The 12 must‑sees of Vichy

Like a Proust’s questionnaire which draws up in a few questions the portrait of the one who lends himself to it, the circuit of the 12 inescapable places of Vichy draws succinctly but in a faithful way the image of this city with the charms and the multiple influences and leads you in the search of a lost time…

On the program...

1. The Palais des Congrès - Opera

Jewel of the city’s architectural heritage, the Palais des Congrès – Opéra is made up of the former Grand Casino (which became the Palais des Congrès in 1995) and the Opéra, modernized by Jean Guilhem de Castelbajac. The original building (Casino-Theatre) was designed by the architect Charles Badger in 1865, at the request of Napoleon III, and included a ballroom, a theater, and gaming and pleasure rooms. But Vichy’s fame was such that in 1900, the architect Charles Lecœur was asked to enlarge the building to the west: the new Art Nouveau theater was the result with its 1,486 seats. The Opera House is the only Art Nouveau style theatre in gold and ivory colors in France.

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Address

1 rue du Casino, Vichy

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2. Pedestrian crossings and streets

A lively district of cafés and brasseries, the 4 Chemins and the pedestrian streets offer large terraces ideal for a break after shopping in the boutiques, which are open every Sunday and on public holidays all year round.


3. The hall of Sources and the promenory gallery

Built in 1903, the Hall des Sources currently houses the refreshment stands for the five springs used for the drinking cure: Célestins, Lucas, Hôpital, Chomel and Grande Grille. Inspired by the “trinkalle” of German or Austro-Hungarian spas, this glass and cast iron vessel is designed to be in harmony with the park of the Sources. On each side of the park, a 700m long covered gallery leads to the Palais des Congrès – Opéra.

Practical information

Address

Parc des Sources, Vichy

Opening hours

  • 07:00 - 19:30
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4. The Great Thermal Establishment

Built between 1899 and 1903, this former 1st class thermal establishment, enlarged in the 1930s, surprises by its neo-Moorish style. The wing of the building overlooking the Boulevard des États-Unis is now the Centre Thermal des Dômes. The Callou thermal baths are just a few steps away and are also used for traditional cures.

Practical information

Address

Avenue du Général Dwight Eisenhower, Vichy

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5. The Napoleon III Cottages

These Swiss or English colonial style cottages, built in 1863 and 1864 at the request of Napoleon III, welcomed the Emperor and his imperial retinue during his stays in Vichy. In the immediate vicinity, on rue Alquié, the series of English-style houses with their characteristic bow windows housed the officers of the imperial guard.


6. The pavement of the remarkable streets

Neo-Venitian, Flemish, Gothic, classical or Art Nouveau, the villas on these streets were mostly built at the turn of the 20th century. They bear witness to the know-how and imagination of the builders of the time. The common point of these residences: to seduce to be rented to the seasonal inhabitants come to take the waters or to be a visiting card of their sponsors…


7. Napoleon III and Kennedy Parks

The parks of Allier, created under Napoleon III as well as the squares, gardens and green spaces represent 1/6th of the total surface of the city. Particularly remarkable is the Napoleon III park, with an area of 7.8 hectares and 138 species. Below the dike, the Célestins beach, the guinguettes and the minigolfs welcome you.

Practical information

Address

Boulevard des États-Unis, Vichy

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8. Walks and beaches of the lake of Allier

On the edge of the Allier lake, walk along the promenade: Napoleon III parks, banks, guinguettes and leisure activities… 1.5 km of stroll between the Rotonde and the Célestins beach.


9. The Celestine spring

The most famous water of Vichy and the only one to be bottled emerges naturally from the spring. The spring takes its name from a 15th century religious convent built on the rock, of which only a section of wall remains today. The water gushes out of the cracks of an aragonite rock. The pavilion of the source, of neo-Louis XVI style, was built in 1908. Free tasting.

Practical information

Address

Boulevard John Kennedy, Vichy

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10. La Source Lardy

Although not used today, the spring and its gallery pavilion were restored to their original condition when the Lardy baths, formerly a third-class bathhouse, were converted into a university center in 2001. At the time, it was said that the Lardy spring “produced the same phenomena in women as champagne wine”.

Practical information

Address

5 avenue des Célestins, Vichy

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11. The church of Saint-Blaise

Our Lady of the Sick

It was built in 1714 on the former chapel of the Dukes of Bourbon dating from the 12th century. Its black virgin is venerated in Vichy of long tradition for its miracles. The new church Notre-Dame-des-Malades of Art Deco style was built between 1925 and 1933. Inside, light marble, lapis lazuli and onyx dominate and contrast with the austerity of the exterior.

Practical information

Address

Place d'Allier, Vichy

Opening hours

  • 08:00 - 19:00
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12. The kiosk and the Horseshoe

This kiosk was built by the architect Charles Lecœur in 1902. Emile Robert made the thistles and the musical staves in wrought iron for the balustrades. It hosts free outdoor concerts from May to September. The seven bandstands that Vichy had at the beginning of the century testified to the importance of music in the “Queen of the water cities”. A shopping arcade, “horseshoe-shaped”, surrounds the bandstand and extends the covered arcade around the Hospital spring.

Practical information

Address

Place de la Source de l’Hôpital, Vichy

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