Zen moments in Luxeuil-les-Bains

Luxeuil thermal baths © T. Joly
A spa resort from Eastern France, Luxeuil-les-Bains offers a wide range of treatments in a peaceful atmosphere. The town also boasts a rich Gothic and Renaissance heritage.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- By road
390 km from Paris on autoroutes A4, A5 and A31 till exit 8, then on D417, D96 and N57 till Luxeuil-les-Bains.
- By train
Intercités train from Paris Gare de l’Est till Vesoul or Lure, then bus to Luxeuil-les-Bains. The journey takes about 4 hours.
Le Clos de Rebillotte
Mercure Hexagone
Hotel Beau Site
Hotel Résidence Les Sources.
Résidence Métropole
Le Rallye Gourmand
O Bougnat
Restaurant of the casino
Hotel Beau Site
Mercure Hexagone
Thermes de Luxeuil
Open every day except Sunday
Tel : 0384404422
Lace conservatory
Open Tuesday and Friday from 2pm to 5pm
Admission free
Tel : 0384936111
Musée de la Tour des Echevins
Open May to October, every dy except Tuesday from 2pm to 6pm
Admission : €2.50 / €1
Tel : 0384000007
- Franche-Comté Tourist Office
Tel : 0381250808
- Haute-Saône Tourist Office
Tel : 0384971080
- Luxeuil-les-Bains Tourist Office
Tel : 0384400641
In the North of the Haute-Saône department, slightly off the beaten track, the thermal baths of Luxeuil-les-Bains are not the most well known in France, but certainly among the most beautiful. A classified historical monument made of pink sandstone, the building is one of the finest examples of classical architecture of the late 18th century. At that time, its fame extended all over France and high-ranking nobles came there to take the waters. In addition, inside there are superb Art Deco style mosaic tile pools and frescoes by local painter Jules Adler both made in the 30s during expansion work.

Luxeuil thermal baths © T.Joly
 Springs known since centuries
But the virtues of the waters of Luxeuil-les-Bains are known for much longer. Archaeological excavations have indeed unearthed statuettes showing that the hot springs were already popular with the Celts. Moreover, the first bath complex was erected during the Roman period, according to legend by order of Julius Caesar. Their ruins lie beneath the park surrounding the current buildings.
Rich in trace elements, chlorides, sodium and siliceous, coming out at a temperature of 48 ° to 58 ° C, the waters of Luxeuil-les-Bains have been used since antiquity to treat phlebology related and rheumatic diseases as well as gynaecological disorders.
Reimbursed by the French welfare system, the Securité Sociale, traditional therapies last eighteen days and comprises up to eleven different treatments such as affusion shower, bath, whirlpool shower bath, local shower for hands, forearms or legs, mud wrap, underwater massage, water walking.

Luxeuil thermal baths © T.Joly
 Six to eighteen days therapies
These cares are provided by a team of about twenty people, including four physiotherapists under the supervision of one of the fourteen licensed doctors of the town.
There are also one to six days discovery packages and mini courses of six and twelve days against heavy legs sensation and for young mothers. In recent years, the spa broadened its offering with fitness, wellness and beauty cares. In the afternoon, everyone can access the fitness room, the sauna, and the thermal pool with water at 34 ° C. Installed under a glass-roof, it is equipped with jacuzzi, massage jets, underwater jets and whirlpool baths, hydro-massaging beds and seats and a counter-current swimming area. A relaxation area that never gets never crowded and mainly caters to easing going and friendly local customers, a world apart from the haughty people that are sometimes found in fashionable spas.

Belle Epoque hotel © T.Joly
 Wellbeing cares
It is also possible to attend water aerobics and nutrition courses, to do aquabiking, counter-current walking, anti cellulite palpate and roll, hydromassage bath and hydromassage mattress sessions as well as back and legs comfort cares. As for the beauty treatments, they include hand, foot, body and facial care, body wraps, body scrubs, and different kinds of massage. The tourist office sells at particularly attractive prices packages including hotel, access to the relaxation area of the spa and various treatments. The town also hosts a yearly well-being festival and other events such as concerts, art exhibitions, night markets in summer as well as a music and theatre festival. Like in all spa resorts, there is a casino where you can play poker, blackjack or slots.

Tour des Echevins © T.Joly
 Rich heritage
But Luxeuil-les-Bains is not all about spa and wellbeing. The town also boasts a rich architectural heritage and the neighbourhood surrounding the baths is full of Belle Epoque villas and hotels built in the late 19th century to accommodate the wealthy patients.
There are many ancient monuments as well because the town was for centuries an important religious centre thanks to the abbey founded in the 6th century by famous Irish monk Saint Columban. The current buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries, but St. Peter's Basilica, the former abbey church, retains Gothic elements of the 13th century. It also houses a remarkable 17th century wooden organ case. Began in the late 12th century and remodeled in the 15th, the adjacent cloister is also very beautiful. Near the church, archaeological excavations have unearthed sarcophagi of the 6th and 7th centuries left in situ and visible by everybody. Gallo-Roman kilns have also been found on the town outskirts and the site is open to the public.

François 1st house © T.Joly
 Audio-guided tours
Statues, artefacts and an impressive collection of 2nd century Roman steles found during these excavations are on display in the Archaeological Museum installed in the Tour des Echevins. Also housing paintings by Jules Adler, offering a great panoramic view of the town from its summit, it is one of the many Gothic and Renaissance buildings lining along the main street. The François 1er house, the Bailli house, once the abbey palace, the Cardinal Jouffroy house,…. You can discover all these monuments at your own pace with an audio guide available at the Tourist Office or a MP3 application downloadable on its website. For those interested, Luxeuil-les-Bains is also renowned for lace and a conservatory gives the opportunity to see lace-makers at work and an exhibition of lace works. It also offers lace-making workshops several times a year.

August 03, 2014
Thierry Joly