©Dscf8034|Cindy Michaud

Neighborhood of France

Once past the Old Vichy and the Celestins spring, the district of France extends. A few steps away from the heart of the city, remarkable for its villas lined up in a row, it was born at the beginning of the 20th century, in the middle of the spa boom.

The neighborhood

Going up the Allier

Calm and pleasure could be the motto of this residential neighborhood whose inhabitants enjoy the bucolic pleasures of the Bourins Park. Dyking and draining of land upstream of the river allowed the birth of the France neighborhood, which developed during the 1930s.

Park and architecture

Double physiognomy

The district is characterized by its double physiognomy, one, architectural with its mosaic of coquettish villas the other landscape with its magnificent Bourrins park. Some of the villas were used as summer residences for the musicians of the Grand Casino Orchestra (Opera). The diversity of styles is expressed according to the imagination of the architects and the expectations of the clients. It was common for an architect to build his villa as an advertising showcase… Striated with parallel and perpendicular streets, this district testifies to the urbanistic evolution when compared to the Old Vichy with its winding alleys.


The landscape physiognomy

Bourins Park

The exchange is natural between the two spaces. For a dozen streets, signed with the names of regions of France: Flanders, Touraine, Languedoc, Normandy, Aquitaine … open on the park. Developed on the former peninsula of the Catalan meadow. This urban geography encourages the inhabitants of the district to enter, in a few steps, this landscaped haven bordering the Allier. The 8-hectare park stretches along Avenue de France to the rowing club. Its paths and lawns are studded with conifers and deciduous trees but also with rare or remarkable species: purple or weeping beeches, American or Kabylie oaks.

The kiosk

It would be inspired by the pavilions of oriental gardens. Octagonal in shape, its ironwork blossoms into friezes of poly-lobed rosettes that connect eight colonnettes. On its railing, instead of the traditional musical staves, one can see plant ornaments from which a cast iron water jet pours. Listed in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments, and renovated between 2005 and 2009, the music shines there again during events organized by the City or when people play guitar or test its acoustic quality by singing a capella. Under its dome, lovers also weave their melody.

The neighborhood

in photos