Cradled in a bend in the Allier River, water has long defined the regal spa town of Vichy. During its belle-époque heyday, visitors flocked to sip its reputedly healing waters and plunge into thermal springs. Vichy has kept its reputation as a health retreat, helped along by the internationally known cosmetic brand named for the town, which prides itself on using local mineral water in its products.
Landscaped gardens that date to the 18th and 19th centuries, and art-deco buildings such as the opera and Église St-Blaise enhance the town’s feeling of time-worn glamour. A seam of confectionery shops grew around the industry for the town’s signature sweetie, the pastille de Vichy. So in the midst of a wellness capital, there is plenty of opportunity to snack between meals and double up on desserts – just what the doctor ordered.