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Flew down to Perpignan for a fleeting visit to some lesser known (to UK visitors) French spas. What a tonic to exchange London’s rain for the blue skies and warm sunshine of south east France. After picking up our hire car, we headed west into the foothills of the...

French spa gems

Flew down to Perpignan for a fleeting visit to some lesser known (to UK visitors) French spas.

What a tonic to exchange London’s rain for the blue skies and warm sunshine of south east France. After picking up our hire car, we headed west into the foothills of the Pyrenees and the tiny spa village of Molitg-les-Bains, where we were having dinner and an overnight stay at the historic Chateau de Riell. A visit to the adjoining thermal spa was planned for the following morning.

We were delayed by the rush-hour traffic in Perpignan. No sooner had we arrived at the Chateau, than instead of being shown to our rooms, we were asked to grab our swimsuits and go immediately to the spa in the nearby Grand Hotel. Apparently, our treatments had been rescheduled and the spa was staying open late specially for us.

A great privilege to have the spa entirely to ourselves – and such an interesting and historic one too with smiley helpful therapists, who despite not speaking English made us feel very special and cared for. Any tiredness from the journey was soon forgotten as we soaked first in deep marble baths in individual marble cabins then relaxed in two large warm pools – one with massage jets and thermal water and the other with bouyant white clay, in which we floated like white ghosts for about 15 minutes. After showering it was back to the marble cabins for a relaxing facial treatment before dressing and returning refreshed and invigorated to the Chateau de Riell for a spectacular  dinner on a beautifully set table next to a cosy log fire.  Amazing food, wine and company!

Our rooms in the Chateau are nothing short of spectacular! Accessed via a narrow winding staircase covered in an exotic zebra print carpet, they are vast and sumptuously furnished with vast comfortable beds, heavy drapes and massive shuttered windows with views over the village and down the valley towards the Canigou mountain. I just love the unique charm and character of this part of France!

Chateau de Riell, Molitg-des-Bains

Chateau de Riell, Molitg-des-Bains

2 Comments

  1. Wow! The chateau and the nearby spa sound wonderful – hopefully I might get an opportunity to visit it for myself one day, but in the meantime you described it so beautifully, I already feel as though I was there for a short while! Thank you so much!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the brief outline of the trip, Rosie. The Pyrenees Orientales is such a beautiful and relatively undiscovered part of France, with so much to offer the visitor including a sunny climate and pretty countryside. There are several other spa villages offering thermal waters and treatments waiting to be explored and the city of Perpignan is well worth visit too.

    I can’t recommend it highly enough. Our Ryanair flight from Stansted was at a convenient time and punctual.

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