Step inside eastern France's go-to wellness resort...
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that probably a solid 7/10 people don’t know that Evian is in fact a place, not just a bottled water company.
But not only is the picturesque town of Rhône-Alpes just a stone’s throw from the Swiss border, Évian-les-Bains is eastern France’s go-to green spot for all things wellness. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and it couldn’t be more different to city life in the UK.
And when you consider the recent King’s College London findings that just looking at trees or the sky or hearing birdsong can boost your mood for as much as four hours afterwards, now is as good as any time to visit Lake Geneva’s Évian Resort.
Here are five things you can do in Évian that make it a must-visit on any travel addict’s radar.
Get outdoorsy in the mountains or on the golf course
Grab your walking boots, drive up through the postcard-worthy mountains and on a clear day you’ll find panoramic views that make an exhausting hike totally worth it; head out walking with a guide or, for the more experienced hikers, go it alone. (You’ll also spot the mountains displayed on every bottle of Evian mineral water, FYI).
The Évian Resort is also particularly famous for its golf, so you can work on your game in the beautiful green surroundings whether you’re a total beginner or fancy yourself as the next Tiger Woods.
Rejuvinate your senses in a thermal spa
If you’re not an outdoorsy type, Évian will perhaps suit your needs even better. Exquisite thermal spas offering Hamams, Saunas and treatments aplenty make the Spa Évian Source the destination for relaxation and unwinding.
If you favour restoration over relaxation, pop down to Les Thermes, which uses water straight from Évian’s springs in all its treatments. Drain your body’s toxins with a ‘massage under the rain’ or clear out your system in the sauna.
Stay in exquisite five-star hotels
Évian boasts a number of beautiful hotels, but the Hôtel Royal is the jewel in the crown. Recently awarded palace status, rooms overlook the beautiful lake itself with a ton of greenery in the grounds, while the hotel is also home to one-Michelin-star restaurant, Les Fresques.
The interiors are decked out with a modern colour scheme and furniture, offering comfort and aesthetic pleasure, the food in the main restaurant is delicious and no request is too taxing for the welcoming and friendly staff. It’s more than just a hotel, it’s an experience.
Dine on Michelin-star eats
Évian’s Les Fresques restaurant was recently awarded its first Michelin star in this year’s guide, something that everyone who visits will agree is thoroughly deserved. Situated in the resort’s Hôtel Royal, every little detail has been carefully considered, from the extensive wine list to the fera fish caught from the lake, and the mirror covering the menu enabling you to inspect the ceiling’s les fresques without cricking your neck.
The intimate menu has something for everyone, whether you have carnivorous tastes suited to fillet of beef, or you have a sweet tooth reveling in the desserts celebrating various sweet treats.
Find out where your bottled water really comes from
Wander through the old-world French town centre and you’ll be signposted in the direction of Le Source Cachat, a purpose built fountain from which you can drink Évian mineral water directly from the ground. It’s just about as fresh as you can get when it comes to drinking water.
While you’re in town, be sure to stop off at one of the local cheese shops to pick up some Abondance – made from milk from the cows that roam the Évian mountains.
Rooms at Hôtel Royal are available from 249€ (approx. £221) per night, based on two adults sharing a Séjour Park View room on a room-only basis. For bookings, call +33 450 26 85 00 or email firstname.lastname@example.org