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Vichy travel guide

Photo of Vichy in Massif Central (Auvergne region)
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Visit Vichy (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France)

The town of Vichy is situated to the north-east of Clermont-Ferrand, and is the second largest town in the Auvergne.

Explore Vichy

Although the town is not a major tourist destination there are some sights of interest in Vichy, which is also an important spa town very popular among those seeking the healing powers of the local water.

Much of the town dates from the 19th and 20th centuries, in part due to the development of the spa waters industry since that time - it was Napoleon III who first brought these to the attention of the public. There are several different natural water sources in the town, some war and others cold.

Inside the thermal spa of Vichy

Vichy also produces bottled waters that are exported around the world under the names of Vichy Celestins and Vichy Saint-Yorre and are also atributed various health properties.

Although most of Vichy dates from the late 19th century onwards there are certain monuments that are older. These include the remaining parts of the Convent of the Celestins (in the park of the same name) dates from the 15th century, and was originally part of a benedictine monastery. The Castel Franc also dates from the 15th century, although the principal facade was rebuilt in the 19th century.

The houses along the Boulevard des Etats-Unis, dating from the epoch when the town started to develop under Napoleon III (1860-1870), are also interesting and in a style that is very unusual in the Auvergne - these include the Chalet Marie-Louise, the Chalet de Clermont-Tonnere and the Chalet de l'Empereur. The Parc Napoleon III was also part of this new development.

The Palace of Congress (opera) building dates from the same period but stands in complete contrast, with its ornately decorated facade also incorporating art nouveau elements.

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You can also see the ornate buildings that were the grand hotels where visitors to Vichy stayed in the early 20th century, stroll along the pleasant boulevards and walk along the banks of the river, and if you are visiting in summer there is even a beach on the river in the town.

Another surprise in Vichy is the interior of the Chuch of Saint-Blaise: on the outside it is a rather bleak concrete church, but the inside has been painted with colourful frescoes and other decorations and is quite ncely done.

The riverside promenade in Vichy continues for several kilometres and has a few small cafes, and is one of the most popular activities in the town, with visitors and residents alike.

Note: as well as the thermal spa waters made popular by Napoleon, Vichy is also well known for its role as seat of the government of 'unoccupied France' during the Second World War, under the rule of Marshal Pétain (they were based in the Palace of Congress building).

Art deco facade of the Palais de Congres

Attractions nearby

Among the places you will want to visit in the area around Vichy are the small village of Charroux, and the village of Chateldon overlooked by the ruins of a medieval castle.

You can find more travel ideas in the Allier guide and the Auvergne guide.

See also: 

Map of Vichy and places nearby

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Visit near Vichy with France This Way reviews

Chateldon

Chateldon

The ancient city of Chateldon still retains an important part of its medieval castle and fortifications

Chateldon guide
Lapalisse

Lapalisse

The renaissance style Chateau de la Palice, its internal decorations and its gardens are the main highlight when you visit Lapalisse

Lapalisse guide
Charroux

Charroux

Charroux is a very quiet Auvergne village, unusual in the 'village centre' being a hard to find area of grass!

Charroux guide
Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule

Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule

The quiet town of Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule lacks major monuments but merits a stroll when you are in the region

Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule guide
Thiers

Thiers

Not always considered a tourist destination, Thouars actually has a facscinating historical centre with several interesting highlights

Thiers guide
Riom

Riom

The quiet regional town of Riom has several monuments of historical importance to see as you explore

Riom guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Allier

Tourist classifications for Vichy

Vichy is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Vichy, Auvergne, 3200, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 46.127, longitude 3.4266

Plan your visit to Vichy, Allier

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Parc du domaine royal de Randan: remarkable garden (13 km)
  • Lapalisse: recommended detour (21 km)
  • Charroux: most beautiful village (21 km)
  • Chareil-Cintrat Chateau: national monument (22 km)
  • Collégiale Saint-Victor et Sainte-Couronne d'Ennezat (Ennezat): religious monument (29 km)
  • Thiers: secteur sauvegarde (31 km)
  • Abbatial church de Saint Pierre de Mozac (Mozac): religious monument (34 km)
  • Riom: town of art and history (35 km)
  • Forêt des Colettes: site of natural beauty (36 km)
  • Mozac: town of art and history (39 km)
  • Marsat: town of art and history (39 km)
  • Aulteribe Chateau: national monument (40 km)

Market days in Vichy, France

Regular market(s) are held in Vichy each Every day except Monday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Vichy (Francais)

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