex with its two rooms is slowly disappearing. The Victoria,[126] with its five rooms, should be retained and is still in operation. It is expected to gradually accommodate original films, arts films and trial releases. In addition, the establishment has the second casino of Aix-les-Bains. Smaller than the Casino Grand-Cercle, the Nouveau Casino, which is its commercial name, has an honorable playground of forty-five slot machines, a boule table, thirteen rollers (dice, roulette, etc.), fifteen video-rollers and seventeen video-poker screens.[127]

The Musée Lapidaire is available to visit, next to the town hall. This ancient Gallo-Roman temple, called the Temple of Diana, was converted into an archaeological museum. The building contains many statues and antique objects, including items from the Bronze Age. You can see the remnants of settlements from the Lac du Bourget. Another place of heritage and cultural influence, the Lamartine Municipal Library has a large document fonds.[128] The name is a tribute to the poet and writer Alphonse de Lamartine. The premises should soon be changed, closer to the national baths and Roman baths.

Several learned societies of Savoy (fr) are present in the town of Aix-les-Bains. These associations allow enlightened amateurs and specialists to meet around various themes, particularly, regional history or the study of the regional cultural heritage. Present, particularly in the town, are the Société du Patrimoine de Savoie [Society of the Heritage of Savoie] (SPS) founded in Aix-les-Bains in 1995, the Société d'Art et d'Histoire d'Aix-les-Bains et sa Région [Society of Art and history of Aix-les-Bains and its Region], founded in 1993, and the Lakeside Archaeology Centre of Aix-en-Savoie, founded in 1975.

Labels[edit]

The Parc floral des Thermes (Parc floral des Thermes) in the heart of the town

Aix-les-Bains radiates on a national scale through the baths, its life, its manifestations (such as the Musilac festival (fr)) and all of its labels:[129]

  • The municipality has four Flowers and a Golden Flower (high distinction) at the national Council of flowery towns and villages (fr). During 1992, the town was awarded the grand prix européen du fleurissement [Grand European Prize of the Flowers].
  • The town received the official label of tourist resort (classified as a Station touristique (fr)) in late October 2013
  • Aix-les-Bains also has the label Internet City (fr) with 5@ (high distinction)
  • It has also been labeled Ville d'art et d'histoire (fr) [City of Art and History]
  • The town is also a three-star nautical station (fr) through the Lac du Bourget
  • Aix-les-Bains is also a child-friendly town
  • It is part of the AVF (Accueil des Villes Françaises [Home of French Towns]) network
  • The town also receives the label of Ville vélo-touristique [Town of cycle tourism]
  • Aix-les-Bains is also a health city (WHO)
  • It also has other less important labels/associations such as the Round Table Française (fr)

Notable people[edit]

Alphonse de Lamartine
Queen Victoria
Alfred Boucher
Jean-Baptiste Charcot

Several artists and personalities were born or lived in Aix-les-Bains:

Many personalities have frequented Aix-les-Bains, including for spa treatment. Among the most famous is Queen Victoria who came in 1885, 1887 and 1890 with her daughter, Princess Béatrice, the Empress Sisi, the Queen-Mother of Portugal Maria Pia of Savoy, the King of the Belgians Léopold II of Belgium, Albert I, Prince of Monaco many Pasha of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal of Jordan, Aga Khan III (who married in Aix), Queens Emma and Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and the American financier J. P. Morgan.

Of course, there is also the family of Napoleon Bonaparte, who stayed at the Villa Chevaley, on the heights of Aix: Maria Letizia Ramolino, Pauline Bonaparte (in 1808 and 1812), Joséphine de Beauharnais (1810) and then Marie-Louise of Austria (in 1812 and 1814), Hortense de Beauharnais (came regularly with her son from 1811 to 1815 founded in a hospital in 1813 in memory of her friend Adèle de Broc) drowned in the gorges of the Sierroz (fr)), Napoleon III and Eugénie.

Also included are Madame de Staël (visited in 1810), Madame Récamier, Madame de Boigne, Benjamin Constant, Talma, Eugène Sue, François Ponsard, Victor Hugo (came to visit his friend Marie de Solms), Alexandre Dumas with his friend Honoré de Balzac,[132] George Sand,[133] Guy de Maupassant, Paul Verlaine who was arrested the day of his arrival by police Commissioner Jullien, Jean Richepin, Félix Faure, Sadi Carnot, Yves Guyot, Jules Roche, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Sarah Bernhardt, Camille Saint-Saëns, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jean Moulin, Bergson, Edwige Feuillère, Paul Claudel, Yvonne Printemps, Pierre Fresnay, Mistinguett, Charles Trenet, Yves Montand, Line Renaud, Luis Mariano, Maurice Chevalier, Georges Brassens, Édith Piaf and Charles Aznavour.[134] Not to mention, there are many other contemporary personalities.

Heraldry[edit]

Arms of Aix-les-Bains
The arms of Aix-les-Bains are blazoned:

Gules to a star of gold at the chief point.

We know very little about this coat of arms. Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy, had for arms: gules to a star of sixteen silver rays.[135] The proximity of the two coats of arms can constitute an early response in the study of the arms of the town considered, then, in the Middle Ages as a human community.

We know, however, that these arms were drawn at the end of the 19th century by the designer Guido Gonin.[136] The town never had charters of franchises before the Revolution, lacking its own coat of arms. On the other hand, the arms of the Seyssel family are present in the Château of Aix.



