There are dozens of spas in France, ranging from upscale spa resort hotels to charming small spa villages that have relaxed visitors since the days of the Ancient Romans. Find out which spas, or "bains," are tops for your next ultra-relaxing vacation.
This luxurious spa and four-star hotel near Bordeaux features a unique combination: spa treatments and wine. With its "vinotherapie" treatments, visitors can indulge in red wine baths, barrel baths, Merlot wraps, a crushed Cabernet scrub or a Sauvignon massage. The resort also features two restaurants, a bar and a panoramic cigar lounge.
Alet-les-Bains' thermal spa is not an upscale resort, but a simple government facility. This rural Languedoc village is high on charm, featuring medieval and Roman architecture. Situated about a half-hour from Carcassonne and in the heart of Cathar country, this is a simple village with a bakery, a couple small inns and some lovely 17th and 18th century façades. The thermal spa itself features dips in the thermal spa waters, a sauna, hydro-massage bath and massages, all at rock-bottom prices.
Argèles-Gazost, nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains a few minutes south of Lourdes, is an enchanting small spa village. Featuring a casino and a lovely downtown area, this town is surrounded by breathtaking views of the surrounding High Pyrenees. This is an ideal destination if you really want to earn those spa treatments through outdoor activities like hiking and skiing.
4. DaxThe village of Dax was France's first spa village, and it retains its prestige as an epicenter of relaxation to this day. Almost 60,000 people dip in the village's ancient waters each year. Situated in the expansive Landes forest, it is close to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic coast. The lively people of Dax make a visit a memorable experience. For a truly unique visit, come for a week in August during "La Feria," or the bullfights.
Think water and Evian is probably one of the first names that comes to mind. There's a good reason for that. This popular city attracts many for its curative waters, which have been bottled as drinking water for years. The thermal spas here offer several treatment packages, including some wonderful mother-and-child and father-and-child deals. The Evian "re-birth day" treatments are designed to energize. Evian's shoreline is also quite scenic, and the city is pretty.
With several thermal spa resorts, France's second busiest spa town offers splended view of the Alpine Mont Blanc. Indulge in the thermal spa waters, with treatments that target those who wish to quit smoking, lose weight or just plain relax. Almost any treatment you can imagine is on the menu here. There is also a golf course, aquarium and casino here. Be sure to visit the Roman Arc de Campanus funeral arch.