A magical elixir promising health, beauty, and youth flows through Évian-les-Bains. Malavika Bhattacharya explores Évian-les-Bains, a French town that uncover its ‘forever young’ secrets.
You may not have heard of the town of Évian-les-Bains, but the chances that you haven’t heard of Evian water are negligible. The two are, however, inextricably tied at the elite holiday-and-spa retreat called Evian Resorts’ Hôtel Royal where I was staying—popular for being the very source of the famous natural mineral water credited with healing and restorative properties. Set in the Haute-Savoie region of southeastern France, the town sits cradled between the stunning, snow-capped French Alps and the pristine Lake Geneva. It’s an almost impossibly beautiful location, ideal for resorts to offer luxury thermal treatments— showers, baths, spas—all centred around the fresh spring waters.
On a wintry day, I made my way into the town centre. The streets were lonely as befitted that freezing morning, save for a strange sight: along the way were some locals, dragging empty-bottle-laden carts behind them. I learned later that they were making a beeline for Source Cachat, the town’s most popular mineral water spring, where a stream of Evian water spewed from a spout set against a mosaic-tiled wall. I could imagine people gathering regularly for their free fill of the region’s most famed export, no matter the season. This is the very reason that locals here look much younger than their age. The healing properties are deemed miraculous and tourists can’t have enough as well.
When you step out of this cocoon of luxury to explore the town, you can follow the raindrops embedded in the footpaths to historic edifices like the magnificent Villa Lumière. The sidewalks of the market square nearby are lined with quaint cafés and shops that are perfect stops for a quick break if you’re on a walking tour. The square can be quite deserted during the winter, but if you’re looking for some wintertime delight, it can be found a mere 15 minutes away, in the Alpine slopes. In Évianles- Bains, you’re never far from skiing and snowshoeing. Summer days are filled with long hikes, biking, and watersports on the lake. It’s no surprise that the locals are radiant with good health, thanks to active lifestyles, crisp mountain air, fresh produce, and an endless supply of ‘miraculous’ water—now that’s a recipe that needs to be bottled.