© stéphane Balanger — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 4.0, 

04 September 2023  |  Pure France

Vichy, a city in the heart of nature

Vichy is a small town that can easily be explored on foot. Less than 550 hectares, it runs in all directions with many routes in the parks or the pedestrian shopping area. Very pleasant and welcoming, discover what the city of Vichy has to offer.

Circuit the "12 essentials" to visit Vichy

Vichy is one of the ten other spa towns to have joined the UNESCO World Heritage List under the name of "Great Spa Towns of Europe". 1) The Palais des Congrés-Opéra. Built in 1865, at the request of Napoleon III, with a ballroom, a theatre, games and pleasure lounges.

2) The 4 paths 3) The source hall. Built around the spouting of two springs in 1903, this metal hall brings together the five springs prescribed for drinking cures. 4) The Grand thermal establishment. The large first-class bathing establishment, with its architecture tinged with Orientalism, inaugurated in 1903. 5) The Napoleon III chalets. Private residences of Napoleon III and dignitaries of the Empire during their stays in Vichy. 6) Alquié street. Enfiladed English-style houses to house the Imperial Guard. 7) Boulevard of Russia. Bordered by villages testifying to the architectural electism of Vichy. 9) Belgium Street. Villas of various styles and cultural references. 10) The beaches of Lake Allier 11) The source of the Celestines. Place of emergence of the most famous of the waters of Vichy. 12) La Source Lardy 13) Saint-Blaise and Notre-Dame-des-Malades church: Art Deco style church built in 1925 and 1937 with decor that contrasts with the austerity of the exterior. 14) The bandstand. Built in 1902 testifies to the importance of music in the "Queen of spa towns".

Vichy, a sports city

Vichy is an essential destination for sports lovers, whether professional or amateur.

Quality equipment

  • A 120-hectare sports center unique in Europe

  • A 100-hectare body of water equipped for water sports

  • A state-of-the-art aquatic stadium

  • Two 18-hole golf courses, the spa town is the campus for sporting events.

Vichy is a city with recognized know-how in the organization of high-level training courses (such as the preparation for the Olympic Games for the American swimming team with Michael Phelps, of the Arsenal football team, or of the French basketball team with Tony Parker) and the hosting of major competitions in all sports and disabled sports: Iron Man, Open de France swimming, French Rowing Championship, jet-skiing, boules, canoe-kayak world championship, skydiving.

National and international sports calendars

The World Rowing, Rugby Under 21, Skydiving, Water Skiing Championships, the French Jet Ski, Wake Board or Hot Air Balloon Championships, the French Swimming Open since 2013, the International Masters of Rowing. Since 2015, Vichy has also hosted an Ironman, the only one in France to offer both events: Ironman and Ironman 70.3.

Vichy and its museums

Valery-Larbaud Museum:

On the second floor, the Valéry-Larbaud media library, accessible to the public for free visit all year round during opening hours.

Museum of African and Asian Arts:

Fine Arts, photography, sacred art, ethnography, the Museum's collections come from the civilizations of Asia and Africa, but also from Oceania and America.

François Boucheix Surrealist Museum:

Currently at the surrealist museum, the new exhibition dedicated to the great painters and prestigious musicians who inspire François Boucheix. Open Tuesday to Sunday until September 30.

Vichy Opera Museum:

Created in 2002, thanks to the Noëlle and Gabriel Péronnet Foundation, the Vichy Opera Museum is a unique structure in France which preserves and showcases the archives of the Vichy Opera. It brings together one of the most important collections in Europe: programmes, posters, costumes, decor projects, photographs.

Each year this museum presents a thematic exhibition.

Leisure in Vichy

Parks and gardens:

Célestins and Lardy parks, Bourins park, Napoleon and Kennedy parks, Sources park.

Shops and shopping:

Vichy's large covered market is 6800 m² dedicated to trade and local food crafts, to the promotion of Bourbonnais and Auvergne products, with 65 agricultural producers from around Vichy.

Vichy Opera:

Inaugurated in 1903, the Vichy Opera is the work of architect Charles Le Coeur. A listed monument and unique testimony to the "Art Nouveau" era, it presents a marvelous decoration, declined in a harmony of gold, ivory and yellow. The main facade of the Opera overlooks the Parc des Sources, preceded by a majestic staircase. In 2014, the Opera was selected among the five Auvergne monuments for the program "Le Monument Préféré des Français" on France 2.

Agir 2035

The city of Vichy has created a roadmap to lead the projects of the City of Vichy over the next 13 years to promote the spa town in multiple areas: well-being, urban planning, housing, nature, sport, culture, Art of living... AGIR 2035 is based on four pillars, echoing those drafted for the agglomeration project:

  • Renovation of the Parc des Sources and its surroundings

  • Thermal plan "Acceleration 2030"

  • Modernization of the Casino Grand Café

  • Revitalization of the Horseshoe

Treatments and practices related to hydrotherapy and European influences

Thermal cures offer different treatments such as: thermal showers introduced in France thanks to the humanist philosopher Montaigne, who discovered this practice in Italy.

Virtues of Vichy waters

The waters of Vichy are used in cure they act on the balance and the tiredness allowing a muscular recovery. Establishments in Vichy use water from 9 springs, 5 of which are used for drinking: rich in sodium bicarbonate and low in sodium chloride. The resort's thermal mud: with a mixture of kaolin from the Vichy region and water from the sources of Lys and the Dômes, and has a beneficial effect in rheumatology. Treatments are provided in the form of drinks, baths, showers and underwater massages by a physiotherapist, as well as thermal mud poultices, thermal ovens and mobilization in the swimming pool.

Good addresses in Vichy

Share a pleasant and warm moment and treat yourself with local products, discover the Table d'Antoine, the Decoret house, or even the Table de Marlène which will delight your taste buds.

Discover the small villages of the Allier

Take the small winding roads with nature as far as the eye can see. Discover the small picturesque villages, among them some classified in the list of the most beautiful villages of France. Charroux: "most beautiful villages in France" with its cobbled streets. As well as its handcrafted candles, chocolate soaps, mustard and the many and varied Charroux know-how. Discover the life that is offered to you at the belvedere with the countryside of the Sioule Valley in panorama.

Verneuil-en-Bourbonnais, Noyant d'Allier, Hérisson... discover the surrounding villages.

Local products

The products of the Allier are numerous and of high quality: such as Charolais beef, Vichy pastilles, Bourbonnais chicken, cheeses (Le Chambérat, made from raw and whole cow's milk, with a dough pressed by draining, uncooked. La Comtesse de Vichy, raw whole cow's milk cheese) as well as Vichy mineral waters.

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Amélie Roca

I am a Community Manager for Pure France as well as the host of Pure France TV, presenting high quality rental homes all over France.

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