Vichy-Celestins – Parc du Couvent des Celestins
Vichy-Celestins is associated with Vichy, a prestigious spa town located on the banks of the river Allier, in Bourbonnais, a former duchy that today corresponds to the department of Allier in Auvergne.
Les Celestins is one of the 14 sources (hot and cold water) that spring in this region located on the foothills of the dormant volcanoes of Auvergne.
The source Vichy-Celestins is nestled in the park of the former Couvent des Celestins.
The convent was built in the early 15th century at the initiative of the Duke Louis II de Bourbon, whose sister Jeanne was married to King Charles V.
Louis XV suppressed the monastery which was demolished a few years later during the French Revolution, with the exception of a fortified building, then used as a gardener dwelling.
This small building, located on the natural terrace overlooking the Allier, is a perfect illustration of Bourbonnais fortified architecture of the 15th century.
Capped with a steeply pitched two-sided roof, it was recently restored and is a historical monument.
Archaeological excavations show that Vichy was already a renowned spa during the Gallo-Roma era, some 2000 years ago.
The name ‘Vichy’ evolved from vicus calidus, a name that translates roughly as the town with hot springs.
Vichy became a trendy spa in the 18th century after the visit of King Louis XIV.
This notoriety was consecrated in the mid 19th century when Napoleon III took the habit of sojourning in Vichy to treat his rheumatism, gout and dermatitis!
An elegant Neoclassical building was then built in the Parc des Celestins to showcase the source Vichy-Celestins.
This building, located below the site of the former convent, was classified as a historical monument in 1986.
The source Vichy-Celestins springs at a constant temperature of 17.3°C and is labelled as a ‘cold water source”.
Vichy-Celestins is naturally carbonated; it draws mineral salts and trace elements from the volcanic soil, and is renown for its proven digestive properties.
Vichy spring water contains 5 to 7 grams of mineral salt per liter; 90% is sodium carbonate, the rest, calcium and magnesium and trace elements.
It has traditionally been used in drinking cure in Vichy to treat liver, kidney and stomach diseases.
The source Vichy-Celestins was declared of public interest on January 23, 1861.
The group Roxane is now the main owner of the source Vichy-Celestins, the remaining shares being held by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.
The building, park and the source, however, are the property of the state!
Vichy-Celestins water is exported around the world with over 40 million of bottles sold every year.
Department of Allier – Vichy – Auvergne region
Coordinates: Lat 46.119802 – Long 3.423574