Dormez Bien: Les Petites Vosges, Bagnères-de-Bigorre

Enjoy a stay with an artistic flair in the once fashionable spa town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre in Hautes-Pyrénées

Bagnères-de-Bigorre was once a fashionable spa resort that thrived at the turn of the 20th century when bathing in its thermal waters was in vogue. Curistes would stay in formal hotels and spend the afternoons promenading on the Allées des Coustous.

Times have changed but the appeal of the thermal springs remains and today’s visitors include walkers and skiers, who come to Bagnères to soothe their aches in the new, cathedral-like Aquensis spa.

Catching the wave of interest that Aquensis has attracted is the chambre d’hôte Les Petits Vosges. With its deep-red walls, bold green shutters and climbing roses, Les Petits Vosges is a local landmark. The brave colour statement is the work of owner Chantal Estela-Lacène, whose artistic flair also gives the interior its personality.

The residents’ lounge, the salon de thé and breakfasting room and the four bedrooms have been tastefully decorated with bric¬a¬brac salvaged from schools and dressmakers.

Some would consider this approach has become passé, but Chantal carries it off well, helped in part by a building that, in occupying an awkward corner site, is made up of many quirky dimensions.

My room, named after the Columbian artist Fernando Botero, was on the first and second floors. The first floor had a large and unusually shaped bedroom with at least two aspects. Up another flight of stairs and tucked into the roof space was a cosy snug in which to nap or read.

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Despite its corner position near the town centre, there is a surprising amount of outdoor space, with a terrace either side of the front door and a south-facing one on the roof.

Les Petites Vosges

17 Boulevard Carnot

65200 Bagnères-de-Bigorre

Tel: (Fr) 5 62 91 55 30