Water cities: 8 wellness stops to reconnect with nature

Do you fancy relaxing to the rhythm of nature while enjoying the benefits of thermal waters? At the foot of the mountains, in the middle of the forest or on the banks of a river, all opportunities are good to combine a wellness cure and gentle activities for a sustainable vacation stay. Here are the top places to find your peace and disconnect.

Detox from apple orchards to forests in Bagnoles de l'Orne (Normandy)

In the heart of the Normandy bocage, live to the rhythm of apple trees, the sacred tree of Normandy! In Bagnoles-de-L'Orne, with the special "Detox" week, you will benefit from the virtues of thermal treatments based on active apple ingredients rich in polyphenols (such as a body scrub with Poméol fruit paste) before embarking on an oxygenating walk in the Andaines forest: this water city is also a real outdoor resort nestled in the heart of 7000 hectares of greenery! Trails, Nordic walking, mountain biking or gravel... With more than 450 kilometres of marked trails, you can alternate nature activities in complete peace of mind, everything is accessible in a few minutes, including markets, local producers and starred restaurants to get your strength back.

"Detox week" with free half-board and oxygenating walk in the forest (External link)

Walk with the Pottoks, river descent and relaxation break in Cambo-les-Bains (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

A mild and sunny microclimate and fragrant gardens. At the foot of the Pyrenean foothills and a few kilometres from the Atlantic coast, Cambo-Les-Bains is the only water city in the Basque Country and an oasis of well-being and soft activities. To soak up nature, go to Ainhoa, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, for a hike in the company of flocks of sheep and pottoks, the typical ponies of the region: the balcony path offers a dazzling panorama of Spain, the Nivelle valley, the Rhune mountain and even the Atlantic Ocean in the distance! You will be able to relax by dipping into the wellness programs of the thermal center, a real bubble of zenitude nestled in a green park between the chirping of birds and the murmurs of the Nive. The next day, the river awaits you for a breathtaking rafting or hydrospeed descent, an invigorating interlude to be crowned by a visit to Villa Arnaga, the enchanted estate imagined by the writer and playwright Edmond Rostand.

"A 100% disconnection break in the Basque Country!" (External link)

Stroll between lavender fields and the Verdon river in Gréoux-les-Bains (Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur)

A 17th century sheepfold nestled between vineyards and olive groves cultivated in agrobiology? In Quinson, in the heart of the Verdon regional natural park, here is a stopover tailor-made for a nature break in a privileged environment. You can start with an introduction to the scents of Provence by treating yourself to a treatment in the heart of the troglodytic thermal baths of Gréoux-les-Bains: an intense relaxing massage with lavender or a revitalizing bath with rosemary. From the 150 hectares of green spaces of the village nestled at the foot of its medieval castle to the Verdon gorges, an ocean of nature is offered to lovers of wide open spaces. In the summer, you can't miss climbing up to the Valensole plateau when the lavender fields give off their infinite mauve colors.

"Bulle Yoga, Spa & Gorges du Verdon" (External link)

Yoga, cycling & well-being in Amélie-les-Bains (Occitanie)

Kilometers of hiking trails and paths to follow for a trail or a bike ride: a few steps from the Mediterranean creeks, the unspoiled landscapes of the Catalan Pyrenees are a paradise for outdoor activities! To be combined with a fitness program in the cocoon of the thermal center of Amélie-les-Bains. Under the Gallo-Roman vault of the 2nd century (classified as a historical monument), you can explore all the variations around letting go: hatha yoga session or initiation to the Afghan walk, clay bath, relaxation on a hydromassage bed or in the hammam. This is the perfect way to recharge your batteries before getting on an electrically assisted mountain bike to explore the surrounding area: take a ride to Saint-Laurent de Cerdans to discover the industrial heritage of yesteryear between forges and spinning mills, or push on to the nearby Mediterranean. On the way, don't forget to make a detour through the pretty streets of Céret and its famous Museum of Modern Art where the works of Picasso, Chagal, Matisse or Miro will plunge you once again into the heart of the Mediterranean colors.

