Today, I’m going to take you to a small town in Auvergne that you don’t necessarily want to visit, but it contains many small heritage gems. I fell in love… these are 5 places Vichy should not miss!
Did you know that although it has a dark page in French history, Vichy is definitely worth a visit? Yes, because of its fascinating legacy!
In the 1920s, it was a resort town that attracted international elites for its social and cultural life and healing springs. In fact, the water collected by Vichy is known for treating joint diseases and digestive system diseases. From this golden past, the city of spa has preserved amazing monuments. Today I will take you to try them. I was on a road trip in Auvergne last summer (The itinerary here), I actually spent a day in Vichy-under the terrible heat wave, the height of a city turned to the water.
Nevertheless, I must tell you that when I told my Frenchman that I planned to stay in Vichy during our trip, he made an interesting expression. Indeed, when you think of the Vichy regime and World War II, the historical connotation of this city will make your back chill… This will not make you shrink, it will be a terrible shame!
This is my favorite place, I definitely recommend you to visit!
What to see in Vichy?This is a necessity for my day in the hot spring town
Practical information: We arrived by car and found the paid parking lot of the day, the Célestins parking lot. This allows us to do everything on foot (even if we are very hot because the mercury temperature is about 40 degrees! Pfiou)
1. Parc des Sources, a little gem
This park extends from Sources to Opera. It is the oldest park in the city and was built in 1812. You can visit Hall des Sources, an amazing glass and cast iron building that has been modernized from the original Art Nouveau style.
This contains 5 sources of “snack”: Celestins, Lucas, Hôpital, Chomel and Grande Grille. At the tap, you can enjoy and taste the water directly! This experience is very… disturbing. The mineral-rich water is drinkable but the taste is very strong.
Nine sources are still being mined in the Vichy Basin. At the end of the 19th century, There are 250 sources.
Surprising and wonderful details, galleries of wrought iron products in 1900 are all over the Parc des Sources and provide shelter from the rain…just like the sun.
2. Pavillon de la source des Célestins
You have to walk some distance to taste another mineral water… The Pavillon de la Source des Célestins has a water source of the same name and is still in use: Vichy Célestins. It gushes from a crack in the rock facing Kennedy Park. In the Art Nouveau style pavilion, the tap once again provides drinking services.
Once again, what an amazing place! You may know mine Art Nouveau weak Ever since I lived in Nancy♡
3. Visit the magnificent Vichy Opera House
do not miss it! Arrange a visit to the Vichy Opera House, its decoration is really worth it. Its incredible glass roof, majestic marquise at the entrance, and rooms with gilded decorations and velvet armchairs are all worth a visit.
The Opera House was inaugurated in 1901, and today this heritage treasure consists of the former Grand Casino and Opera House built at the request of Napoleon III in 1865.
In the 20th century, Vichy held many concerts, even Maurice Béjart’s theater company. But a milestone in its history is dark. From July 9 to 10, 1940, French parliamentarians voted for Marshal Petain’s full constitutional power in his luxurious room. For more than four years, Vichy has been the seat of the French government. The city’s palaces and various hotels and villas were expropriated to accommodate various ministries, state service agencies and diplomatic delegations. Vichy was later occupied by the Germans.
This shadow shrouds the history of the city and is seen through in the video presented in the opera.
4. Vichy Royal Chalet
One of Vichy’s curiosity is its royal cabin. Napoleon III encouraged the development of French spas and then competed with German spas. As a result, Vichy has amazing buildings…like these cabins on the current Etats-Unis Avenue. Their style was inspired by the Swiss chalet in Arunenburg where Napoleon III spent his childhood. According to this article.
The area also brings together other architectural fantasies worth visiting. Don’t hesitate to stroll through the streets around Parc des Sources and look up!
5. Hidden gem: St. Blaise Church
She hides the game very well! Under the concrete shell, St. Blaise’s Church in Old Vichy is a gem of decorative art, richly decorated. View these images instead (On the Vichy Tourist Office website)
As a reward, it’s refreshing to walk on the banks of the Allier River
Finally, if you still have some time, we like to stroll along the banks of the Allier River, where there are various refreshments in summer. You can walk through the wooded park bordering the river.
Interview with Vichy: my feelings and practical advice
I am surprised by the heritage of this city, so I suggest you visit Vichy. It is a pearl. But if not, I have to say she never got me Doesn’t look very dynamicShe seems to be living in the rhythm of spas and spas, and older spa guests undoubtedly have full board in their resort facilities.
For example, it is difficult to get service outside of the meal time at Parc des Sources-even sandwiches, be careful. After 2pm, we did not find a good snack bar. It is also very unpleasant to have a drink at the reception of the most tourist attraction in Parc des Sources (like we had a 2 hour conversation at the table next door, but we ignored you…). Feel ashamed and disappointed in such a beautiful environment! There are still sandwich options in the city center, and we must be determined to do it. If I had to do it again, I would take my picnic to eat in one of the beautiful parks.
In my opinion, on a road trip in Auvergne, one day is enough for you to see Vichy and its treasures for the first time, and… I prefer to Clermont Ferrand, Move with all its restaurants and cafes!
Have you been to Vichy? Do you know that this city has such a legacy? I hope you have aroused your curiosity!