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Aerial view of Vichy in 2008.
|Canton||Vichy-1 & Vichy-2|
|Intercommunality||Vichy Val d'Allier|
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Claude Malhuret|
|Area1||5.85 km2 (2.26 sq mi)|
|• Density||4,300/km2 (11,000/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||03310 / 03200|
|Elevation||243–317 m (797–1,040 ft)
(avg. 263 m or 863 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
It is known as a spa and resort town and was the seat of government and de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944. The term Vichyste indicated collaboration or sympathy with the ideology either of the Vichy regime or the German occupation, often carrying a pejorative connotation.
Today, the town's inhabitants are called Vichyssois. Up until the 18th century they were more properly known as les Vichois which stems from the Occitan name of the town, Vichèi. The writer Valery Larbaud uses the term Vicaldiens after the Ancient Roman Latin name for the community, aquae calidae (hot waters).
- 1 Climate
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Administration
- 5 Population
- 6 Economy
- 7 Personalities
- 8 Religion
- 9 International relations
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The city enjoys an inland oceanic climate that incorporates some characteristics of a mountain climate because of the nearby Massif Central and Alps. Heavy snows in the Massif Central often make roads impassable, but Vichy is low enough — about 249 metres (817 feet) above sea level — that the climate is more continental than mountain. Rainfall is moderate around Vichy, averaging about 779.5 millimetres (30.7 in) annually.
|Paris||1,797 hr/yr||642 mm/yr||15 dy/yr||19 dy/yr||13 dy/year|
|Nice||2,694 hr/yr||767 mm/yr||1 dy/yr||31 dy/yr||1 dy/yr|
|Strasbourg||1,637 hr/yr||610 mm/yr||30 dy/yr||29 dy/yr||65 dy/yr|
|Vichy||1880 hr/yr||790 mm/yr||... dy/yr||... dy/yr||... dy/yr|
|National Average||1,973 hr/yr||770 mm/yr||14 dy/yr||22 dy/yr||40 dy/yr|
|Climate data for Vichy (1981–2010 averages)|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.2
|Average high °C (°F)||7.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−26.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||46.8
|Average precipitation days||10.0||8.9||9.0||10.8||12.2||9.5||8.1||8.8||8.7||10.4||10.3||10.0||116.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||84||80||75||74||77||76||73||75||78||83||84||85||78.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||78.1||94.8||153.7||175.4||203.4||225.0||248.9||238.3||183.5||128.1||76.7||55.9||1,861.7|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity, 1961–1990)|
The historical existence of volcanic activity in the Massif Central is somewhat visually evident. Volcanic eruptions have happened for at least 150,000 years, but all volcanoes there have been dormant for at least 112 years. Volcanic activity in the area is the direct cause of the many thermal springs that exist in and around Vichy.
Transportation and communication
Currently, this city has no expressways. The expressway A719 (after lengthening) and the northwest and west loops will be the first to directly connect to Vichy. The inclusion of access to the A719 expressway, opened in 1997, in order to avoid the crossing of the town of Gannat, is expected in 2015.
In 2014, only regional two-lane highways (routes départementales) pass through the urban ring of Vichy. The RD 2209 is the principal axis of circulation for heavily loaded trucks, from the west (via Gannat) or the north (via Varennes-sur-Allier or Saint-Germain-des-Fossés) ; other important routes are the following (listed in the clockwise order) :
- the RD 906 (Auvergne), from the south (Abrest, Saint-Yorre, Thiers, Ambert, Livradois and Le Puy-en-Velay) ;
- the route nationale 493/RD 1093, from the southwest (Forest of Randan, Grande Limagne, Maringues, Riom, Clermont-Ferrand);
- the RN 684/RD 984, from the west-southwest (Bellerive-sur-Allier, Effiat, Aigueperse);
- the RD 6 (Allier), from the northwest (Charmeil, Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule).
