Events taking place all year round

You can discover the spa towns’ main events throughout the spa season. All practical information on guided tours, exhibitions, festivals, etc., can be found in the ‘17 heritage destinations’ programme.

The "I love villes d’eaux" ("I love spa towns") photograph competition

In 2014, the Route of Spa Towns launched its photograph competition ‘I love ville d’eaux’ for fans of heritage and photography. Architectural heritage, environment and water were the main themes of the competition, which assembled near to 250 photos.

The "Architectural Treasures of the Spa Towns" exhibition

To celebrate the Route des Villes d’eaux du Massif Central’ 15 year anniversary, the exhibition ‘architectural treasures of the spa towns’ was set up in the thermal parks in the 17 spa towns of the Massif Central in 2013.

This exhibition is a genuine invitation to discover the world of the spa towns of the Massif Central and of Europe as a whole, through beautiful visual displays of ancient and modern thermal architecture.

Although certain thermal spas’ origins go back to antiquity, the majority of spa towns developed their thermal activity from the 19th century onwards by creating tailor-made facilities.

Renowned architects and decorators have often been involved in constructing these buildings, which all fulfil an integral purpose of the "thermal triptych":

  • treating people in water temples (monumental thermal baths or smaller more specific bathing establishments);
  • bringing in clientele through transport infrastructure (railway stations, funiculars, trams) and housing them during their stay in luxury accommodation (villas, palaces);
  • enjoyment: recreational facilities (casinos, theatres), places for socialising (tea rooms, patisseries) and reconstructed natural spaces (thermal parks).

"The Wonderful World of Spa Towns"

“Thermal establishments, casino, park, bandstand, pump room, villas and grand hotels; these are some of the characteristic architectural elements of the Spa Towns. For the most part these destinations were shaped in the 19th century by and for (re)nascent thermal activity. Think you know all about these communes and their so very distinct thermal architecture? Take the time anyway to flick through this work and be surprised by these little jewels and great wonders left behind by the architects, ceramists, artistic iron workers and so on to whom we owe this inimitable thermal heritage.”
Jean-François Dubourg, President of the Route des Villes d’Eaux du Massif Central