Right in the heart of France, Vichy (with 25,000 inhabitants in an urban area of 85,700) is renowned for the beneficial effects of its waters. Emperor Napoleon III made it the "Queen of Spa Towns" and turned it into a fashionable resort for the rich and famous.
It is because of this tradition and the town's rich architectural heritage that Vichy was chosen to represent France in "Great Spas of Europe", a transnational effort to get eleven European spa resorts recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A harmonious transition town, Pélussin is the administrative centre of the Pilat Regional Natural Park and the Rhône Valley Pilat community of municipalities. It is located on the edge of the Loire department, the cradle of cycling, and within the Saint-Étienne–Lyon–Valence triangle. The winding roads in Pélussin take visitors through a wide range of landscapes, ranging from the depths of the valley to the 1,365 m Crêt de l'Œillon, from where the Alps can be seen on clear days. At almost seven kilometres long, the steep ascent attracts hikers and cyclists alike.