Water is good for your health [I think wine is too], but did you know that France has more than 700 sources of healing waters whose therapeutic virtues are recognized by the Academy of Medicine.
Since man has discovered the virtues of mineral waters 2,000 years ago, thermal medicine has proven effective on many diseases: skin diseases, allergies, asthma, metabolic dysfunction, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, etc. In France, a spa treatment is generally prescribed as an alternative to medication. Eighteen days are usually needed to benefit from the effects of the treatments that are essentially constituted of baths, showers, massages, and water’s exercises…
My mom swears by it. For the past 30 years, she goes to Vichy every year for three weeks. Vichy claims to heal digestive disorders and metabolic diseases. I guess it’s working for her. At 85 years she is still extremely active and healthy.
Besides Vichy there are three additional towns I would like to mention.
Vittel & Contrexeville: The towns are located next to each over in the Northeastern corner of France close to Germany. Vittel is a small town of less than 6,000 people, and Contrexeville has around 3,300. Go visit the spas in both cities, take a moment to relax and enjoy the healing powers of the water.
Go for a walk in the gardens, or play at the Casino. Just be aware, Casinos in France are a little bit different than in the U.S. Yes, they have slot machines too, but the feel is more sophisticated, maybe because of the architecture of the buildings.
Be aware, some of them have a dress code. The Casino in Vittel was built in 1882 in the park, and plays the card of refinement and conviviality. After a full day of playing tourist, stop at “La Belle Époque” a bar & club located in the center of Vittel. The ambiance is superb and extremely friendly. Prices are reasonable and they make the best mojitos in the area [That’s what I decided]. Did I tell you? One of my brothers lives here.
Aix les Bains is another water town worth the trip. Located in the Northern Alps, in the Savoie region, the town seats on the shores of the largest natural lake of glacial origin, the “Lac du Bourget”. It has the largest fresh water marina in France, and breath taking views of the Alps.
Also known for its spas, the town is turn to tourism summer and winter. There are so many things to do; you can easily spend a full week without being bored. I enjoyed visiting “l’ Abbaye d’Hautecombe”. A small entrance fee will grant you a self audio-guided tour, but photos are prohibited. It’s a nice drive up-and-down the hills.
The Savoie region is also known for its white wines. Take the time to visit the vineyards around the lake, I believe wine is good for your health too.