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.