Around France

French Thermal Spa: The Cure

Of all the places the Barefoot Blogger has wandered, a trip to a French thermal spa for a cure has to be the most relaxing… and French! I’m pretty sure I was the only person at the resort who was from outside France. I was certainly the only one not speaking French.

On the afternoon of the second day of the “French spa tour and cure,” Nevenka and I arrived at the Sourcéo resort in Saint-Paul-Les-Dax just in time to meet with the site physician. Before leaving on the spa excursion, I was required to bring a letter from my doctor stating I had no serious condition that would kill me while taking a cure. He had to note a reason for a cure, as well. Since I’m in good health, fortunately, we choose “phlebology.” Improving my circulation certainly couldn’t hurt.

The doctor at the resort seemed satisfied with my credentials, and I received his stamp of approval to participate in the “cure”. After unpacking the car and sorting out our belongings at our hotel apartment, we reported to the appointment center to receive our daily schedules.

French thermal spa cure

Sourcéo Thermal Spa, Saint Paul les Dax

French Thermal Spa Cure

My thermal spa assignment was to spend six days with four treatments daily. Each treatment was to last ten to twenty minutes. A body massage was added to the regimen for the last two days. Every day I was given a fresh, clean terrycloth robe which I wore with flip-flops through the treatment area and to the swimming pools.

Here’s how I spent each day, but first, a little primer. (Click on photos for captions.)

Treatment #1: Bain carbo-gazeux- “Bath in cold Perrier”

I’m not kidding. Every morning I was immersed in a bath filled with cold, bubbly mineral water. Talk about getting your circulation going. If it hadn’t been for the cheerful assistant who helped me in and out of the tub, it would have been murder.

Duration: 10 minutes

Treatment #2″ Mobilisation en Piscine – “Water Aerobics”

This was aerobics of the simplest kind. Merely moving and stretching in a warm pool. It was a welcomed next step after freezing in bubbly mineral water. 

Duration: 20 minutes

Treatment #3: Hydro Massage – “Bath in bubbly hot water (36 degrees C, 98 degrees F)

Yes, it was hot and bubbling and absolutely divine. I could have stayed in the tub for days. But no … 10 minutes only.

Duration: 10 minutes

Treatment #4: La Pelotherapie – Boue = “Mud Bath”

This was the crazy good part of the cure. It was not a mud bath, but a “wallow.” First, I had to disrobe, then enter a private cabin where the attendant plopped 3 huge mounds of gooey mud on a table covered with plastic wrap. I sat on the table just below the last plop of mud. The attendant spread a healthy glob of mud on my upper back, then I reclined onto the aforementioned piles of mud. “Squish.” The attendant, wearing an apron, mud boots, and long rubber gloves, then stacked mud on my shoulders, my knees, my feet, and on my thighs. To keep the mud on my thighs in place, the attendant stuck my hands firmly into the mud on each thigh and slapped more mud on each hand. Next, she applied dripping wet, cold cloths on my forehead, chest, and on the shins of my legs. She wrapped me in the plastic I was lying on, leaving me alone to sweat. In hot mud– 46 degrees C or 117 degrees F. Halfway through the treatment, the attendant came to see if I was alive and to wet the cloth on my head with more cold water. When the time was up, the attendant returned to the room and removed much of the mud from my body. I was left to wash off the rest under the warm shower in the room’s far corner. She hosed me off from the back and then disappeared into a back room. She quickly returned, holding a warm sheet which she wrapped around me. Slipping back into my terrycloth robe, I was done. Literally.

Duration: 15 minutes

Massage personnalisé – Personalized body massage

French Thermal SpaA luxurious massage was added to my regimen during the last three days of the “cure.” It couldn’t have been more welcomed after a mud bath. I’ve never been a big fan of massages, but this masseuse made me believe. Perhaps I enjoyed it because I was already so relaxed. Whatever the reason, I needed to be reminded more than once that my time was up.

Duration: 10 minutes

French Thermal Spa Activities

There were plenty of activities we could have joined at the spa, such as Pilates, sophrology, hypnotism, dietetic consultations, and all types of water therapies. If we hadn’t planned to make side trips to the exotic places nearby, we would have had plenty to do.

Stay tuned for day trip highlights… Biarritz, Bayonne and San Sebastián

13 replies »

  1. Oh this made me smile. We’ve been a couple of times now just for a 2 day cure in Saintes Marie de la Mer. You’ve captured the experience so well. It’s a whole other definition of spa treatment isn’t it.

    • I had no idea there was a “cure” in Saintes Marie de la Mer. It’s so much closer I’ll have to check it out. Although I’m already looking forward to another visit to the Pyrenees. You might want to visit St. Paul le Dax. Thanks for writing, Claire.

    • Actually, the med Bath was very relaxing…but messy! Everyone should try it st least once in your life. Better than immersion! Thanks for the note, Carolyne🍷

  2. Deborah you and Nevenka must be more beautiful than ever and totally relaxed. The description makes it a must for anyone reading this blog. I can hardly wait to get to the rest of the cure. The pictures on Instagram of the side trips are wonderful and can’t wait to see them in your blog or the description of the villages. Great job and now I really want to get back to France.

    • We’re waiting for your return. Wish you were here for Christmas Markets in Alsace next week. More fun on the way!

  3. Cures seem to be so popular in France & having read your post, I can understand why! I’m just wondering if they’re terribly expensive or worth every penny or euro!

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