Vichy is served by the following train lines: TER and Intercités (national trains, but booking mandatory) to destinations: Paris Gare de Lyon/Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-Ferrand/Lyon Part-Dieu and by TER, Vichy/Pont-de-Dore/Arlanc.
MobiVie is the network of urban transport for 6 communes of Vichy Val d'Allier intercommunality. This network is composed of nine lines as of 2014.
"Mobival" is an on-call transportation service for Vichy and its neighborhood. This service offers the local communes a reliable transportation service for areas that are not served by the MobiVie network. Created in October 2004, it has 10 lines.
In 52 BC, on returning from their defeat at the Battle of Gergovia by the Gallic legions of Vercingetorix, the Romans established a township at their crossing on the Flumen Elaver (Allier). These Roman settlers had acknowledged the therapeutic value of the springs in the area and were eager to exploit them. During the first two centuries AD, Vichy was very prosperous because of these thermal springs.
At the end of the 3rd century, the Roman Emperor Diocletian undertook a vast administrative reorganization and land-survey. At that time the hypothetical and reconstructed place name VIPPIACUS first appeared (name of an agricultural field belonging to a certain VIPPIUS) which, by phonetic evolution, became Vichèi in Occitan (and then, Vichy in French).
On September 2, 1344, Jean II ceded the noble fiefdom of Vichy to Duke Pierre I of Bourbon. On December 6, 1374, the last part of Vichy was acquired by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. At that point Vichy was incorporated into the House of Bourbon. In 1410, a Celestinian monastery was founded with twelve monks. A building located above the Celestinian Spring is still visible.
In 1527, the House of Bourbon was incorporated into the French Kingdom. By the end of the 16th century, the mineral baths had obtained a reputation for having quasi-miraculous curing powers and attracted patients from the noble and wealthy classes. Government officials, such as Fouet and Chomel, began to classify the curing properties of the mineral baths.
Vichy's thermal baths
The Marquise de Sévigné was a patient in 1676 and 1677 and would popularize Vichy's Thermal Baths through the written descriptions in her letters. The Vichy waters were said to have cured the paralysis in her hands, thus enabling her to take up letter-writing. In 1761 and 1762, Adélaïde and Victoire of France, the daughters of Louis XV, came to Vichy for the first time and returned in 1785. The bath facilities seemed extremely uncomfortable to them because of the muddy surroundings and insufficient access. When they returned to Versailles, they asked their nephew Louis XVI to build roomier and more luxurious thermal baths, which were subsequently completed in 1787.
Under Charles X, the great increase in patients wishing to be healed at the springs led to an expansion of the hydrotheraputic facilities. Princess Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte expanded the Janson buildings under the plan of Rose - Beauvais (work completed in 1830). From 1844 to 1853, theatrical and poetry recitals were performed for the wealthy in the comfort of their own homes by Isaac Strauss.
Vichy in style
By the 19th century Vichy was a station à la mode, attended by many celebrities. But the stays of Napoleon III between 1861 and 1866 were to cause the most profound transformation of the city: dikes were built along the Allier river, 13 hectares (32 acres) of landscaped gardens replaced the old marshes, and along the newly laid out boulevards and streets, chalets and pavilions were built for the Emperor and his court. Recreational pursuits were not spared: in view of the park, a large casino was built by the architect Badger in 1865. The emperor would be the catalyst of the development of a small rail station which multiplied the number of inhabitants and visitors by ten in fifty years.
After the Second French Empire, the Belle Époque marked the second large construction campaign in Vichy. In 1903 the Opera House (l'Opéra), the Hall of Springs and a large bath designed in the eastern style were inaugurated. In 1900 the Parc des Sources was enclosed by a metal gallery which came from the World Fair of 1889. 700 metres (2,300 feet) long, it is decorated by a frise de chardons and was completed by the ironworker Emile Robert. Many private mansions with varied architectural styles were erected during the first half of the 20th century.
