In the foregoing pages we studied the topographical and medical properties of the thermal spa town of Rennes-les-Bains, as the water currently provides to us. It now remains to take a look at its past, which will offer many interesting facts.
The thermal spa of Rennes, although one of the least known spa's today among the many and varied locations also equipped with mineral waters, was once attested to more fame - today it has many remains which have barely escaped the destructive weather influences, from a city which was one of the most successful in the area. In Roman times in particular, it is believed that Rennes was one of the finest and first ranked among the spas of Gaul. But the village has, subsequently, shared in the many vicissitudes and troubles at various times [in history] which has ruined the region to which it belongs, and which carries again, scattered here and there, the distressing evidence of the evils it has suffered. There and not elsewhere is the source of the decadence which the village did not deserve to have undergone, and which contributed to the spa becoming today the secondary rank it maintains. And this is despite the undeniable therapeutic value of its waters today.
The history of Rennes cannot, consequently, be separated from that of the region of the Languedoc, as a whole .The spa city under the Romans. With the successive invasions of Gaul and the Razès, the area of Rennes suffered the consequences of these foreign invasions and the spa town of Rennes, popular throughout antiquity, suffered in these of incessant change, and, after reaching the highest level of prosperity entered a long period of decline from which it has barely recovered from today.
It was under the Romans that Rennes rose to its most important and to which it underwent redevelopment. And this should not surprise us. We know how, among the Roman people, the spread of the practice of taking to thermal baths proliferated. The Romans built baths everywhere, in the main cities, as well as elsewhere. They attached a great price and a great importance to these mineral waters - they surrounded them with religious prestige and consistently placed the areas under the protection of some divinity, and to which, in the vicinity of the water sources, the Romans would build temples.
When the Romans arrived in Gaul, they found several sources of mineral waters and they hastened to construct baths based on the models of those built in Rome, and these were remarkable due to the beauty of their constructions and the care of the accessories. Many of these baths still remain popular today and still retain memories, either of the material traces of the Roman or the Gallo-Roman thermes; these include Pougues near Nevers, Bondonneau near Montelimart, Aix in Provence and Bagneres-de-Bigorre.
To this list should be added Rennes-les-Bains, located in one of the first provinces occupied by the Romans and to whose thermal sources the attention of the Romans were first drawn. Because of the abundance of the waters, their varied temperatures and their great curative virtue the Romans came and built. Upon their arrival, in all likelihood, the Romans had found in this place a thermal station that already existed, but which, in any case, thanks to them, soon became a considerable establishment, as evidenced by the many remains, which point to the magnificence of the conquerors of Gaul, which were and have been found in the locality.
Thus, in several points of the village today, mainly in the part between Bain-Fort and the hamlet of Le Cercle, it has been recognized, at various depths, a great quantity of remains of Roman buildings: constructions of buildings, fragments of mosaics, etc, which may have been part, either of private houses/villas or monuments of another order. The literal space occupied by these objects indicates an extended and fairly large city, in the Valley, spread out to the broader and more Southern area of the village.
In this Valley, there was seen, in the middle of a cultivated field, the site of a square house, recognizable from the lines and 'crop marks' found in the vegetation where it was much less bushy than in the corresponding parts of older buildings.
It is at this point especially there have been found, in the ground raised by agricultural implements, a huge amount of debris of all kinds, most covered with a layer of ash and charred fragments, testifying to the destiny of this ancient city, which, at the time when the whole country was ravaged by barbarians, was destroyed by fire. From this its prosperity disappeared and so did its fame and its name.
Among the items discovered in the above cited circumstances, are objects of architecture, sculpture, pottery and various interior utensils, etc.
The objects of architecture seem to be the most significant - they were found on the site of a house that actually forms the last house of the village of Bains, to the South; they consist of several sizable fragments of capitals, columns, etc., of remarkable work, in which it is easy to recognize the debris of a temple, dedicated either to Aesculapius or Hygeia. One of these fragments is the base of a column that can be currently seen at the fountain of the Cercle, where it has been used as a capital/cornice, and that its dimensions allow us to consider that it formed the base of a column of more than 10 meters in height.
