10 incredible places to pamper yourself in France

We all know that taking care of your body is good for your mind, so it makes perfect sense to pamper yourself in beautiful surroundings that set your mind free to wander and stimulate all five of your senses. Exceptional thalassotherapy, cocooning spas, characterful hotels... From the tip of Brittany to the Alpine peaks via the lush greens of Alsace and the good life in Provence, we invite you to kick back and refresh body and mind in some of France's most incredible and little-known places.

The most historic: the Royal Hainaut Spa & Resort Hotel in Valenciennes

First impressions: the entrance courtyard is every bit as majestic and flamboyant as you would expect from an 18th century royal residence. Next comes the enormous contemporary glazed entrance and roof that flood the building with light and open onto a succession of blue stone arches... In the Hauts-de-France city of Valenciennes, the ultra-baroque, ultra-chic 4-star Royal Hainaut Spa & Resort Hotel telescopes history into a serene present. Beneath the historic arched and vaulted roof of the 1,200 m² spa, the turquoise waters of a magnificent pool invite you irresistibly to dive in for a rejuvenating bathing experience at precisely the right temperature. The care products by Omnisens and Mademoiselle Saint-Germain embody the natural cosmetics ethos in tandem with French style. Superb!

Royal Hainaut Spa & Resort (External link)

The highest vantage point: The 5-star Altapura in the Alpine resort of Val Thorens

At 2,300 metres altitude in the French Alps, the 5-star Altapura sets the bar very high with its 1,000+ m² Pure Altitude Spa at the foot of the Val Thorens ski slopes. This special spa is all about muscle relaxation, physical preparation and recovery. To get in peak shape, the Igloo is a pure delight with its indoor/outdoor pool facing the mountain known as the Cime de Caron, and Nordic Spiral, an invigorating treatment journey that alternates dry and humid heat, punctuated by waterfall showers. To complete the experience, you really need to finish in the Igloo... with an icy snow rub. Phew... by this time, you really will have deserved some reassuring comfort, which is exactly what you’ll find in one of the spa's 7 treatment cabins, with views over the slopes. So... ready to get back on your skis?

L'Altapura (External link)

The most invigorating: Le Domaine de Rochevilaine in Brittany

Perched on the steep rocky coastline of Pen Lan point, not far from the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, Le Domaine de Rochevilaine exerts an immediately and irresistibly seductive attraction. The beauty of this location, the omnipresent ocean, the sophistication of the surroundings... Everything about this Breton Relais & Châteaux hotel conspires to persuade you to press pause to experience the invigorating sea air. The panoramic views from the bedrooms and the speciality seafood restaurant immediately put you at ease. But what about the marine spa just along the cliff? Completely re-looked in Phoenician style as a tribute to the great travellers of history, with a Moorish lounge and Aztec patio, you can wander between the 30°C heated pool, the sauna, hammam and aqua-circuit, as your eyes track the waves lapping the shore.

Domaine de Rochevilaine (External link)

The most outstanding: the Waldorf Astoria-Trianon Palace in Versailles

Imagine thermal baths of antiquity just a stone's throw from the Palace of the Sun King in Versailles... a 2,800 m² sanctuary dedicated entirely to beauty, relaxation and fitness. Hosted in the prestigious Waldorf Astoria-Trianon Palace Hotel, the Guerlain Spa occupies a dreamlike setting that combines Roman architecture with a vast indoor pool inspired by Greek culture and contemporary design. In these timelessly soothing surroundings, you can luxuriate in one of the 14 private cabins as you receive treatments that can only be described as aesthetic excellence. Energising Escape, Imperial Cocoon or Ultimate Experience, the Guerlain signature is the ultimate guarantee of the treatments on offer here. Perfect for reigniting your natural radiance and recharging your energy in beautiful natural surroundings just 20 minutes from Paris.

Trianon Palace (External link)

The most natural: the Hostellerie La Cheneaudière & Spa in Alsace

Deep in nature, between the valleys and dense forests of the border between Alsace and the Vosges mountains, the Hostellerie La Cheneaudière & Spa is a Relais & Châteaux resort famous for its family welcome, fine dining cuisine and amazing 2,500 m² Nature Spa. Four pools, five saunas (one glazed and on stilts), a large hive/hammam, wooden tub, micro-bubble beach, sensory showers... Not forgetting Europe's largest flotarium (a pool that contains 4 tons of Epsom salts to create an amazing sensation of free floating)... A sensory experience that may well leave you speechless...

Hostellerie La Cheneaudière & Spa (External link)

The most thermal: the Vichy Célestins Spa Hotel in the Auvergne

Water, yes, but not just any water! The water that flows from Vichy and makes this Auvergne spa town one of the most famous in France. The best place to take full advantage of its many benefits is the Vichy Célestins Spa Hotel, with its Art Deco architecture and exceptional setting in the Parc Napoleon III with its centenarian trees and superb views over the lake and the Vichy golf course. This 5-star hotel is home to Europe’s largest thermal spa, an open, tranquil and beautifully bright 7,500 m² wellness space beneath a glass dome on the grand scale. This is the place to pamper yourself with the Signature Vichy thermal water treatments, the mineralising treatments of the Institut des Laboratoires Vichy and a giant bath of thermal spa water... The choice is entirely yours.

Vichy Célestins Spa Hôtel (External link)

The most delicious: the Relais Bernard Loiseau, in Burgundy

Surely the Relais Bernard Loiseau needs no further introduction? This exquisite Burgundian residence at the edge of the Morvan forest is an exceptional destination by any measure, and a member of Relais & Châteaux. Its breakfast room is a listed monument in its own right, its lounges and bedrooms all have views over the magnificent gardens, and a restaurant that keeps the legacy of Michelin 3-star chef Bernard Loiseau very much alive. Enough? OK! Because we mustn’t overlook the major attraction of this hotel: the Villa Loiseau des Sens, a 1,500 m² spa on 4 levels boasting a multitude of pools and saunas, as well as water bikes, an ice fountain and a marine air cabin. Your multisensory experience is guaranteed!

Relais Bernard Loiseau (External link)

The closest to the sea: the Grand Hôtel Thalasso & Spa in the Basque Country

1,000 m² of superbly designed and decorated spa beneath an elegant stone vaulted roof where natural daylight reveals the stylish use of exotic woods, shells, pebble fountains and iridescent blue curtains... Barely a stone's throw from the Grande Plage, this spa is so close to the Atlantic Ocean, and seems to have an osmotic relationship with it. The Loréamar spa at the Grand Hôtel Thalasso & Spa in Saint-Jean-de-Luz richly deserves the ‘Best Spa Hotel in the World - Global Winner Luxury Spa Hotel’ award it received in 2019. The beautiful heated indoor seawater pool with underwater music, and the 20 treatment cabins bathed in soft daylight are particularly irresistible.

Grand Hôtel Thalasso & Spa (External link)