Bains de Sylvanes

Abandoned Baths, first established here in the 12th century by Cistercian monks who came from the Abbaye de Sylvanes located about 500m away, the monks built a “Hostellerie des Bains” in the seventeenth century, then during the nineteenth century, came the fertile period of thermal-ism, the establishment will be enlarged and new buildings built. however it will close on the eve of World War II, in 1936.  The water is said to be constantly between 34 and 37°c with traces of iron, bicarbonates and arsenic. it will stay with the abbey until it is sold during the mid 19th century.

In 1948, An association for the children of Aix mountain workers  (l’association familiale des enfants des travailleurs aixois à la montagne – AFETAM) bought the premises, area covering over 7 hectares, and set up a holiday camp (Village de Vacances also called Colonie de Sylvanes). A few years later, the municipality of Berre (Bouches-du-Rhône) provides financial assistance. The site is then managed in condominium, It would have over 150 bedrooms in its day.

From its 1940’s modernisations into the 70’s then 80’s up until finally its closure, hundreds of children enjoyed happy holidays here, the site finally being abandoned sometime in the mid 1990’s possibly due to flood damage, it seems to have been flooded out at various times as the floors and walls even now were still covered with mud? it was said to have been reworked on as from 2008. Afew of the exterior buildings that feature on old postcards are now completely in a ruinous state with no roofs and ivy covering what’s left of walls that have been long since left to the elements.

“the raw materials are there: a spring water that is to be drunk and bath water at 37°, reddish from iron. In addition, recent studies have shown that this water contains lithium, a metal commonly used in the treatment of manic-depressive psychosis. To fight stress, choose Sylvanès!”

Plans were put forward in 2008 for the site to be converted into a 1500m2 thermal centre, with a three star hotel with 23 bedrooms and a 350m2 restaurant along with 120 Villas and Apartments at a estimated cost of €27m but does not seem to have happened yet.