Vichy welcomed 40,000 curistes in 1900 and this figure had risen to nearly 100,000 just before the onset of the First World War. La vie thermale had its heyday in the 1930s. The success in treating ailments that was attributed to the Vichy Baths led la Compagnie Fermière to enlarge the Baths again by creating the Callou and Lardy Baths. The Art Nouveau-style Opéra, inaugurated in 1903, accommodated all the great names on the international scene. Vichy became the summertime music capital of France, but the war of 1914 would put a brutal end to this development.
Vichy France—seat of the État Français, the Nazi collaborationist government
Following the armistice signed on June 22, 1940, the zone which was not occupied by the Germans took the name of the French State (État Français) (as opposed to the traditional name, République française or French Republic) and set up its capital in Vichy on July 1, because of the town's relative proximity to Paris (4.5 hours by train) and because it was the city with the second largest hotel capacity at the time. Moreover, the existence of a modern telephone exchange made it possible to reach the whole world via phone.
On July 1, the Government took possession of many hotels. Six hundred members of the French Parliament (Appointed Members and Senators) would come to Vichy for the meeting of the Chambers. On the 9th and 10th, in the main auditorium of the Opera House, the members of Parliament voted for the end of the Third Republic. The republican system was abolished, and the French State, with Philippe Pétain at its helm as Head of State, replaced it. Only 80 of the 600 members of Parliament voiced their opposition. Starting from this date, Vichy would be, for more than four years, the de facto capital of the French State. Paris was still the official capital. This government is often called the Vichy Regime. The term "Vichyste," which designates partisans of this regime, should not be confused with "Vichyssois" which designates the inhabitants of the city. The latter term is sometimes used erroneously to designate Pétain's supporters.
Reine des villes d'eaux
The 1950s and 1960s would become the most ostentatious period for Vichy, complete with parading personalities, visits from crowned heads (The Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech, Prince Rainier of Monaco) and profits from a massive influx of North African French clients who holidayed in Vichy, spending lavishly. There were thirteen cinemas (which sometimes showed special previews), eight dance halls and three theatres. It was at this period that the station would take the title of "Reine des villes d'eaux" (Queen of the Spa Towns).
From June to September, so many French-Algerian tourists were arriving that it almost seemed like there was an airlift set up between Vichy-Charmeil and the airports of Algeria. Mayor Pierre Coulon (1950–1967) decided to create Lake Allier (June 10, 1963) and Omnisports Park (1963–68), giving the city its current look.
Decline of Vichy
The war in Algeria, which led to decolonization, marked once again a halt in the prosperity of this city, which from then on had to deal with much less favorable conditions. The need to continue to pay the debts incurred by the considerable investments that had been made in more prosperous times obligated the new mayor, Jacques Lacarin (1967–1989), the successor of Pierre Coulon, to adopt a much more careful policy of management.
Claude Malhuret, former Minister of Human Rights, born in Strasbourg in 1950, has been mayor since 1989. He and Bernard Kouchner are the co-founders of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). The City and its economic partners started and concluded an important program of restoration and modernization. These projects include:
- creation of a vast pedestrian zone in the city centre,
- a program of modernization,
- upgrading of hotels to the sector standards,
- rebuilding and restoration of the thermal baths,
- organization of a balneotherapy center dedicated to well-being,
- development of the architectural heritage,
- construction of a congress center within the old Casino, and
- restoration of the Opera.
