In a few words and images, discover the major stages that write the history of Digne-les-Bains thermal water, from antiquity to the present day.

Back to basics

In 1991,, an urgent rescue excavation carried out on the site of the former casino and its parking lot, allows us to update a Gallo-Roman house with peristyle arranged around an interior courtyard. After studying the remains, archaeologists believe that it was a “residential hostelry” which operated during the 2nd century AD, but whose foundations date back to the beginning of our era.
This type of construction is frequently found near monumental buildings, such as theaters, temples and thermal baths, the remains attest to the presence nearby of the first thermal baths of ancient Dinia, and therefore the use of water from hot thermal springs.

History of the thermal baths

Water to heal

If during Antiquity, thermal baths were places where people came to bathe, meet and exchange ideas, much later, fledgling medicine gradually discovered the curative virtues of thermal waters.

In the 17th century, Pierre Gassendi or Madame de Sévigné praise the waters of Digne “ that it is more important for foreigners to know », like the “crippled soldiers” from the numerous wars of the 17th and 18th centuries who came to Digne for treatment.

In 1940 again, the army decided to set up a temporary hospital at the Hôtel des Thermales, in order to treat the wounded from another war...

Twentieth century

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Digne thermal baths often changed private operators.
But with more modern means of transport, railways and automobiles, we come “ take the waters », breathe the fresh air and rest. The development of the tourist postcard still bears witness to this aspect a century later. water town » what does “Worthy” want to give oneselfthe baths », despite the distance between the thermal baths and the city.

After the treatments and the tavern-style terraces, spa guests of this time can also gather in the Saint-Gilles chapel of the thermal baths, then thank him by hanging very special ex-votos on the walls: canes and crutches, proof of the curative effectiveness of Digne waters!

The 30 years

At the foot of the cliff

Hotel le Richelme

Despite the recurring regret of some who would like the water to be transported to an establishment located in town, the beginning of the 1930s marked a new stage with the construction of a new establishment, directly connected to a new hotel, still at the foot of the cliff of Saint-Pancrace.

History of the thermal baths

The low alpine stage

The advertising reflects a new ambition to attract spa guests from further afield, taking advantage of the reputation of the roads passing through Digne. In particular the Napoleon road, very frequented by a wealthy clientele who cross the Alps to reach the Côte d’Azur.

The post-war years

In the 1950s and 1960s, the municipal casino of the thermal baths, located beyond the hotel, was a place of entertainment appreciated by spa guests but also by Dignois, because it hosted shows, concerts and balls. Moreover, many Dignois meet there on Sunday afternoons to get drunk!

Here in 1960, the Joyeux Boys orchestra, made up of local, amateur but passionate musicians.

Abandoned in the following decades, it was demolished in 1990. After archaeological excavations carried out in 1991, its location became a parking lot.

New start

1982, new establishment

In 1975, after many years of discussions, the municipality concluded an agreement with the Société Thermale, a private operator, in order to take over direct management of the thermal baths.
To do this, a municipal thermal authority was created in 1979 and the town had a new thermal establishment built, opened in 1982. The one that we still know, even if it has of course been redeveloped and modernized 40 years ago.

It’s time for communication, thanks to a logo: a stylized fountain, sometimes ironically called “the jellyfish”; and the promotion of hydrotherapy among children, for the ENT-respiratory tract indication.

A decade of voluntarism and massive investments which allowed Digne to take, this time officially, the name “Digne-les-Bains” in 1988, and to receive up to 11000 spa guests during the 1990 thermal season.

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