© Facade of the Palais des congrès de Vichy | Xavier Thomas
Discovery of the

Grand Casino

Vichy has offered, since 1995, an infrastructure bringing together a convention center and an opera house. An exceptional setting, the result of the combined talents of architects, artists and craftsmen, past and present. The complex has been classified as a historical monument since 1996.

Imposed by

Napoleon III

Under Napoleon III, Vichy was booming. If people came here to take the waters, they also liked to have fun. “Seeing and being seen” was the unwavering motto of the “noble” curists. These actors of the worldly evenings like games, balls and shows. The spa town must be up to the task. The Emperor imposes to the Compagnie fermière (manager of the springs and the thermal establishments) to take care of this requirement. And so, in 1865, the first casino-theater of Vichy was built by the architect Charles Badger.

Architecture

Congress Center

Opened on July 2, 1865, the casino had a ballroom, billiards and various salons. In 1880, the architect Badger proposed to enlarge the casino, which had become too small, but in vain. It wasn’t until 1898 that a project took shape. The expansion is entrusted to the architect Charles Le Coeur.

Salon Napoleon III

The transformation

Restructuring and expansion work began in 1898 and was completed in 1902.
It involved the complete transformation of Badger’s casino. The theater room became a gambling hall, the billiard room a restaurant, the gambling hall a large clearance.
The ballroom, the reading room and the ladies’ room will metamorphose, in 1910, into a single space: the current Napoleon III lounge visible from the marquee.

1995 - 1996

Restore radiance

The city of Vichy became the owner of the Grand Casino and the Opera Theatre in 1987 and in 1994 wanted to restore the splendor and vocation of the Grand Casino and Opera. This complex project was entrusted to the architect Jean-Guilhem de Castelbajac, who explained his project by “giving a breath of life and meeting to a heritage of great quality”. It is therefore to create a convention center in the Grand Casino of Charles Badger and to restore, identically, the Opera while modernizing the technique.

Go further

Opera of Vichy

During the first cure in Vichy of the Emperor Napoleon III in 1861, the public flocked, and the city welcomed 16,000 curists. At the request of the Sovereign, a casino is built, according to the plans of architect Charles Badger. The building was inaugurated on July 2, 1865, and the number of visitors, curists, lovers of music, ballets, plays and comic opera continues to grow, along with the development of the troupe and the orchestra of the theater. The Vichy Opera House, a pure joy of Art Nouveau style [1901] with 1480 seats, offers many events related to live entertainment. Since its renovation in 1995, the Opera has organized about sixty events throughout the year.

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