Vichy travel guide

Cities and towns

About Vichy

Vichy in Auvergne is a popular spa resort town that experienced its heyday during the Belle Epoque. 

Built in an area that experienced large amounts of volcanic activity in the past, Vichy is home to thermal spas whose supposedly healing waters have gained it a reputation as a place for hydrotherapy. Though the spas were known before the18th century, it was under Louis XVI's rule that the spas underwent improvements to become the luxurious baths that attracted the rich during France's 'golden age' of the Belle Epoque during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vichy has several different water sources, some warm and some cold, with the source des Celestins the best known and whose waters you can drink from fountains in the Hall des Sources. Located in the remains of a convent, the naturally carbonated waters of the source des Celestins emerge at 22°C and are said to have health benefits when ingested. Water from Vichy's sources are used in hydrotherapy treatments in several spas in the town.

Take in some culture with a visit to the Opéra de Vichy with seasons in the summer and winter and visit the museum of the Vichy opera containg old posters, programmes, costumes and photographs. There is also a Vichy municipal museum where you can journey through Vichy's history and art history with rooms devoted to archaeology and collections of art including paintings and sculpture, and a museum of African and Asian art, La Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Asie.Take time to admire the wonderful 19th and 20th century villas and hôtels which were once taken over by the Vichy France regime during WW2. If you'd like to explore Vichy without all the walking then why not take the little tourist train? Vichy also has some wonderful parks and gardens including the parc Napoleon III full of lush greenery. The city hosts several festivals throughout the year with vintage car rallies, fireworks displays and Les Jeudis de Vichy (Thursday from Vichy) where an art market, shows and workshops are put on for children every Thursday from mid-July to mid-August.

Vichy is great for shopping with over 500 shops in the heart of town that are open 7 days a week including boutiques, jewellers, antiques dealers and bookshops. The town also has a shopping centre and a Grande Marché filled with 65 local farmers' stalls where you will find some great fresh produce. Famous for Vichy pastilles, little white octagonal sweets that are said to aid digestion, Vichy is also a great place to pick up some of Auvergne's local cheeses. Go out for a gourmet meal at one of Vichy's Michelin star restaurants but don't expect to be served vichyssoise soup as a local speciality as it was created by a French chef in America and named after the town!

Why visit Vichy?

  • Source des Celestins
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Opéra de Vichy
  • Festivals 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Auvergne
  • Department: Allier
  • Population: 25,000
  • Coordinates: 46.132445,3.425625

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

Famous since the Roman times, Vichy waters are renowned for their therapeutic benefits. In the 18th century luxurious baths were built to replace those in existence by Louis XVI and the benefits of taking the waters in Vichy...

Inaugurated in 1902, the Vichy Opera House is a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture. Holding performances of opera, theatre, classical music, ballet and dance, you can enjoy a show in the beautiful surroundings of...

Set in the barns of the former monastery, the Museum of Souvigny has a permanent collection dedicated to the archaeological, religious and ethnological heritage of the surrounding area.

A pretty, late 19th century mansion, the Maison Mantin now holds a museum with collections of art, archaeology and natural history. Closed for almost a century, it re-opened its doors to the public in November 2010.

Places to visit nearby

Moulins in Auvergne is the former head of the duchy of Bourbon and has a well-preserved cultural heritage.

Aubusson in Limousin is famous worldwide for its tapestries that have been made here since the 14th century.

Mâcon in Burgundy is a beautiful city surrounded by vineyards and châteaux.