Tips & Inspiration

Our Top Tips

1. The “Hall des sources” and the covered galleries

Built in 1903, the Springs Hall (“hall des Sources”) is now home to the pump rooms for the five springs whose waters emerge in Vichy : Célestins, Lucas, Hôpital, Chomel and Grande Grille.  A 700 metre-long covered gallery stretches along both side of the park, leading to the Opera, the Congress Centre and the Casino.

2. The 1st Class Establishment

This former first class spa facility, built between 1899 and 1903, is of an unusual Neo-Moorish style.  The wing facing the boulevard des Etats-Unis is now the Dômes Spa-Centre (Thermes Les Dômes).  Nearby the Callou Spa Centre offers traditional spa activities.

3. Streets with remarkable villas

Neo-Venetian, Flemish, Gothic, Classical and Art nouveau in style, most of the villas in these streets were built at the turn of the 19th century.

4. The Napoleon III chalets

These Swiss and English colonial style houses were built in 1863 and 1864, at the request of Napoleon III to accommodate the emperor and his retinue during his stays in Vichy.  The nearby rue Alquié features a row of old English-style houses, built for the officers of the Imperial Guard.

5. The Napoleon III and Kennedy parks

The parks, created during the reign of Napoleon III, along with various public gardens and open spaces make up one sixth of the city’s total area.  The 7.8 ha. Parc Napoleon III is particularly noteworthy and hosts 138 plant species.  Below the raised bank is the Célestins beach with its waterside restaurants and mini-golf.

6. The Opera – Congress Centre

A jewel in the crown of the city’s architectural heritage, the Opera and Congress Centre is actually two buildings merged together: the former Great Casino, which became in 1995 the Congress Centre, and the Opera from 1901, in a setting of gold and ivory, the only Art Nouveau opera house in France.

7. The bandstand and the « horseshoe »

The bandstand with its wrought ironwork hosts open-air concerts from May to September.  A « horseshoe »-shaped shopping arcade builds an extension to the covered gallery around the Hospital spring (source de l’Hôpital).

8. Saint Blaise church

This church was built in 1714 on the site of the 12th century chapel of the dukes of Bourbon.  Its black Madonna has long been veneratd in Vichy for its miracles.  The new Art Deco church of Notre-Dame-des-Malades was built between 1925 and 1933.  Its interior decoration is dominated by light marble, lapis lazuli and onyx.

9. The pump room of the Lardy spring

Although no longer in use, the pump room and its pavilion were restored to their original state during the transformation of the Lardy baths into a university campus in 2001.

10. The Célestins spring

This is the only spring, the water of which is bottled. It owes its name to the former Célestins monastery, located since 1410 on the rock over the spot where the spring emerges.  The Pavilion in neo-Louis XVI style was built in 1908.  Water tasting is free of charge.

11. Walks and beaches along the lac d’Allier

Stroll along the brand new promenade on the banks of the lake between the Napoleon III parks, the waterside restaurants and other leisure facilities.  A 1,5 km-walk between the Rotonde and the Célestins beach.

12. Arcades and pedetrian zone

The Quatre-Chemins (« 4 ways ») district and the pedestrian streets form a busy area of street-side cafés and restaurants which provide a perfect break after some shopping, with the shops open Sundays and public holidays all year round.