Cauterets—which derives from the word for hot springs in the local bigourdan dialect—is a spa resort town set high in the Pyrénées. It has been revered since Roman times for thermal baths thought to cure maladies ranging from back pain to infertility. Novelist Victor Hugo (1802–85) womanized here, and Lady Aurore Dudevant—better known as the writer George Sand (1804–76)—is said to have discovered her feminism here. Other famous visitors include Chateaubriand, Sarah Bernhardt, King Edward VII of England, and Spain's King Alfonso XIII.

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