Other remains are as follows:
A beautiful white marble cornice fragment, forming a plate with a thickness of 45 mm, bearing letters carved in hollow of a rare elegance and of more than 10 centimetres
An antefixe in white terracotta, of an an elegant model
Fragments of tiles which were used by the Romans to cover roofs.
An ancient inscription that Catel said existed during his time, in the Church of the village, and which had been part of the buildings in the vicinity. Here is the text as this author reports: POMPEIVS QVARTVS.P. A.M. SVO.This inscription no longer exists in the Church of Rennes. We are told that it has been removed and is today located in a church in Perpignan. Also amid the debris of sculptures, there is especially noted:
A complete forearm with the hand holding an egg, white marble; total length 60 cm, which implies that the statue to which that arm belonged, was of a height of 2 m, 50 at least, when one considers the proportional size of the arm in relation to the temple which we discussed and in which this statue would have had its place.
A hand holding a snake in a patera, white marble; length 31 cm, which therefore, belonged to a statue of a much larger dimension again.
And another hand holding a cloth, made of white marble from Italy, and 18 cm long.
These three objects above were remarkable in that they sum up the meaning of the monument or monuments that they once adorned: the hand with the linen would symbolise the thermal spa....; the serpent, recalling the intervention of medicine and the curative properties of the water, and the hand with the egg would be showing the renaissance/rejuvenation of life afforded by the use of the waters.These objects joined on two statues, one representing Jupiter, the other Mercury, formerly reported by Catel, but are no longer to be found.Then there are various pottery vessels such as:
amphora; or urn in terracotta, height of 1 metre; similar to those which were found in Italy and Gaul.
A lacrymatoire, white earthenware, found in a large red brick urn - 10 centimetres
A fragment of a red terracotta vase, painted - large 8 cm
A fragment of white clay, on which is represented the child Hercules choking two snakes in his arms; width 4 cm; used to form the top of a lamp probably
A bronze lamp with chain - very oxidised - with a Cup forming the foot, 2 centimetres
A Roman lamp, white earthenware, with varnish 9 cm long, blackish
A bronze spatula, found in the Park; length 17 cm (fig. 3).
Pens, fibulae and other objects of daily use.
A musical instrument, a kind of flute in ivory, long nearly 10 centimetres
These various objects are kept in the cabinet of M. de Fleury, owner of the Bains and the discoveries - which date back various eras, are only a very small part of what has been found in the country during the course of the last few centuries. It would have been interesting to keep them as souvenirs and as historical evidence of the village's ancient splendour as a spa town, but they have unfortunately disappeared, and is extant only in the writings that we have made mention.
The oldest document that could refer to this respect is a memoir, written in 1709, by Mr. Delmas, then parish priest of Bains de Rennes, and which was collected after his death. The submission to Julia Fontenelie was communicated to the Celtic Academy of France, and then given to the archives of the establishment, where it has gone since. In this dissertation, Delmas reported that a priest of his friend's had pulled from the earth an urn containing ashes, with perfectly unburned bones, an urn with a very small lip and a species of bowl surmounted by a small Crescent. This URN, and some other analogues were found, made of clay, which we believed could be Gaulish, Caesar teaching us that the Gauls burned their dead. In his dissertation Delmas gives descriptions of the objects discovered in the commune of baths, and he ensures among other things that the number of medals that we "picked up was such that farmers sold them to the boilermakers for the the weight of copper." He also himself had a very nice collection of Antiquities collected at the scene. After his death, his heirs sold the whole lot to a monk of Sorèze, and we do not know what became of these objects, which were no doubt lost or destroyed in the middle of the events that occurred then, and changed, at the end of the last century, the fortunes of France. This collection of medals, all found in the commune of the baths, are listed here:
1 ° Lucius Plancus perfectus cum ureo, and ex altera parte, victoria alata Gaius Dictator perpetuus.
