My August mini-break takes us to Vichy, the famous thermal resort in the centre of France.
The town of Vichy is situated in the department of Allier to the north of the Massif Central volcanic mountain range and excavations show that its thermal origins date back to 52 BC! The Gallo-Romans were the first population to discover the therapeutic virtues of the spring and in the 1st and 2nd centuries Vichy already thrived on its thermal economy and vestiges of a thermal establishment were discovered on the site of the present Parc des Sources.
The end of the Gallo-Roman occupation put an end to any thermal activity and it was not until 1605 that King Henri IV classified Vichy’s thermal water baths and springs and revived the tradition. In 1630 a modest pavilion “La Maison du Roy” was erected with two pools for treatments and it was also recommended not only to drink the water but to shower in it and follow a special diet.
After this period, Vichy’s thermal activity steadily evolved. In 1676, the Marquise de Sevigné, famous for her correspondence, claimed that the waters cured paralysis in her hands enabling her to write again. In 1885, King Louis XV’s two daughters Adelaide and Victoire visited Vichy but the simplicity and muddiness of the resort disappointed them. On returning to Versailles they persuaded their uncle Louis XVI to commission a grander establishment and the architect Janson created a gallery to connect two of the spas with an adjacent building to house baths, showers and reception rooms.
During the French revolution the aristocratic clientele abandoned the resort until 1799 when Bonaparte’s mother Letizia visited with her son Louis.
The second empire saw many changes and during this period Napoléon III took the waters in Vichy 5 times and under his guardianship the town underwent a significant transformation.
Of course during la Belle Epoque Vichy flourished and the Parc des Sources was surrounded by a covered, 700 meters long wrought irons walkway in pure Art Nouveau style and in 1903 the grand “Etablissement des Thermes” was inaugurated with its byzantine cupola.
In 1900 alone Vichy counted more than 40 000 curists and on the eve of the 1st World War, it claimed near on 100 000!!
Today, Vichy Celestins mineral water is renowned worldwide. It can be found in over 40 countries and 40 million bottles are sold each year.
The virtues of Vichy Célestins are numerous but for all you “beautyistas” that follow our blog it is particularly appreciated for its capacity to purify and hydrate the skin thanks to the high quantity of minerals that it contains. In an independent study made by a cosmetic laboratory is has been proven that it increases the skins natural hydration by 7%.
Drinking Vichy Célestins really does contribute to a clearer, brighter, radiant complexion hence the famous tagline “Le Teint Célestin” or the “Celestial Complexion”.
It is recommended to drink at least 1.5 litres a day accompanied by a healthy diet and regular exercise.