- rebuilding of the covered market, called "Grand Marché" (2006)
- restoration of the train station and sourroundings. (2009)
- restoration of the "Rue de Paris", a main street in the city center. (2010)
|since March 1989||Claude Malhuret||UMP||Doctor|
|September 1967 to March 1989||Jacques Lacarin||Doctor|
|August 1950 to August 1967||Pierre Coulon||Industrialist|
|April 1949 to July 1950||Pierre-Victor Léger||Pharmacist|
|May 1945 to April 1949||Louis Moinard||Trader|
|August 1944 to May 1945||Jean Barbier||Director of College|
|May 1929 to August 1944||Pierre-Victor Léger||Pharmacist|
|December 1919 to May 1929||Louis Lasteyras||Journalist|
|May 1912 to November 1919||Armand Bernard||Shareholder|
|May 1900 to May 1912||Louis Lasteyras||Journalist|
|21 May 1893 to 20 May 1900||Ferdinand Debrest||Pharmacist|
|15 May 1892 to 21 May 1893||Gabriel Nicolas||Lawyer|
|June 1879 to May 1892||Georges Durin||Lawyer|
|January to September 1878||Alfred Bulot||Lawyer|
|1876 to 1878||Antoine Jardet||Doctor|
|1874 to 1876||Ernest Jaurand||Doctor|
|1870 to 1874||Antoine Jardet||Doctor|
|15 September 1865 to 9 September 1870||Joseph Bousquet||Lawyer|
|7 May 1860 to 15 September 1865||Norbert Leroy||Notary|
|7 May 1857 to 7 May 1860||Antoine Guillermen||Hotel owner|
|20 August 1853 to 7 May 1860||Victor Noyer||Surgeon|
|August 1848 to 1853||Victor Prunelle||Doctor and Waters inspector|
|1843 to 1848||Claude Ramin-Prêtre||Hotel owner|
|1833 to 1842||Christophe Bulot||Shareholder|
|1831 to 1832||Louis Chaloin||Hotel master|
|1822 to 1831||Baron Lucas||Doctor and Waters inspector|
|26 October 1815 to 1822||Antoine Fouet|
|21 May 1815 to 26 October 1815||Jean-Joseph Gravier|
|17 March 1814 to 21 May 1815||Antoine Fouet|
|1809 to 10 March 1814||Godefroy de Bardon|
|29 March 1805 to 1809||Gilbert Chocheprat|
|November 1802 to 29 March 1805||Godefroy de Bardon|
|13 July 1800 to November 1802||Louis-Antoine Sauret|
|1798 to 1800||Jean-Joseph Gravier Du Monceau|
|1791 to 1795||Jean-Joseph Gravier Du Monceau|
|2 February 1790 to 13 November 1791||François-Claude Chocheprat|
The city was first noted for its thermal cures in Roman times. Its waters come from springs, including the Vichy Celestins and Vichy Saint-Yorre.
Vichy Pastilles (made in Vichy) are octagon-shaped candies made from soda contained in the spring waters.
The health and beauty business, with the laboratories of the L'Oréal company, also make it possible to publicize the city's name to a worldwide audience under the Vichy brand. (This French website discusses the history of this brand.)
Unlike the neighbouring communes on the Allier, such as industrial Montluçon and administrative seat Moulins, Vichy's economy is centred on the tertiary sector, with companies like the Compagnie de Vichy developing the health and well-being sector to mitigate the decline of medical hydrotherapy. The local market, open on Sundays, attracts shoppers from tens of kilometres around.
The closing of two important local employers, the Manurhin company and the Sediver company, has reduced employment in the Vichy basin. Job creation by developing companies such as the NSE electronics company or the Satel call center company does not probably compensate for the removal of jobs which will result from this, despite the Internet tour operator Karavel's (www.promovacances.com) establishment of a new call center in May 2005.
Nevertheless, the three most important employers of the city belong to the public sector; the hospital (1120 employees), the town hall (720) and the college of Presles (370).
Since 1989 Vichy has been one of the 7 sites of the European Total Quality Institute (Institut Européen de la Qualité Totale).
Pôle University and Lardy Technology, born from a project of thermal waste land rehabilitation and launched during the mid-nineties, is an economic priority. This 9,000 m2 (2.2 acres) campus accommodates 600 students in the downtown area, in ten areas of study including the fields of biotechnology, international trade, multi-media and languages. The CAVILAM (Centre of Live Approaches to Languages and the Media), created in Vichy in 1964, is now installed with Pôle-Lardy.
