This old façade of the Bains de Chatêaudun, made mainly of ceramic tiles, has been lovingly preserved and renovated, although the bathhouse itself no longer exists because most people now have indoor plumbing at home, so they can bathe or shower whenever they want to without going out to the neighborhood bathhouse.
Somewhere I read that in the eighteenth century the upper classes didn’t believe in bathing, in fact they considered it positively unhealthy. I haven’t been able to find a proper history of bathing and bathhouses (suggestions welcome), but somehow in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries people started to realize that being clean was not a major health hazard, as long as you didn’t overdo it.
The Baths of Chatêaudun are, or were, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris at 66 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, at a bus stop called Carrefour de Chatêaudun, where the bus lines 40 and 72 now stop. (The 72 has always stopped here, but the 40 is a new line that was introduced in April 2019.) The baths and the bus stop are just a short walk from the corner of rue de Chatêaudun.
I used to find the name Chatêaudun rather mysterious, because it looked to me like ‘castle of one’, which didn’t seem likely. Also, I had never heard of any castle, past or present, in the 9th arrondissement.
In earlier centuries, streets in Paris were typically named after saints or battles, and since Chatêaudun did not sound like a plausible name for a saint I started researching battles and soon found one that took place on October 18, 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, at the town of Chatêaudun, some 115 km southwest of Paris.
As for the origin of the name Chatêaudun, it turns out to have been derived from two languages, Latin (castellum, meaning castle) and Gallic (dunos, also meaning castle). So essentially it means castle-castle.
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2021.