Before the thermal springs underneath the village of Châtel – Guyon was discovered, the area was known as a winegrowing destination. However, once the water was identified, people started to flood into town to bathe and ingest the mineral-filled water. This part of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has maintained its Belle Époque charm and the beautiful, rural environs mean it’s a very pleasant place in which to spend a few days.
There are up to 28 different springs that feed the spa resorts and the fountains in the leafy thermal park, but only five are considered major. These have names such as Marguerite, Germaine and Yvonne. The water itself is famous for having such a high quantity of magnesium in it, something which makes it particularly useful at curing digestive ailments.
Châtel – Guyon is on the edge of the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park, an area that’s home to 450 extinct volcanoes. There are some great hiking trails to tackle and many people love to climb to the top of Puy de Dôme, the highest peak in the park. Other things to see and do in the area include the casino, some delightful cafés and a number of chateaux.