The Palace of the Congresses is a venue primarily for the conferences of trade associations and learned societies. The structure is 1,800 m2 (19,000 sq ft) in area, including two plenary rooms and fifteen multi-use rooms. With 25,000 visitors yearly, the conferences must now carry the economic role once held by the hydrotherapy, which today counts only 12,000 patients each year. The hydrotherapy business will now have to reorganise itself to take a less strict therapeutic-only role, and re-orient itself for patients' stays shorter than the traditional 3 weeks.
Under the authority of the local communities, much work is being done on building sites and projects, which will deeply modify Vichy in the years to come. The construction by the Hotel of the Community of Agglomeration in September 2005 on the old site of the "Commercial City" may precede the total restoration of the market hall (which would cost €5.9 Million) which would be delivered in September 2006. Other projects include the creation of a 12,000 m2 (130,000 sq ft) mother-child centre in the hospital complex, the restoration of the spa façade (removal of the metal boarding to uncover the original style of 1862), the transformation of the spa into a multi-use center, creation of parks with fountains in place of parking lots, the demolition and the transformation of the buildings in a congested area to create an enterprise center intended to create 800 jobs (opening of the site envisioned at the end of 2007), the construction of a new aquatic stadium including 5 basins (initially envisaged to cost €14.3 million but may end up costing €20 Million) whose delivery is envisaged with the autumn 2007, and finally motorway connection in 2011.
Vichy was the birthplace of:
- Valéry Larbaud (1881–1957), Writer
- Albert Londres (1884–1932), Journalist
- Wilfried Moimbe footballer
- Claude Vorilhon, Raël (Born September 30, 1946), Religious Leader of the Raëlian Movement
A wide variety of faiths are practiced. Various Christian denominations such as diverse Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches are found throughout the area along with adherents of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others.
- Catholicism: Presbytère Saint-Louis Saint-Blaise de Vichy (French) at 33 Rue Sainte-Cécile and Presbytère Sainte Jeanne d'Arc at 2 Rue Jeanne d'Arc
- Russian Orthodox Church: the nearby Château de Saint-Hubert in Chavenon
- Calvinism: Église reformée located at 9 Rue de l'Intendance
- Lutheranism: Église Saint-Blaise de Vichy (French) located on the Rue de l'Église
- Judaism: the Synagogue of Vichy located at 2 Bis Rue Maréchal Foch
- Islam: the Mosquée al-Rahma located at 51 Allée des Ailes
- Buddhism: the nearby Pagode Phap Vuong in Noyant-d'Allier
Twin towns – sister cities
- List of spa towns in France
- Vichy France
- Vichy cosmetics
- Communes of the Allier department
- Incident At Vichy
- "Vichy". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
- vichyste on French Wiktionary.
- « À Vichy que don Vicente Blasco Ibanez a comparé à Babylone, et (le ciel nous épargne, Vicaldiens, mes frères) à Sodome et Gomorrhe, à Vichy, tout passe et Vichy même. » Allen. 1927, in Tillinac, Denis (1986). Vichy. Éditions Champ Vallon. p. 113.
- Walters, V. (1957). The Cult of Mithras in the Roman Provinces of Gaul. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill. p. 287. ISBN 9789004040144.
- "Données climatiques de la station de Vichy" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Climat Auvergne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Normes et records 1961-1990: Vichy-Charmeil (03) - altitude 249m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "En avion" [By avion] (in French). Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- Dauzat, Albert; Rostaing, Charles (1963). Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieux en France [Etymological dictionary of names of locations in France] (in French). Paris: Guénégaud.
- "List of mayors of Vichy". francegenweb.org (in French). Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Carteret, Alain. "Ils ont fait Vichy [They made Vichy]" (in French). Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "European Total Quality Institute" (in French). Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- (in French)
- (in French)
- http://www.masjid-al-rahma.fr (in French)
- "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vichy.|
- Official website (in French)
- "Vichy". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
- "Vichy". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.