Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Vichy

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VICHY, a town of France, in the department of Allier, is situated on the right bank of the Allier, 227 miles by rail south-south-east from Paris and 6 south of St Germains-de-Fossés, where the railway lines to Lyons and Nîmes separate. The population in 1881 was 8322, and in 1886 10,072.

EB9 Vichy.jpg
Plan of Vichy.


Vichy owes its importance to its mineral waters, which were celebrated in the time of the Romans. Within the town or in its immediate vicinity there are 21 springs, 12 of which are state property (4 of these obtained by boring). The waters of those which are outside the town are brought in by means of aqueducts. The most celebrated and frequented are the Grande Grille, L'Hopital, the Célestins, and Lardy. The most copious of all, the Puits Carré, is reserved for the baths. All these, whether cold or hot (maximum temperature, 113° Fahr.), are largely charged with bicarbonate of soda (see Mineral Waters, vol. xvi. p. 435); some also are chalybeate and tonic. The waters, which are limpid, have an alkaline taste and emit a slight odour of sulphuretted hydrogen. They are recommended in cases of stomachic and liver complaint, also for diabetes, gravel, and gout. The thermal establishment, begun in 1787, is capable of supplying 3500 baths a day. The company by which the state baths are farmed also manufactures pastilles, barley-sugar, and digestive chocolate, as well as salts for artificial baths. A considerable trade is carried on in the natural waters. In addition to the principal establishment, Vichy has a hospital bath, the hydropathic establishments of Lardy and Larbaud, and a large military hospital, founded in 1843. Cusset (5356 inhabitants in 1886), chief-lieu of the canton, about 1 mile distant, has similar mineral waters and a bathing establishment. Vichy possesses a casino and two public parks. The promenade commands a splendid view of the mountains of Auvergne. At Vichy, Cusset, and in the neighbourhood there are cotton cloth manufactures (toiles de Vichy).