On the heights overlooking the city of Clermont-Ferrand, Royat-Chamalières is an elegant spa town which rises in terraces up the slopes of La Tiretaine valley. It is located on the western stretch of La Limagne Fault and owes its springs to this location. La Tiretaine slopes down from the granite plateau which bears the Dôme mountains. The river cut gorges through it. At many points, it cascades down in waterfalls, lending the resort a picturesque charm.
The Romans discovered the health benefits of the springs and named the place Rubiacum (in reference to the red pozzolana). In the 19th century, the medical profession and tourist industry descended and transformed the little Auvergne village into a temple to hydrotherapy. In 1856, Napoleon III himself came to open the new thermal baths, observing his wife, Empress Eugénie, had lent her name to the most famous of the town’s springs. Thenceforth, Royat became famous for the treatment of cardiovascular problems, as well as for rheumatology. The town, which has Saint-Léger church at its heart, extends up the slopes and along the road descending to Clermont.
Royat-Chamalières is the only thermal spa town in Auvergne and the leading French spa for treating rheumatism, heart disease and arterial disease. However, the town may also be visited for its elegant homes. Mansions and villas punctuate Boulevard Barrieu and Avenue de Royat, all the way to Bourg de Chamalières.
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