New-Aquitaine, land of water and wellness

Updated in February 2017 and covers only for the part of the region known as former “Aquitaine”.

Carte des centres de thalassothérapie et les stations thermales en Aquitaine

To enlarge the map, click on the image

Though it was Victor Hugo who wrote, “God created water…,” it is man who has discovered its virtues over the centuries. Referring to water in its very name, the region has known of the benefits of mineral salts and trace elements permeating much of the territory since Antiquity.

Two major advantages make this destination a land of well-being :

1. The composition of the soil, with thermal water sometimes exceptionally rich in peloid (therapeutic mud), makes les Landes the first thermal region in France and Dax the first spa resort by attendance numbers.

2. Its location on the edge of Atlantic Ocean has earned it its reputation as one of the jewels of thalassotherapy in France, along with Biarritz and the Basque coast. Remember that this seaside resort has been popular since the Belle Epoque, in the wake of Empress Eugénie.

Let’s review the differences between hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy and Spa.

Hydrotherapy, uses the healing properties of hot springs.
The treatments are carried out under medical supervision. Today, we are encouraging the diversification of activities by developing well-being tourism and all spas have expanded their offer and also offer short stays in thermal Spas. We are heading for approval Hydrotherapy or thermo-fun.

Thalassotherapy uses the marine environment.
The treatments have a preventive or curative goal and take place under medical supervision. So they must be practiced by the sea.

The spas : Sanitas Per Aqua …  The spa is associated with beauty, wellness, and whirlpool baths for fitness sessions in water heated between 37° and 40° to pamper yourself and relax, for an hour or more, and not only in the city! It’s trendy !

Some background data

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Thermes d'Eugénie-les-Bains

©Thermes d’Eugénie-les-Bains

10 spa resorts :

Cambo-les-Bains (64), Casteljaloux (47), Dax (40, Eaux-Bonnes (64), Eaux-Chaudes (64), Eugénie-les-Bains (40), Préchacq-les-Bains (64), Saint-Paul-lès-Dax (40), Salies-de-Béarn (64), Saubusse-les-Bains (40).

The first region for spas in France, it is welcomed 91,898 spa guests in 2010 and the fifth region by number of establishments  (Source:  National Council of Spa Operators).

Unique in France, all 10 spas in the region have created an Aquitaine thermal cluster  in 2009 which is called AQUI O Thermes. This association brings together a variety of industries, including professionals in hydrotherapy, health and tourism (Source CCIR/Région Aquitaine – L’Aquitaine en chiffres – Portrait Economique – 2011).

One cannot speak of hydrotherapy without mentioning les Landes – indeed, with 72,490 spa guests treated in 2013, les Landes maintains its leading position among spa regions in France. The Dax resort includes 15 establishments or 15% of the national spa market (Source Landes CCI – 2016) and welcomes more than 60% of spa visitors to the region  with 10,000 jobs and a turnover reaching 150 million Euros, see www.thermalisme-landes.fr)

In addition, this activity represents  8% of overnight stays  in the department of Les Landes (Source CCI -Thermalisme in Les Landes – an Economic and Health Opportunity – 2009) .

Therapeutic guidelines for all spas:
Rhumatologies, phlebology, gynecology, respiratory treatment. See details on the different resort websites – see the list at the end.

Thermal groups in the region :

  • “Thermale du Soleil” chain : A world leader, this chain includes three stations in Aquitaine, Cambo-les-Bains, Eugénie-les-Bains and Préchacq-les-Bains. It offers spa treatments, health mini-treatments, and fitness stays.
  • Eurothermes : a specialist in hydrotherapy, thermo fun and wellness, located in Aquitaine in Casteljaloux. Health spa and also well-being stays are focused on tranquility… for a moment of intense and long- lasting relaxation!
  • Valtival or the Compagnie Européenne des Bains, the second largest spa in France, is located in Eaux Bonnes en Béarn.
Massage cranien au centre thalasso Serge Blanco à Hendaye

©Thalasso Serge Blanco

8 thalassotherapy centres :

Anglet (64) Atlanthal complex; Arcachon (33) Thalazur; Biarritz (64) Thalassa Biarritz and Biarritz Thalmar spa, Euronat Grayan-Hospital (33), Hendaye (64) Thalasso Serge Blanco, Saint Jean de Luz (64) Thalazur and Loreamar Thalasso Spa. Not only was thalassotherapy born in France in the twentieth century , today France is the world leader for the offer and quality of its care.

