The town of Vichy is situated in the Auvergne region and is known for its springs. Believed to have healing powers, the sulphurous springs attract many thousands of visitors every year. Vichy has traditionally appealed to an older demographic, who flock to the town to receive spa treatments.
In recent years, however, the town has made a concerted effort to promote itself as a younger destination by marketing the health benefits of the springs to all age groups. Vichy gets very busy during the summer months but if you're staying in a rustic Auvergne gite in the surrounding Auvergne area, you'll be able to pop into the town to enjoy the sights before leaving the hustle and bustle for rural peace and quiet at the end of the day. Summer is a wonderful time to visit Vichy as the river banks turn into an excellent beach for several weeks.
If you wish to sample the famous sulphurous waters, you can do so at one of the many fountains scattered throughout the town's streets. Alternatively, you can visit one of the luxurious spa hotels but it's advisable to book ahead as they fill up weeks in advance during busy periods. These luxurious hotels offer all manner of treatments and can treat ailments including rheumatism and skin problems. As with most of France, eating out in Vichy is a real treat. You will find cafes, restaurants and bistros catering to all budgets and can expect ham and cheese to feature heavily on menus. The regional dishes include mouth-watering lentil and pork casseroles and hotpots, perfect when washed down with one of the locally produced wines.
The area around Vichy produces many excellent cheeses with Saint Nectaire, Cantal and Auvergne Blue some of the most well-known. If you're staying in a secluded French gite in Auvergne, use a trip into Vichy to stock up on some of these local specialties. Vichy is a pleasant town for strolling and the town has many interesting examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture. The local tourist board offers walking tours around the town but if you'd rather arrange your own walks, they will be able to provide plenty of literature with suggested routes. There are some lovely walks along the river and, if your visit takes place in summer, you'll be able to stop off at the temporary beach to cool down.