2 Publius Claudius Marri filius, cum septem planetis, radiant sole ex una parte and ex altera luna crescente, Clodiae family.
These two medals are of a very pure gold.
3 Godefroi de Bouillon, King of Jerusalem, with saint John on the one side, and on the other a large Fleur-de-lis.
1' RAPTUS SABINAE, CUM CAPITE ROMA.
2 ° CASTOR AND POLLUX, EQUITES.
3 ANTONIUS TRIUMVIR REIPUBLICAE.
4 ° CESAR AUGUSTUS, DIVUS PATER PATRIAE.
5 ° TIBERIUS CAESAR, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS.
6 ° NERO JOVE, CUM CUSTODE.
7 Vespasianus, Imperator.
8 ° Julius Augustus, Imperator.
9 ° Gordianus Pius, Imperator.
10 "a small medal representing on one side an elephant, and below the word Caesar; and on the other side a victim of an axe and other instruments of sacrifice. It seems that Caesar struck this medal when he was still only an Augure and Pontiff'.
Delmas also mentioned several medals of the Sarrasins, with figures or letters, but with certain characters. He also speaks of some Spanish medals:
I' CESAR AUGUSTUS, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, IN MEDIO SENATUS.
2 Divus Augustus pater patriae, cum aquila volante, globo insidente.
3 IMP. DIVI FILII, CUM CAPITIBUS AUGUSTI ET AGRIPAE CORONATI. Corona rostrata cum crocodilo catena ligato ad palmam, corona, et vexilla colonia nemantina. They found much of the genre, as well as another, Cum navi and corona.
4 AUGUSTUS PATER PATRIAE, EX ALTERA PARTE TEMPLUM PROVIDENTIAE.
5 °CESAR AUGUSTUS, ARCUS TRIUMPHALIS CUM DUABUS VICTORIIS.
6 TIBERIUS, CUM AREU TRIUMPHALI.
7 ° T. Claudius Caesar Augustus. Gaius Caesar, cum Vesta.
9 ° Claudius, cum Pallade.
10 ° NERO, CUM VICTORIA ALATA, MUNDUM SUSTENTANS.
11 DOMITIANUS AUGUSTUS, CUM SPE.
12 IMP.DIOCLETIANUS, CONSERVATOR JOVI, DEXTERA HASTAM, SINISTRA FULMEN.
13 ° the same, cum genio populi Romani.
14 ° FAUSTINA AUGUSTA, CUM DEO SALUTIS SEDENTI DEXTERA.
15 ° Justina Augusta Julia Antonia.
16 ° Claudius, cum Pallade.
17 ° GORDIANUS PIUS.
18 ° GRATIANUS, CUM VICTORIA CAPTIVA SUSTENTANS.
19 ° a medal expressing a wish that was to Aesculapius for the health of Augustus, who was ill in Narbonne.
To these medals there are a few others found and which have been returned to the owner of the Bains. Among them the following were able to be deciphered as follows:
Celtiberienne. One with the contre-marque of Augustus Caesar. One of Augustus Caesar with the contre-marque of Tiberius. TRAJANUS, IMPERATOR.MARCUS-AURELIUS, IMPERATOR.A.SEVERUS, IMPERATOR.
These medals, we see, represent a fairly extended period. Thus, some are consular; but the most numerous are those of the Imperial times and offer images of a long succession of emperors: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Gaius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian and Domitian, Trajan, Adrien, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Alexandre Severus, Valerien, Constantin, Commode, Gordian, Gallien, Diocletian, Maximin, etc.
By their large number, by the variety of types, these medals indicate a considerable town at the time of the first Caesars, and which remained in use until the fall of the Roman empire, in possession of commerce and a rich population.
