The commune and spa town of Bagnères-de-Luchon is situated in the picturesque valleys and hills of southwestern France. Nestled close to the Spanish border, the town sits among the foothills of the French Pyrenees and is renowned for its thermal springs. For centuries, especially in the Victorian period, attracted people in poor health looking to convalesce in a scenic setting. One can easily imagine bourgeois visitors coming to Luchon to bask in therapeutic waters, perhaps as they cough discretely into a bloodstained lace handkerchief.
Today, Luchon’s tourists enjoy the benefits of the waters sans illnesses. Modern upgrades to the Thermes buildings demonstrate that Luchon’s restorative springs remain as popular as ever with visitors.
The local architecture is a curious mix of Belle Epoque grandeur and Tyrolean ski resort, unsurprising, given that the town also caters to skiers and snowboarders who venture into the snow-capped mountains every winter. The town remains a beautiful spot to enjoy a coffee at a boulevard cafe while admiring the majestic mountain range that dominates the town’s skyline.
These breathtaking peaks also captivated the writer, poet, and playwright Edmond Rostand who spent many summers enjoying the unique pleasures of Luchon while residing at Villa Julia, a holiday home built by the Rostand family. Here, Edmond composed love letters and wrote his most famous literary work, Cyrano De Bergerac.
A commemorative bust was erected in 1922, four years after Rostand’s death at the age of 50. The statue features his curly mustache and an unmistakable creative air as the statue looks wistfully into the middle distance seeking inspiration. Appropriately the bust sits where his effigy can view the mountains, the river Pique, and Villa Julia.
It’s a discrete but fitting tribute to a man known as France’s National Poet who gave the world one of its most famous literary characters and who found vast reserves of inspiration in the splendor of the Pyrenees and the charming spa town of Luchon.
Know Before You Go
The bust of Edmond Rostand is located in Casino Park near Villa Julia.