Thalassotherapy represents for winter and summer respectively 3.8% to 3.4% of travel  for all nationalities  (Source:  CRT Aquitaine – 2009) . The centres feature integrated accommodation, mostly luxury hotels or 4 * and 3* luxury hotels. But the supply is diversifying, with a range of services offered à la carte or on weekends, sometimes without accommodation.

Groups specialized in thalassotherapy :

  • Biarritz Thalasso Resort : The Biarritz Thalasso Resort includes two thalassotherapy complexes on the Athlantal to Anglet Basque Coast, and Thalmar Biarritz as well as four 3* and 4* hotels.
  • Thalazur has two centres in Aquitaine, one on the Basque coast in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the other in Gironde Arcachon. Each destination has its treatment specialty.
  • Thalassa Sea & Spa of the Accord Hotels group: the Miramar luxury hotel is located in Biarritz.

Upcoming projects

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  • Spa : opening of the Radisson Blu & Spa in Bordeaux in spring 2018. Consisting of 125 rooms and a spa area of 1500 m². This will include an ice tunnel, sauna and steam room.

Latest developments, trends and treatment offers for 2017

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Les Thermes Jean Nouvel à Dax © OT Dax

Les Thermes Jean Nouvel à Dax © OT Dax

  • Reopening of the Thermes Jean Nouvel in Dax on 11th March 2017, with 90, completely renovated, 3 star studio apartments. The thermal baths maintain their designer and contemporary look, all the while offering the 3000 spa clients expected each year brand new thermal facilities, at the cutting edge in terms of rheumatology and phlebology.
    We can already tell you that an esplanade for pedestrians will be created in partnership with the neighbouring legendary Splendid hotel, a perfect example of Art Deco on the list of Historical Monuments, which is investing 16.5 million Euros to offer a 4 star hotel and spa in 2018.
    Here is a closer look at the latest 2017 treatment offer. There is a range of therapies with a focus on the “free-from” diet, the latest practices based on ancestral holistic treatments – the art of taking care of human beings in their entirety -, learning to live more in harmony with your body, and above all, to say no to pain!
Grand Hôtel Loreamar Spa de St-Jean de Luz

Grand Hôtel Loreamar Spa
©M. LAURIN / CRTA

Slimming with the “free-from” diet

  • Saint Jean de Luz : Grand Hôtel Loreamar, offers a Détox treatment, which gets rid of toxins – dietary excesses or omissions. In addition to the sea water treatments, this therapy is based on the low calorie detox menus, that are gluten and lactose free and propose just one animal protein per day.
  • Hendaye : Thalasso Serge Blanco offers the “Slimming treatment”, a personalised treatment around 3 areas: a balanced diet, specific slimming thalassotherapy treatments and sport. There is also the « Peaceful Nature Treatment » with the support of a naturopath and based on natural therapies and ancestral holistic treatments. avec le soutien d’un naturopathe et à base de thérapies naturelles et de soins holistiques ancestraux.
  • Eugénie Les Bains : « Combating childhood obesity » knowing that obesity affects roughly 1 in 6 children and remains one of the public health challenges of the 21st century. Eighteen treatments days are therefore offered with parents taking part, for example with the diet workshops based on cooking classes.

Say “No to pain”!

  • Saint-Jean-de-Luz : the Grand Hôtel offers aquatic osteopathy sessions in the warm water, effective in the treatment of chronic pain. The treatment is called the “aquatic osteopathy focus”.
  • Hendaye : Serge Blanco offers a  « Physio Range Treatment » for dealing with pain or post-traumatic issues and a « Migraine Prevention » one, able to identify the warning signs of headaches and ease them by responding to them with preventative treatments.
  • Dax : the Domaine thermal de Borda also offers aquatic osteopathy sessions. The work is carried out while weightless and in three dimensions to treat and target the pain identified.
  • La Chaîne Thermale du Soleil offers a « back-ache mini treatment », a hydrotherapy programme with bespoke rheumatology, in order to relax the back muscles and get back a range of motion.

…and for the original side

  • Hendaye : offers the « Surf Therapy », devotees or fans of winter sports will be delighted with this treatment combining thalasso treatments and personalized coaching with a junior surf champion, Marion Bouzigues.

List and contact information of our resorts and wellness centers

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And to end up where we began with the full quote from Victor Hugo: “God created water, man created wine,” although we would add that Les Sources de Caudalie have since created vinotherapy. Started in Bordeaux, the concept has grown and now has several centres in France and abroad. Ah! The French “joie de vivre…”

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