We note, moreover, that these medals are not all Roman; that amongst them were some of Celtic origin or celtiberienne, demonstrating that these sources were apparent before the arrival of the Romans. The place itself was inhabited and had some trade with the neighbouring peoples.
Another discovery of a date more recent by M. Louis Pech de Narbonne, who found & witnessed, in 1841, on the left bank of the Sals river, the location of a Roman House pulverized and crushed by a huge chunk of rock detached from the mountain. Found there, he said, among ash, coal, bricks, crushed glass, the bones of rabbits and poultry, scales of oysters from the Mediterranean, a large number of ancient factory nails, a fragment of thick greenish glass similar to those which have been found at the excavations of Pompeii. M. L. Pech does not fix the exact spot where he acknowledged these different objects; but it can be assumed that they were, on the left bank of the river, where the debris of the temple referred to above was found. Another relic, dating back probably to the same time near the source of the Pont, in the river, on the rocks awash that form the bed. It consisted of a series of holes, approximately 40 centimetres wide, carved in stone, with a depth that can vary, depending on the degree of wear, from 20 to 50 centimetres. There are more than twenty visible out of the water; they are regularly aligned in two rows of about 2 meters, and offering a direction somewhat oblique compared to water. He has no clue, moreover, on the origin of these holes, which appear to have been used to fix the pilings of a double high dam at this point, probably as a driving force used in some industry of the time. But what kind of industry required this kind of water power and needed this applied force? This is what we know.
Another discovery is that of two beautiful wheels in bronze, in five spokes, and which were found in the village of Fa, 1 kilometer and a half to the West of Espéraza.
These wheels, towards the middle of the last century, were found by a ploughman and given to a lumber merchant of Espéraza, who kept them six years, and sold them for 60 pounds to M. de Saint-Amand. He refused to sell them to Pope Benedict XIV, who had made a proposal to buy them, and at his death, they were acquired by the Toulouse Academy and later given to the Museum of this city, where you can see them. These wheels are the rarest of their kind. We know, in fact, of only two other similar wheels: one is in the Vatican, the other at the Berlin Museum. Only the Museum of Toulouse has two both together.
Fifty years after this discovery, we collected in the same field, a 'bout d'accoudoir' representing a Horseman being attacked by a lioness, then in another place not designated, a cart-pole, we also found bronze objects which seem to have belonged to the same chariot. They are also found in the Museum of Toulouse.
It would now be appropriate to determine what the name of this spa town was, which has been left with today the name of Rennes and within it's vicinity its features from its past. But there is, on this point, no indication. It seems beyond doubt, however, that this city of Gallic origin, was the primitive Rcdda, whose name was attributed later to the oppidum built by the Visigoths on the nearby mountain (Rennes-le-Château), and which became then the name of Reddesium, given to all of the surrounding country.
THE BATHS OF RENNES UNDER THE ROMANS.
Written documents from antiquity give no information on the thermal establishment built by the Romans in Redda. The only remains that have been discovered exist on the current replacement of the Bains de la Reine, and these have disappeared in recent years, as a result of the work required for the construction of the towns modern redevelopment. It is unknown if the springs that feed the Bain-Fort and the Bains Doux were also used by the Romans; but the absence around these two sources, of every vestige of thermes dating from the Roman era, can conclude on this point negatively and suggest that the establishment of the Bains de la Reine as that only dating from those times. This would suggest that, contrary to what takes place today, this source was the largest of the three, and that neither Bain-Fort, nor the Bains-Doux, have not always had, to the point of view of the amount of water supplied, the superiority that they currently offer.
