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The Sainte-Marguerite thermal springs

A former spa

Known since Antiquity and frequented until the French Revolution, the springs of Saint-Marguerite underwent new development in 1840 with the construction of a small 30-room spa, equipped with bathing cubicles that were supplied by a hot spring. Water catchments were built and refreshment rooms were created, sometimes in unexpected shapes, like the « grotto » at the Valois spring. In 1870, to meet growing demand, new hotels were built and visitor numbers rose rapidly to 600 per day. But this success was short-lived. The sale of the springs by auction, ordered by a court in 1889, put an end to the small Sainte-Marguerite spa.
Shortly afterwards, a new chapter began, with the sale of mineral water from the springs that supplied the former spa. Initially sold for its medicinal virtues, the water was subsequently targeted toward everyday consumption by local customers. In 1929, the site was industrialised and production increased rapidly, reaching almost 295,000 bottles in 1932. In 1995, the factory was bought by a major retailer, who built a new production unit to the east of the main road.

Image captions

  • View of the spa and one of the refreshment rooms, on the right
  • The spa hotel was located in the heart of a vast landscaped park planted with trees.
  • The Valois spring grotto, a favourite spot for souvenir photographs
  • At Sainte-Marguerite, a ferry used to cross the Allier river

Margot fountain

Situated 500 metres to the east of the spa site, on the old road leading to Lissac, this monumental fountain, supplied by a spring that purportedly never dries up, was once the only way for the inhabitants of Lissac to get water in times of drought.
According to tradition, Marguerite de Valois quenched her thirst there whilst walking near to Saint-Maurice.
Born in 1553, daughter of Henri II, King of France and Catherine de Médicis, and married in 1872 to Henri de Navarre, the future Henri IV, King of France, the woman later known as Queen Margot was exiled to Auvergne, to the Château d’Usson, from 1586 to 1605.

Image captions

  • Margot fountain
  • Stairs leading to the Fontaine Margot ravine
  • Portrait of Marguerite de Valois, circa 1571 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)


More information on www.tourism.mondarverne.com