The Town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre
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Bagnères-de-Bigorre is a town of just over 8,000 inhabitants – called “Bagnérais” - situated in Hautes-Pyrénées department of south west of France.
As its name says (baignade means bathing) it is a spa town that was founded around the hot springs by Roman occupants in the first years of Christian era.
Throughout the centuries the town follows its region history: is handed over temporarily to the English during the Hundred Year War, and as a part of Navarre Kingdom becomes temporarily protestant when its Queen Jeanne d’Albret – the mother of King Henri IV – converts to Protestantism in 1560.
On June 21, 1660, Bagnères-de-Bigorre was shuck by a strong earthquake whose replicas lasted 3 weeks.
The earthquake that is still present in the popular memory affected all the town’s houses and made – fortunately temporarily – the hot springs dry up.
Nowadays Bagnères-de-Bigorre is a lively charming town with beautifully color-painted houses and several historic monuments like: the Saint Vincent Church, the remains of the cloister of the Saint Jean Church destroyed in a fire in 1901, the house where Queen Jeanne d'Albret stayed when she came to Bagnère in 1553, 1567 and 1571 and the Jacobins Tower (called also "Tour de l'horloge" )(see the photos).
Being periodically the start of a stage in the famous "Tour de France" cycling competition, the town celebrates this association by displaying new, ancient, made of flower, made of …bread, made of …chocolate bikes in shop windows, parks, hung on light poles etc.