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Bagnères-de-Luchon, also referred to as Luchon, is a spa town and a commune in the Haute-Garonnemarker department in south-western Francemarker.

Geography

Bagnères-de-Luchon is located 87 m. S.S.W. of Toulousemarker, at the end of a branch line of the Southern railway from Montréjeaumarker. The town is situated at the foot of the central Pyreneesmarker in a beautiful valley at the confluence of the One and the Pique.

Thermal springs

Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated for its thermal springs. The springs, which number forty eight, vary in composition, but are chiefly impregnated with sodium sulfate, and range in temperature from 62 to 150 Fahrenheit. The discovery of numerous Roman remains attests the antiquity of the baths, which are identified with the Onesiorum Thermae of Strabo. Their revival in modern times dates from the latter half of the 18th century, and was due to Antoine Mégret d'Etigny, intendant of Auchmarker.

Within the town today (2006), a more modern entrance to the baths sits alongside the older buildings. The bathing experience consists of repeated spells within a hot, sulphurous atmosphere in caves that run approximately 100 metres inside the Superbagnères mountain, and in a cool swimming pool within the entrance building. It was these sulphur springs that led to a twinning of the settlement with Harrogatemarker in 1952.

A 1914 map of Luchon


Sights

Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated as a fashionable resort. Of the promenades, the finest and most frequented are the Allées d'Étigny, an avenue planted with lime-trees, at the southern extremity of which is the Thermes, or hot baths. The road is lined with bars and restaurants.

Sports

Superbagnèresmarker, located on the territory of the commune, to the south-west of the town, is a ski resort. Historically it was connected to the town by a railway, and it was the 2nd resort in France to install a lift, but today it is connected with a gondola lift. Each cabin holds up to four people and takes about ten minutes to reach the summit, running in the summer as well as the winter. It's not possible to ski back down to Luchon, except in times of exceptional snow for talented locals who know the woods.

Luchon from the ski cabin
Ski slopes in the summer
Superbagneres Chapel


Cycling is a popular sport in the region in the summer. The climbs of Superbagnères, Col de Peyresourdemarker, Port de Balèsmarker, Col de Mentémarker, Col du Portillon and the Col de Portet d'Aspetmarker are all nearby.

The Tour de France route often passes through Luchon, due to its location deep between two cols. List of stage winners and stage starts in Luchon:

  1. 1910 - Lapize
  2. 1911 - Duboc
  3. 1912 - Defraye
  4. 1913 - Thys
  5. 1914 - Lambot (July 8) - Stage start from Luchon on July 10
  6. 1919 - Barthélémy
  7. 1920 - Lambot
  8. 1921 - Heusghem
  9. 1922 - Alavoine
  10. 1923 - Alavoine
  11. 1924 - Bottecchia
  12. 1925 - Benoit
  13. 1926 - L. Buysse
  14. 1927 - Frantz
  15. 1928 - Fontan
  16. 1929 - Cardona
  17. 1930 - Binda
  18. 1931 - A. Magne
  19. 1932 - Pesenti
  20. 1933 - Louyet
  21. 1934 - Vignoli
  22. 1935 - S. Maes
  23. 1936 - Ducazeaux
  24. 1937 - Meulenberg
  25. 1938 - F. Vervaecke
  26. 1947 - Bourlon
  27. 1949 - Robic
  28. 1951 - Koblet
  29. 1953 - Robic
  30. 1954 - Bauvin
  31. 1956 - Schmitz
  32. 1958 - Bahamontès
  33. 1960 - Gimmi
  34. 1961 - Stage start, after arrival at Superbagnères
  35. 1962 - Stage start, after arrival at Superbagnères
  36. 1963 - Ignolin
  37. 1964 - Poulidor
  38. 1966 - Mugnaini
  39. 1967 - Manzanèque
  40. 1969 - Delisle
  41. 1971 - Fuente
  42. 1972 - Merckx
  43. 1973 - Ocaña
  44. 1979 - Bittinger
  45. 1980 - Martin
  46. 1983 - Millar
  47. 1989 - Stage start (July 12), after arrival at Superbagnères (July 11)
  48. 1997 - Stage start
  49. 1998 - Massi
  50. 2006 - Stage start (July 14, Bastille Day)


In Superbagnèresmarker:

  1. 1961 - Massignan
  2. 1962 - Bahamontès
  3. 1971 - Fuente
  4. 1979 - Hinault
  5. 1986 - LeMond
  6. 1989 - Millar (July 11)


In addition to the Tour, the pro series race "The Route du Sud" is also partenered with Luchon, with a stage finish in Superbagneres in 2008 and Luchon in 2009.

Luchon is also a mountain biking destination. Its position at the confluence of two valleys gives a wide variety of routes up into the mountains - although most of them start with a large climb (although the gondola can carry mountain bikes). There is one mountain biking guiding organisation based in Luchon itself, and another further down the valley. (See external links).

Luchon also offers a golf course, tandem paragliding (from Superbagnères), tennis courts, and an airfield with gliding.

Luchon has a nine hole golf course close to the town centre. It dates to the early 1900s making it one of the oldest golf courses in the department. In 2008 the "Club de Golf Luchon" celibrated its 100 year anniversary.

Image:luchongolf1.jpg|9th green, Luchon golfImage:luchongolf2.jpg|Driving range from 7th fairway, Luchon golfImage:luchongolf3.jpg|View from the ski lift, Luchon golf

Famous people born in Luchon



Points of interest



Sister cities

Luchon is a sister city of the following cities around the world.



External links and references




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