We also have a very imperfect idea of what originally this thermal Bains de la Reine looked like. The oldest document which mentions it is the memoir previously cited [by Monsieur Delmas], in which the author said that one could see, in the Fontaine de la Reine, the remains of a building resembling the baths found in ruins in Rome. In another submission, also in manuscript form, Mr. Sage, read [in 1746] at the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse [and later quoted by Mr. Du Mège, former member of the Academy], from a letter of M. de Fleury, [owner of the baths] the following:
"Everyone knows that the Roman baths were composed of several rooms, in which the water was lead via lead channels. Also distinguished at the source de la Reine, were the marks of the small rooms that probably formed apartments. Traces of the lead channels have also been found. On view again, from time to time, are small pieces of marble arranged in a mosaic and complete with inlaid stones fused with a strong cement. There are also sometimes large parts of white and black marble, and it is these which unfailingly carried [?here], because it is of similar [?marble] in the quarries of the country; large pieces of bricks, about a foot long and four finger thick, with a sort of hook on one end, somewhat similar to these flat hook tiles which covered our dovecotes. Also discovered are other species of round stones of eight-inch in circumference, which easily split into four equal portions, and we think that they were used to make compartments. There are several species of shells inlaid on walls, pretty much like we do for our gardens for the construction of the caves. Later, Julia Fontenelle (from the same mémoire cited above), reported that in the year VII (1799), when making repairs, there was found, in the same place, a barrel-vaulted stone, collapsed on a pool of 16 feet long by 12 wide." The background was a basin - paved in white marble, a very hard black shale and beautifully polished blades adorned the edges around the basin. A part of this basin was demolished when the new work began, in the early years of the century, to rebuild the establishment; the other has remained covered with Earth. A wall along the river, and apparently supporting this basin, was still visible about 30 years ago. It has disappeared to make room for recent constructions of the modern and actual establishment of the baths. At the same time you could see again, to 15 metres above the baths (which were roughly at the level of the river), almost at the level of the current road, and a few metres north of the Hotel of the Reine, a kind of pool with a length of 6 m, 3. It was not easy to determine the width of the road which then descended to the baths through the basin throughout its length, and a part which was being covered by a large amount of land. The walls of this pool were built on the rock, with a cement made of lime, crushed brick and clinker. Their height was 1 metre 6, their thickness of 6 centimeters. Finally, we could see the remains of a duct that was used to raise water and carry it to the pool. This construction, which also seemed to date from Roman times, is nearly all completely gone. It was destroyed by the trace of the path which, starting beyond facade of the Hotel de la Reine, down to the river and leads to the baths on the side of the Buvette. So nothing more remains today of the thermal springs in this high place loved by the Romans. Everyone of us regret deeply what the former owners of the Bains have overlooked while they built the new baths, and that they did not retain a portion of these ancient constructions, to leave at least something likely to recall the memory of the ancient building.
Rennes-les-Bains from the Romans up to the current time
After the Roman period, there followed a long series of invasions, war and devastation, which sowed the desolation and ruin of the village, and probably brought the destruction of institutions founded by the Romans, possibly under the influence of the spirit of the reaction which is long against the habits and the foundations of the conquerors of Gaul. The baths of Redda and it's fame died, and the long night of the middle ages, in the middle of which vanished so many antique memories. At that time, spas, in general, lost their significance, and not attended very much. The annals of time cease to mention, and in particular nothing is designated in any historical document. However, it was never abandoned, as indicated by the discovery, first, of a relatively large number of currencies of the middle age's - found repeatedly in antique medals and then a spur in iron, with a rosette in spikes of ten lines of length four in thickness at the base, which appears to date from the time of the Valois. This last object remained in the possession of the Fleury family.
