Queen of the spa towns
Vichy, ‘Queen of Spas’, greatly contributed to the creation of nineteenth century European spa culture, in which France played a major role. It is the most prestigious and well-known French spa town, the model spa serving as a benchmark in both France and its colonies. Located on a flat plain beside the River Allier, it combines Parisian urban principles with a spa promenade inside the city. Napoleon III encouraged the building of a new spa town laid out with parks and boulevards, a cosmopolitan ‘Little Paris’ of grand bath complexes, pump rooms connected by covered promenades, casino and theatre, hotels and villas. The success of Vichy resumed after difficult times in the Second World War, and bottled water – ‘reine des villes d’eaux’ - continued to be exported in large quantities, worldwide. This further provides the basis for trademark cosmetics and skin care products of the Vichy Laboratories, the leading skincare brand in European continental pharmacies.