Rising from the shores of the largest natural glacial lake, the Lac du Bourget, Aix-les-Bains is one of the most important French spa towns, and has the largest fresh water marina in France. It is the second largest Savoy town in terms of population.
Where is Aix-les-Bains?
The town sits on Lake Bourget’s eastern shore and is popular with skiers who flock to Mount Revard which is only around 20 minutes away from Aix-les-Bains.
Of international renown, Aix-les-Bains was for many years a place of vacation for princely families and wealthy people; today it draws in tourists for its setting between lake and mountain, its thermal baths and its Rock Musilac festival.
Essentially a spa town until the mid-20th century, Aix-les-Bains has gradually transformed its local economy and is no longer dependant on the thermal baths which are less frequently used than before.
Things to do in Aix-les-Bains
The Casino Grand-Cercle is located in Aix-les-Bains, and constitutes a major architectural complex in Savoy, in the same way as the casino of Évian. The casino was opened in 1850 by the King Victor-Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy.
The Château of the Rock of the King is a 20th-century chateau. It is located on the heights of Aix-les-Bains, built on a hillside, the chateau dominates much of the town.
The Faure Museum is based on works originally from a private collection, that of Dr. Jean Faure (1862-1942). They were bequeathed to the city and kept, in a villa built in 1902, since 1949.
The town is dotted with numerous historic buildings as well as other buildings of character. Of the Gallo-Roman era, there is the Arc funéraire romain de Campanus [Roman funerary Arch of Campanus], erected by the patrician of Gallia Narbonensis, Lucius Pompeius Campanus, honouring the dead of his family.
If you’re a winter sports enthusiast the town is a perfect base from which to enjoy the the Aix-les-Bains valley – the largest nordic skiing area in France.
There are over 150 miles of trails for Nordic skiers and at other times of year countless miles of trails suitable for hikers and walkers.
The food of Aix-les-Bains
The cuisine of Aix-les-Bains is typically that of Savoie, based on products of the mountain meadows, essentially the Bauges.
In addition to its famous fondue, there is the pleasing main course of potato doughnuts, and also crozets, péla, tartiflette, diots, polenta and rioutes.
For dessert, there are bugnes, confiture de lait and blueberry pie (tartes aux myrtilles). Aix features Savoy cheeses such as Abondance, Beaufort, the Bleu du Mont-Cenis, Savoy Emmental, Savoy Gruyère, Persillé des Aravis, Reblochon, Abbaye de Tamié, Tomme de Savoie and many others.