The first author in which the existence of this station is recalled is Catel, who mentions it under the name of Bains de Regnes, adding that these baths should be seen as the first in the country due to its antiquity, that old inscriptions and urns found there, are witness enough that they were frequented by the ancients. While recognizing that these baths were once little known and little frequented, Catel pointed out that people continue to now use the baths. At a time closer to us, we learn more on Rennes by recalling the information provided by the submissions of Delmas and Sage, especially on the memories of the Roman occupation, and finally the book of Genssane, who first gave us a somewhat complete description of the Rennes thermal establishment and indicates the existence of its three baths, attended all of his time. Genssane, at the same time, traces a picture of the state of inertia and deep misery in which was then current, that is to say a century ago, where the entire population of this territory depended of the diocese of Alet. The great part of the diocese, he said, is of rocks and steep mountains, and apart from some forges, there was little or no industry. There was no road, and that of Alet to Quillan was not even finished. There is not a single path or road of communication, and you can only move from one place to another by species of very steep trails, which make any travel, if not impossible, at least highly difficult. Eventually, adds our author, populations collapse under the weight of overwhelming poverty and there are no other jobs accept working with crops, with some fruit and the manufacture of wine forms the only major part of industry here. In sum, throughout this region it is a poor country, inhabited by a people dying of hunger.
In the presence of this state of misery, the consequence of long centuries of suffering that have weighed on the region, and has not in the least been helped by the thermes at Rennes, Genssane suggests recommendations on ways to remove the population from this state of degradation. But the improvements have been slow to occur, and the region must wait for the modern era to see a real change in their situation.
In the early years of the century, this change was barely felt. The vicinity of Rennes, in 1803, said Labouisse-Rochefort, provided sterile sites, the mountains of red, black, grey, white. It was missing green mountains, that is to say mountains covered with greenery. Nowhere did there exist topsoil, a soil that only offered the growth of a few rare crops on stony fragments.The village of Rennes-les-Bains was at this time constructed exclusively by the villagers living on the right bank of the Sals, separated from the Bain-Fort - the narrow street, rugged, traced on the rock, which still exists. The left bank is not inhabited. It was only a high embankment which came down from the plateau of Escatades, i.e. the actual park, up to the level of the River, and at the bottom of which was - in its current location, the Bains de la Reine. Bain-Doux was, relatively, far from the village, and one could not get there accept by a small path on the slope of the Escatades, and in which, at the time of rains - had torrents of water from the mountain, which converted any road into a real torrent and gushing 'river', and this made any journey impossible. The external lines of communication were in relation to the rest. Thus, as we learn from Julia Fontenelle, who was in Rennes at the same time describes the state of the road of Alet to Rennes which did not allow travel by car. People had to make the journey from Limoux or Alet, on horses or mules intended for this use. The route followed a narrow path seen to follow the slope of the mountain, at the foot of the Cardou, on the right bank of the Sals, approaching Rennes, and the mountain plateau of Bac-de-la-Barrière, which dominates the village to the North, and from there down in front of the Hotel de la Reine, to continue by the street of the old village. This path, starting from Couiza, continued beyond Rennes up to Bugarach and formed the main route of communication between these communities.
Since then the situation has changed. The general appearance of the country is amended by the introduction of new cultures, by plantations of vines especially. In the village constructions began on the left bank of the river. The first was the Tiffau (current Hotel Sarnigue) House, which dates from the beginning of the century. Other houses have been built little by little, and have grown dramatically and have - on this bank became the main part of the village. This was especially after the establishment of the road which was completed only in 1831, these buildings proliferated and give to the village its new look today. At the same time, cars, which previously went up to Limoux or Alet, could now reach Couiza (1834), and by the main road of Foix in Narbonne which had just been completed, and then by the new road branching to the Clapiers, could then extend up to Rennes. Much later, in 1868, the road to Rennes to Bugarach was built, replacing the trails and roads through which it previously went to this village.
Therefore, Rennes, successively converted, could become a habitable spa, accessible to all bathers, whatever is their state of disease, and provided with all necessary resources to offer a stay - very pleasant for people of various classes of society who go there every year in greater numbers.
But the main areas of improvements are those with which the bathing establishments were subject. These are hardly new, one can say, that from the beginning of the century, what existed before can hardly be used to attest to what degree of decadence had befallen the opulent spa resort of ancient Redda.Thus, Carrere, in a relatively recent book, in relation to the Rennes of his time, said there existed three sources [of water] and four baths, described as follows:
The Source de la Reine, at five hundred feet from the village, on the left bank opposite the stream and fed by a pool called the bains de la Reine;
the Source du Bain-Doux, fifty paces from the preceding, six and a half feet over the river and providing water for two large basins called Bain-Doux;
the Source du Bain-Fort, in the restaurant of the village and which emptied in to a pool called Bain-Fort.