See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lagrange, Joël (2007). Aix-les-Bains - l'Entre-deux-guerres [Aix-les-Bains - the Interwar period] (in French). Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. ISBN 9782849107133. 
  • Collective (2006). La nouvelle rando: Savoie, Aix-les-Bains, autour du lac du Bourget [The new touring: Savoie , Aix-les-Bains , around Lake Bourget] (in French). Saint-Laurent-de-Neste, Hautes-Pyrénées. ISBN 9782915069174. 
  • Giraud, Geneviève (2005). Les thermes nationaux d'Aix-les-Bains : le fil de l'eau [National Baths of Aix-les-Bains : the water wire] (in French). Barberaz (140 Galerie de la Chartreuse, 73000). ISBN 9782952397506. 
  • Frieh-Giraud, Geneviève (2005). Aix-les-Bains : Ville d'eaux de la Belle Époque [Aix-les-Bains: Spa Town of the Belle Époque] (in French). Dauphiné Libéré. ISBN 978-2-911739-86-6. 
  • Connille, Jean-François (2003). Aix-les-Bains : Héritages et ouvertures [Aix-les-Bains: Inheritance and openings] (in French). Questio. ISBN 978-2-913732-15-5. 
  • Collective (2003). Chambéry, Aix-les-Bains, lac du Bourget. Comp'Act (fr). ISBN 978-0-7549-3389-2. 
  • Barbier, V. (2001). Aix-les-Bains et ses environs [Aix-les-Bains and its environs] (in French). Bastion. ISBN 978-2-7455-0131-8. 
  • Jeudy, Jean-Marie (1998). Les sentiers autour de Chambéry-Aix : histoires et itinéraires [The trails around Chambéry-Aix: stories and routes] (in French). Claix. ISBN 9782703802389. 
  • Jeudy, Jean-Marie (1998). Chambéry et Aix-les-Bains autrefois [Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains past] (in French). Horvath. ISBN 978-2-7171-0920-7. 
  • Collet, Paul (1997). Notre cher Aix-les-Bains : poèmes [Our dear Aix-les-Bains: poems] (in French). Paris. ISBN 9782840143918. 
  • Lecoq, Geneviève (1993). 52 balades en famille autour de Chambéry, Aix-les-Bains [52 family walks around Chambéry, Aix-les-Bains] (in French). Grenoble. ISBN 9782703801115. 
  • Henry, Planche (1972). Aix-les-Bains (in French). Saep. ASIN B0000DMCJP. 
  • Pérouse, Gabriel (1967). La vie d'autrefois à Aix-les-Bains : la ville, les thermes, les baigneurs [The old life in Aix-les-Bains: The city, the baths, the bathers] (in French). Dardel. ASIN B0000DRAKF. 
  • Recherches sur l'action de la cure d'Aix-les-Bains [Research on the action of the cure of Aix-les-Bains] (in French). Pacomhy. 1954. ASIN B0000DL4VX. 
  • Les guides bleus illustrés : Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry [Blue illustrated guides: Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry] (in French). Hachette. 1934. ASIN B0000DRNTW. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the early 21st century, Census terms were amended by Act No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, called "grassroots democracy law" on the democracy of proximity and in particular Title V "of census operations", in order, after a power transition period from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For municipalities with populations greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is carried out annually, the entire territory of these municipalities is included at the end of the same period of five years. The first post-legal population from 1999, and fitting in the new system which came into force on 1 January 2009, is the census of 2006.
  2. ^ In the census table and the graph, by Wikipedia convention, the principle was retained for subsequent legal populations since 1999 not to display the census populations in the table and graph corresponding to the year 2006, the first published legal population calculated according to the concepts defined in Decree No. 2003-485 of 5 June 2003, and the years corresponding to an exhaustive census survey for municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants, and the years 2006, 2011, 2016, etc. For municipalities with more than 10 000, the latest legal population is published by INSEE for all municipalities.

References[edit]

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  48. ^ Le Dauphiné libéré édition du 10/03/2008 - p. 6
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  132. ^ In 1831, Balzac, dans son ouvrage « La peau de chagrin » (1831), place une partie de l'intrigue à Aix. L'année suivante, il y rédige « Le médecin de campagne ». in André Palluel-Guillard, SORREL (C), FLEURY (A), LOUP (J),La Savoie de la Révolution à nos jours, 19-20e siecle, 1986, Tome IV, coll. Histoire de la Savoie, LEGUAY JP (sous la dir.), Ed. Ouest France, p.229
  133. ^ 4 June 1861, George Sand made his only visit to Aix-les-Bains in the course of a few days stay in Chambery with his friend François Buloz, cofounder of the La Revue des Deux Mondes, and in 1863 published a novel set in the Aix region, Mademoiselle La Quintinie, in André Palluel-Guillard, SORREL (C), FLEURY (A), LOUP (J),La Savoie de la Révolution à nos jours, 19-20e siecle, 1986, Tome IV, coll. Histoire de la Savoie, LEGUAY (JP (sous la dir.), Ed. Ouest France, p.229
  134. ^ List of historical figures quoted on the official site "Mairie d'Aix-les-Bains". 
  135. ^ "Aix les Bains" [Aix les Bains] (in French). Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  136. ^ Archives Municipales, 3 D

External links[edit]