Places of Interest nearby
Location address: France, Auvergne, Vichy
Number of texts: 6
Vichy is known as a spa and resort town. It was aslo the capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944. Vichy lies on the banks of the Allier River. The source of the Allier is in the nearby Massif Central plateau which lies only a few miles to the south, near the region’s capital, Clermont-Ferrand. Heavy snows in the Massif Central often make roads impassable, but Vichy is low enough at about 260 meters above sea level that the climate is more continental.
Volcanic activity in the area is the direct cause of the many thermal springs that exist in and around Vichy. The marquise de Sévigné, was a patient in 1676 and 1677 and would popularize Vichy’s Thermal Baths through the written descriptions in her letters. The Vichy waters were said to have cured the paralysis in her hands, thus enabling her to take up the letter-writing for which she is most famous. In 1761 and 1762, Adélaïde and Victoire of France, the daughters of Louis XV, came to Vichy for the first time and returned in 1785. The bath facilities seemed extremely uncomfortable to them because of the muddy surroundings and insufficient access. When they returned to Versailles, they asked their nephew Louis XVI to build roomier and more luxurious thermal baths, which were subsequently completed in 1787. In 1799, Laetitia Bonaparte, mother of Napoleon, came to be cured with her son Louis. Under Charles X, the great increase in patients wishing to be healed at the springs led to an expansion of the hydrotheraputic facilities. From 1844 to 1853, theatrical and poetry recitals were performed for the wealthy in the comfort of their own homes by Isaac Strauss.
The Opera in Vichy was the home of the parliament of the French Third Republic. It granted full powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain, thereby terminating the republican regime and inaugurating Vichy France on July 10, 1940. Th ecity was chosen because it was relatively close to Paris and it was the city with the second largest hotel capacity at the time. This provided a lot of facilities for the government. The Government took possession of many hotels. Six hundred members of the French Parliament (Appointed Members and Senators) would come to Vichy for the meeting of the Chambers.
The stays of Napoleon III between 1861 and 1866 were to cause the most profound transformation of the city of Vichy: dikes were built along the Allier river, 13 hectares of landscaped gardens replaced the old marshes, and along the newly laid out boulevards and streets, chalets and pavilions were built for the Emperor and his court. Recreational pursuits were not spared: in view of the park, a large casino was built by the architect Badger in 1865. The emperor would be the catalyst of the development of a small rail station which multiplied the number of inhabitants and visitors by ten in fifty years.
Linked themes: Geography
Vichy (French pronunciation: [viʃi]; Occitan: Vichèi) is a commune in the Allier department in Auvergne in central France. It belongs to the historic province of Bourbonnais.