Brides-les-Bains Spa Resort (Alps France)

Brides-les-Bains is a French commune located in the Savoy department, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. Its capital is the village of Brides-les-Bains, located at the bottom of a valley in the Vanoise massif, in Tarentaise. In 2018, there were about 500 local residents. If in the 19th century the municipality was more hydrotherapy, then more recently – skiing thanks to the installation of a cable car connecting the village with the resorts of Méribel and Méribel-Mottaret. Brides-les-Bains was rated as a “classified tourism resort” in 2013.

Brides-les-Bains Spa Resort Alps France

Brides-les-Bains Spa Resort (Alps France)

Brides-les-Bain Story. Since ancient times, this place has been known for its mineral waters.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the archbishops of Moutiers (Moûtiers) used the waters of the village of Bains. It is known that in 1653, and then in 1774, the floods of the Doron de Bozel River (le Doron de Bozel) flooded the springs.
Development of thermal sources.
In 1818, a natural disaster upstream the valley, towards Champagne-en-Vanoise, threw out a huge mass of water, as a result of which a rocky massif appeared, from which a thermal spring began to flow, which made it possible to create a modern resort. Dr. Hybord performed the first analysis of the water and the École des Mines diagnosed water with exceptional properties; The report of Dr. Ducis was eloquent: “Water that relieves ailments, extraordinary in its properties, which can cure everything, including epilepsy, catarrhs, migraines, gout, rheumatism, joint pains and others.” The following year, prominent figures in Savoy, including about thirty people from Moutiers, created the “Compagnie de Bains” with the aim of developing the “Brides” water.
Since 1824, the first hotels have appeared. In 1836 there were already six of them.
Since 1825, at the initiative of Dr. Philbert (Philbert), therapy has been improved and focused on the treatment of obesity. The spa specializing in weight loss is also becoming a “smart woman” resort. In honor of this doctor, one of the springs of Brides-les-Bains now bears his name.
In 1845, the first thermal spa complex with 28 shower baths was opened, designed by the architect Ernesto Melano, to which many members of a good international society began to flock.
In 1846, the Church of La Sols (La Saulce) was destroyed. A new one was built on Brides and consecrated a year later.
In 1857, the village of Les Bains, separated from the village of La Perrière, and the village of Brides, separated from Les Allues, merged into a new municipality: Brides-les-Bains. City of Moutiers buys out Brides Spring (1865)
In the nineteenth century, thermal water was first used to treat all kinds of diseases, then its virtues in the treatment of obesity were revealed. Thus, in the late 1870s, hotels established the first adapted dietary regimes. The resort, developing its infrastructure, is visited by a number of world-famous personalities, such as Queen Elizabeth of Spain, Princess Croy, Princess Bonaparte, Prince Orlov, Marquise de Freycinet, Countess Montgomery, Baron de Rothschild, Countess du Petit-Toire, Baroness Koussoff, Minister Rambeau, publisher Ashett, as well as members of French, British, Italian, Russian, American families, aristocracy and business. In 1874, the Société générale de Tarentaise, which owns the iron and mining companies in the valley (Salins) and which underpins the development of the railway in the valley, bought the spring. In 1893, the city of Moutiers was already connected with the railway.
Thanks to Dr. Laissus’ guide to Tarentaise, we know the main hotel buildings of the resort in 1894: the Grand Hotel des thermes, the Hotel des Baigneurs and many charming guest villas, including the Villa des rose and Villa Left. The casino plays a leading role, it has “reading rooms, pavilions, games”, characters come to catch their “luck” or watch, in addition to beautiful ball bands, comic operas. In 1895 there were six doctors and 1400 clients in the city.
The capacity of Brides exceeds that of its neighbor Salins-les-Thermes. So much so that 4/5 of the latter’s clients stay with Brides. The village develops and becomes a large resort, where the number of patients is a smaller percentage than the number of tourists. In 1924, the casino was expanded, the thermal baths were transformed, and in 1927-28, improvements were made, including a rose garden. A great celebration took place on June 24, 1928, in the presence of Jean Moulin, then Deputy Prefect of Albertville, in the company of Lady Chamberlain, wife of the future Prime Minister of Great Britain. The following year, the crisis of 1929 had a direct impact on the number of visitors to the resort, especially foreign tourists, and this continued until 1936. The Second World War hit thermal and tourist activity again, even if the resort continues to be visited, but this time because of the medicinal drink. In addition, the Casino was closed in 1939, and one part, built in 1924, collapsed.
In the 1950s, the original Derby de la Saulire ski competition allowed the first ski runs down the Allues, arriving at Brides, 2,000 m below. Some visitors to the new Méribel resort also occasionally go down to the village.


In the 1990s, Brides-les-Bains became France’s leading obesity spa.
In 2005, a 1,500 m2 spa dedicated to treatments and wellness was opened to the public.
In 2008, the spa was expanded by 600 m2 to become the “Grand Spa”, including treatment rooms, a private gym, solarium and an open beach area with several summer/winter jacuzzis.
Movie. In 2012, Charlotte de Turkheim’s film So Thin! pays tribute to the city.
In 2018, the TV movie “Meurtres à Brides-les-Bains” with Line Renaud and Patrick Catalifo takes place in and around the city.
Olympic Games in Albertville
In 1992, Brides-les-Bains was chosen as the “Olympic Village” because of its good capacity. The resort experiences the adventures of the Albertville Olympics and offers itself as a gateway to the biggest ski resort in the world: “Les Trois Vallées” (Three Valleys), thanks to the construction of the Olympe cable car. This infrastructure now links it directly to the Méribel resort area and thus allows the development of a new activity. The cost of equipping the premises for these Games is 200 million francs. These investments have resulted in the creation of a new town hall, the renovation of the Grand Hôtel des Thermes, the acquisition and renovation of a casino, the modernization of the city center, the construction of a school, as well as a reception center and animation. In addition, 90 million francs are allocated for the creation of a new spa center managed by the European Society for Thermalism. Finally, 80 million is spent on the construction of the Olympe cable car.

Since 2000, the resort has been a member of the Three Valleys (Trois Vallées) association, along with Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Les Menuires-Saint-Martin and Val Thorens.
Interesting places.

Practical information.
How to get there.

  • Geneva International Airport. Transfer, English speaking driver
  • Lyon-Saint-Exupery airport. Meeting, transfer, sightseeing tours