Indeed, at this time, this was essentially the primitive state of the thermal baths. They were made by simple basins or swimming pools, where persons of both sexes, irrespective of the nature of their diseases, bathed in common, and where no provision was made for the convenience or the approval of the bathers. This imperfect system, contrary to the laws of cleanliness and hygiene, together with due care to the sick, was a general statement, at least in France, where the use of separate cabinets, with bathtubs, was still relatively unknown. Also Genssane, who was visiting the Rennes institutions about this time, wondered if it could not, in this place, as in the other French resorts, imitate what existed in Aix-la-Chapelle, i.e.to have the baths separate for one person and to receive the water by separate fixtures.
The Bains de la Reine, the oldest of the three institutions as proved by the Roman remains of baths that were seen - Genssane said, there was a simple basin of 2 feet and with a length 8 feet wide, and surrounding this a poor wooden hut or shack that did not offer the slightest convenience. This coarse facility began to be improved towards the end of the century, in the year saw (1799), a time in which the owner covered the shack, to prevent heat loss, and the bath in which flows the source, and the owner also built the first bathroom's of the thermes.These cabinets/rooms then numbered six, including three double bathtubs. Water there was distributed through nine pipes, one for each bath. Finally the owner establishes the first bar/cafe which still exists. The establishment, including the baths, was a small low building, not exceeding the level of the grand salon of the hotel. In 1858, it was rebuilt with eight bathroom's as there are still. This gave rise to considerable work for access to the water and laying, on a rock, the solid foundations, whereby it became possible, a little later, to build the large Hotel de la Reine, open since 1871.
At the time which began the restoration of the Bains de la Reine - there was a small track coming from the Bains-Doux, passing on the left bank of the Sals, and descending by a steep rock towards the River, which then followed to the edge to the Bains. This path was later transformed into a walk planted with trees, via the lower alley today leading to the establishment on the side of the bar/cafe, and is reached by wide walkways gently sloping down, lined with trees and shrubs, offering in their contours the graceful variety of an English garden. Finally, to open a new walk to bathers, it was very fortunately available the small forest of the Escatades which was above the road of the Bain-Doux to the Parc, whose multiple and shaded walkways are open to all the walkers of the thermes station.
The Bain-Doux which, until the first years of the present century, was the busiest of the three institutions had not then any of the particular cabinet rooms. It consisted of only four pools, whose waters were common and communicated amongst themselves, and in which several people could swim at a time. Space however was divided into two areas, one for men, one for women, and this was separated by a vestibule which opened to the front door. Each quarter, left for men and right for women, consisted of three parts, a small room first to remove clothing, then a pool with an arched ceiling and then the hot pool, hot tub, where arrived directly the thermal source waters, and a third room called a temperate pool, which differed only by a slightly lower temperature resulting from the greater distance that the water had to go to get there. The water coming out of the temperate baths was led in an underground reservoir, where others could bathe for free. It was so until 1819, when construction started on the current building. The first part was raised and shaped into a more elongated body, and ten separate cabinets/rooms were built and opening onto a wide and rather beautiful Gallery. It nevertheless retained the old building with four pools, as well as the lower basin for the poorer classes. It was not that much later, in 1854, when this ancient building disappeared, and, as a consequence of new works, there was built at the square, a semicircular room, following the primitive Gallery, with a series of new baths, there are six, which give current recovery for the service of the sick.
The Bains-Fort was the last established and restored. Later, towards the beginning of the current century, an immersion bath was built: for rheumatic diseases and cerebral palsy, at the same time one began to organise a system, moreover, of various showers.