Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Bain Fort, Hostellerie

The Bain Fort

  The first thing I ever posted about Rennes-les-Bains, in July 2009:

In the distance you can see "The Old Bridge" that you cross in Rennes-les-Bains to drive up to Montferrand.  It looks Roman, but in fact the original Roman bridge was situated where is now the blue passerelle.  It was swept away in the floods of 1992; only the stanchion remains.

It is right beside the restaurant of the Hostellerie Rennes Les Bains, with it's riverside terrace.  
  The restaurant does a menu of the day, every weekday during the spring and summer season.We had mixed salad, dorade (white fish) with braised aubergines and peppers, flan (egg custard with syrup sauce) and a bottle of wine from Roc Negre.
 The pink building beside the restaurant is one of the famous thermal baths and we saw the outdoor bath outside, under the balcony by the river.
My friend Patrick explained that families of holiday-makers would come and bath nude in it, which upset the local old ladies. "But now they've turned the water off!"  After lunch we saw people bathing in the river all the same at that spot. 

In early October 2013 there was great news.  The bath had been re-opened!


  The flow of warm water is controlled by the Mairie and they had decided to allow this popular bathing place once again, where one can also bathe in the salty Sals alongside; which is usually quite cold.  The people using the bath had posted a notice.

BainsFortNotice.JPG  BainsFort2.JPG
      And my picture of the little boy by the sculptures and the waterfall was my most popular ever.

  Then, suddenly bad news.  The local people were complaining about the baths being used.  One evening the gendarmerie were called out, but no-one was arrested.  I heard on the grapevine (which cannot be considered evidence, of course) that the people complaining were the same ones - described as "immigrants from other European countries" - who tried to force through surveillance cameras against travellers.  Others said it was the people staying in the Hostellerie, who were also not local residents. It seems to me most strange that people would want to move to a village to live and then complain about it.  

  I had a drink and a chat with the proprietor of the Hostellerie, Nicole.  She told me that her guests do not complain because any noise the bathers make crosses the river and is heard by the residents of the Hotel de France and Maison Christina, which is owned and run by Christina from Denmark.  The proprietor also told me the water source is owned by the Hostellerie and the Mairie jointly and as far as she is concerned, it will remain firmly open.

News from June 12th 2014    A protest was held in Rennes-les-Bains.  There was talk that the source of water was going to be taken over by a commercial water company.  The local people feel that is is THEIR bath, and the warm water freely given by God should remain free.  One one can see their point.

  You can see much more on this site;   stunning pictures of the bath, and the protests.

  Roll on next summer and more news!

  Summer 2015

The bath was open in April, and this notice was put up.


All was sweetness and light, they even had a row of horseshoe hooks for clothes.


  Then came the dreadful rumours, there had been trouble at Rennes-les-Bains, the hippies were invading the town, there was scuffles and disturbances and petty theft and then the Hostellerie was burgled, at two o'clock in the morning and "the marginals" were blamed.  As far as I know, the bath was closed and has remained closed ever since.  In July I saw this protest sign but by then I think all the fuss had settled down.


  Whoever wrote it is wrong of course, there is no public right to the bath, it was a concession between the hotel and the Mairie or town hall. 

  The bath is in a sorry state now,with a sort of dirty black trickle flowing out and black mould forming.


And then, what a surprise, a secret revealed for all of you.  My friend Julian never saw it!


See the overhang on the bottom left?  When I was taking photos, there was a sort of muffled squealing and then young girls emerged from under the overhang, saying, "Don't take our photos!"  I promised I wouldn't and then they told me the warm water from the bath had been redirected under the overhang and they had made themselves a little den there and nobody ever saw them!

HiddenSource2.JPG  HiddenSource1.JPG 
So there you are, you can't keep a good source down!

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