"Bubble Yoga, Bike-Rando & Wellness in the Mediterranean Pyrenees" (External link)

Rejuvenate at Niederbronn-les-Bains in the heart of Alsace Verte (Grand-Est)

Would you like to dive into the Alsace Verte and reconnect with nature? In the heart of the Vosges, the northern Regional Nature Park, classified as a World Biosphere Reserve, is what the resort of Niederbronn-les-Bains is offering with a special disconnection stay starting in Oberbronn, a typical Alsatian village. After a break in the Galeo spa at Muller Wellness & Spa, in the heart of the virtues of spring water, it's time for a great oxygenation session: you can enjoy an energizing private outing (including an easy 1.5 hour walk) on the theme of reconnecting with nature. The pearl of the Northern Vosges and its generous countryside dotted with sandstone castles, villages with half-timbered houses and old forges, but also flowery meadows, traditional orchards, vineyards and crops will no longer have any secrets for you!

"Disconnect and recharge" (External link)

Hiking, Via Ferrata and relaxation in Digne-les-Bains (Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur)

It is one of the most zen water cities in France! In the heart of the Unesco Geopark of Haute-Provence, Digne-Les-Bains stands out for its exceptional sunshine, healthy air and spring waters renowned for their anti-infectious and analgesic qualities. To be tested between two trips to the mountains, the region is an ideal playground to take a bath in pure nature! Between two relaxation sessions at the Haute Provence thermal spa, between saunas, hammams and pools with 33° thermal water, take advantage of your stay to try the Via Ferrata. Between heaven and earth, nearly 15 apparatus (himalayan footbridge, monkey bridges, Nepalese bridge, ladder, beams...) but also a zip line and information points on the fauna are spread all along the route! Still thirsty for nature? The next day, we take you to contemplate the most beautiful panoramas on the city, the mountain of Cousson and the massif of the Three Bishoprics during a walking tour. The reward? An afternoon of relaxation in the aqualudic space of the thermal baths!

"Rando, Via Ferrata et détente" (External link)

Nature stopover in the Charente estuary in Rochefort (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

In the heart of the Grand Site de France "Estuaire de la Charente-Arsenal de Rochefort", one of the best protected estuaries in Europe, fill up on iodine with a 100% natural stopover. The thermal water of course, rich in iron and magnesium, drawn from a depth of more than 800 meters, but also the water of the estuary. After tasting oysters on the Rochefort market and having lunch in an organic locavore canteen, head for the marshes by bike. With 300 kilometers of soft paths, between the nature reserves of Yves and Moëze-Oléron, Rochefort Océan can be discovered on foot, by bicycle, by kayak or by sailboat. On the way, don't forget to visit the Old School of Naval Medicine, the first of its kind founded in 1722, and the lagoon station. A completely natural treatment center for the agglomeration's wastewater, it is also a choice stopover for many species of aquatic and migratory birds (ducks, herons, waders...). With your binoculars!

"Disconnecting in Rochefort along the river, a nature and relaxation stopover for two! (External link)

Accrobranche and kayak between forest and river in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux (Hauts-de-France)

In the heart of the Scarpe-Escaut Regional Nature Park, a stone's throw from the forest of Raismes, a 5,000-hectare green lung, in the shadow of its abbey tower (82 meters high!), is a city of water (the only one in the Hauts-de-France region) where you can breathe deeply. Between two treatments, a thermal wave hydromassage or a remineralizing bath, you can put on your sneakers to explore the region on foot or by bike following the tracks of the Tour de France and the Paris-Roubaix: an incredible variety of natural activities awaits you at the end of the paths and marked out roads! Accrobranche or climbing trees at Pure Aventure. Zip line in the heart of the Porte du Hainaut Leisure and Nature Park. Kayak, paddle or take electric boat rides on the Scarpe River from the river port. Between forest and river, you will soon feel as light as the ducks and migratory birds that populate the banks!

"A bubble of well-being in the open air"