With its long history, spas, amazing architecture, parks and artificial lakes on the Allier, Vichy is really worth your visit.
The Romans discovered it centuries before Napoleon III and the monks founded a monastery there in 1410. But it was Napoleon III who was the main force behind the transformation of Vichy into one of Europe’s most prestigious spas.
Vichy today offers countless buildings from the period of the Second Empire, and later the Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
The regular stays of Emperor Napoleon III in Vichy (from 1861) made him decide to further develop the city. The most prestigious buildings of that time are located on the United States Boulevard.
The Napoleon III Park was embellished in 1861 and 1862. The Saint-Louis church (on Paul-Doumerlaan) was built in 1864 at the request of the emperor in Romance-Burgundian style.
In 1881 Dr. Lejeune built a care institution (16 avenue Thermale) with a neo-baroque facade. The hall of the Célestins spring dates from 1908 (stucco, stone and wood). The spring hall (made of iron and wood) was built in 1902: the thermal springs enter this building.
The thermal center of Les Dômes (nowadays the Baths of Dômes), located near the Palais des Sources, was built between 1899 and 1903 in sandstone. The 170-meter-long Moorish-style building extends over three hectares of land.
Apart from the thermal baths, Vichy is known for its role during the Second World War. With the June 1940 debacle, the French government moved to Vichy. On July 9 and 10, 1940, the parliamentarians in the city’s opera house voted for the full constitutional powers of Marshal Pétain. From that date, Vichy was the seat of the French government for more than four years. Marshal Pétain settles in the Hôtel du Parc and in the summer in the Pavillon Sévigné where the Council of Ministers is held.
After the war, the 1950s and 1960s were the most prosperous period for Vichy. Since then, the city has received the title “Queen of the Water Cities”.
The virtues of the thermal water of Vichy were already known at the time of the Tene (from 450 BC to 25 BC). The Romans cherished it further.
The six main water sources are: Chomel source (43 ° C), Grande Grille source (39 ° C), Hospital source gushes out (34 ° C), Lucas source (27 ° C), Park source (23.8 ° C), Celestine source (22 ° C).
Vichy Opera House
The opera, inaugurated in 1902, was the work of various architects, including Charles Le Cœur. The listed monument is beautifully decorated and is a unique testimony to the “Art Nouveau” era. The room can accommodate more than 1,450 spectators. Vichy was declared “summer capital of music” from 1901 to 1964.
Vichy offers five museums:
- Museum of African and Asian art;
- François-Boucheix Surrealistic Museum, an exhibition of works by François Boucheix;
- Vichy City Museum;
- Opera Museum: preserves and improves the archives of the Vichy Opera;
- Valery-Larbaud Museum, where the works of the writer Valery Larbaud are exhibited.
More information on: www.vichy-destinations.fr