Royat-Chamalières - France
Foundation date or period
Only one man is the cause of the formation of the ROYAT and CHAMALIERES villages: The count GENESIUS, married to HELIDIA, Spanish with royal blood. The couple didn’t manage to give birth, so the bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, SAINT-PRIEST, advised them to attract the divine benediction dedicating a part of their fortune to the foundation of lone or abandoned women’s refuges. That’s why during the years 654-670, GENESIUS made build three monasteries at MARSAC, CHAMALIERES and ROYAT.
The Spa is located on the two towns of ROYAT and CHAMALIERES.
Thermal History of Royat-Chamalières
- Ancient Times:
- the thermal water was used in the first century. A sanctuary was discovered in a place called « Source des Roches » where thousands of wooden ex-votos were found out.They were preserved and exposed at the BARGOIN Museum of Clermont-Ferrand)
xIn 1844, Antoine Zani and 17 other owners obtained the right to exploit the « Grande Source ».
In December 1850, the mayor François Bourgoignon, Jean-Baptiste Buchetti-Zani the fountain-maker and Nicolas Lhuer signed a lease. They were asked to build a spa, following an estimate by Ledru. It was built from 1852 à 1856.
In July 1862, Napoléon III and Impress Eugénie came to the Baths. From then on, they were called « Source Eugénie » (spring Eugénie). The « Grand Hotel » was built by Léon Servant in 1865. The Papon concert hall, opposite the spa was inaugurated in 1868.
In 1872, the thermal park was planned out. In 1874. The « Casino Chalet » was built by an architect called Jacques Cournol. In 1875, development of a town planning. The spa was linked to Clermont-Ferrand thanks to the new road of Clermont-Ferrand. Nowadays it is the Avenue de Royat and Rue Blatin. After the building of an imposing viaduct, the Railway was opened to the public in 1881. The Railway station was inaugurated five years later.
From 1878 to 1880, many hotels were built along the Boulevard Vaquez, for the tourists who came by train. In 1882, a new Casino called « Casino Samie » was built by an architect named Lecat. In 1884, the Prince of Wales came to the « Grand Hotel » followed by a lot of English people. An Anglican chapel was built two years later.
The spa became the place-to-be. Thanks to a new electric tramway (1887) designed by Jean-Baptiste Claret (1836-1907), Montferrand was linked to the spa, going through the famous « Place de Jaude ».
The spa was so successful that a theatre was built by Théodore Charpentier from 1891 to 1892. A third Casino, the « Casino en Planches », was open to the public from 1892 to 1895. The « Chapelle des Baigneurs » was designed by Jules Painchaud in 1894.
The « Casino Chalet » burnt down and Auguste Rouzaud asked Guillaume Tronchet to build a new one (1920 to 1921. Antoine Chanet et Jean Liogier were asked to develop the Velleda spring in 1936 and the pavilion Saint-Mart in 1937.
>Like any other French spas, it was difficult for Royat/Chamalières to recover from World War 2. The « Grand Hotel » and the « Majestic Palace » were closed up. European wealthy patients stopped coming. Middle-class patients replaced the well-off customers. A lot of palaces were changed into furnished flats.
In 1946, the « Institut de Recherches Cardio-vasculaires » (IRCV) was inaugurated. The spa kept developing. Jean Revenel, mayor of Royat from 1954 to 1977, fulfilled his dream of a green city. He bought the land along the river Tiretaine between the « Place Allard » and the « Bourg de Royat » to extend the thermal park.
An Hotel of 4 stars was open in 2008 and this is the only one establishment of this grade in the area.
Spa water composition
The spa center of Royat-Chamalières was one of the first centers throughout Europe to cure cardiac problems and circulatory illnesses. Royat-Chamalières owes its excellent reputation of curing illnesses (rhumatism, cardiac and circulatory problems) to the unique composition of the spa water (99,4 % pure carbonic). The most used spa spring for local application is called “Eugénie” (100.000 litres per hour). The 32,5° warm spa water is characterized by the extreme high degree of minerals and trace elements (5 gramm per litre).
- Spa treatments
- The cardiovascular diseases, including the arteritis of the lower limbs
- The Raynaud phenomenon (such as the sclerodermy),
- Spa beauty products