Hall des Sources

Vichy, France | C.1903

Photo Credit: Camille Binon

In this public watering hole, not all drinking taps are open to the masses—some require a doctor’s prescription. That’s right, a sprinkle from these sourced waters can reputedly cure many an ailment. Created as a one-stop shop for the city’s many natural springs, visitors and “curistes” seeking healing have found solace by soaking up the waters of Vichy in this Belle Epoque palace. 

Since the Romans first inhabited the area in 52 BC, Vichy, France, has been known for its natural hot springs and hosted many patrons seeking solace through its waters over the centuries. While structures and spas existed around Vichy since at least the 18th Century, it was during the reign of Napoleon III a century later that the city enjoyed the height of its popularity. The water from Vichy’s nine natural springs was said to have healing powers, which Napoleon III  himself believed in, visiting the area six times for a salving retreat over the course of his reign. 

Located in the city’s central parkland, the Hall des Sources replaced an older structure in 1903 with a French Belle Epoque design. Naturally sitting above two springs, water from two other springs in the park is brought to the pavilion’s taps via piping. Regal tile signs mark which taps provide water from a specific spring, with water temperatures ranging from 70-105 degrees Fahrenheit. Chugging one’s water is not recommended. 

While these days one can purchase Vichy’s springwater from supermarkets all over France (most coming from the Celestins spring), a bottle doesn’t capture the comfort of enjoying freshly drafted spring water and lounging at the palm-filled pavilion. One could argue sipping a glass in this environment comes with extra healing powers. 

Written By: Seamus McMahon

One thought on “Hall des Sources

  1. sea-grape says:
    April 20, 2023

    Oh, you bet I’d sip here!

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