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The Genuine Spa

Spa treatments have existed in Belgium since the dark and celtic ages. Spa in Southern Belgium is in fact the place after which all spas in the world have been named. The region where Spa is located is renowned for the quality and diversity of its natural spring, and if you need a genuine and healthy break, you should head to these places where getting your sparkle back is taken very seriously by the local experienced people, for centuries.

History Pliny the Elder, who lived in the first century, made the first reference to the town when he mentioned the Sparsa Fontana in his 37-volume Natural History, a work that aimed to set forth in detail all the contents of the entire world.

In the first half of the 16th century the town became famous as a health resort after Henry VIII, who was occupying the city of Tournai at the time, championed the curative powers of Spa's waters. Royalty (among them Charles II and Peter the Great of Russia), statesmen and aristocrats from all over Europe flocked to the town in search of an elixir, and by the 18th century such was the flow of well-heeled visitors that Spa became known as “The Café of Europe.”

In the 19 th century, so many of these visitors were British that some of the streets were given very British-sounding names, such as Avenue du Lawn Tennis and Route du Balmoral, and one of its 200 springs was named after the Duke of Wellington who frequented the town along with Disraeli. British gamblers even had their own casino, The Vauxhall, and one of the luxury hotels of the day was the Hôtel Britannique, where James Joyce once stayed.

Today, Spa is still famous for its waters, some which are bottled and available in UK supermarkets in the forms of the blue bottled Spa Reine, or the red-bottled sparkling Barisart, but it is also receiving a lot of attention for its recently built Thermes de Spa, an ultra-modern thermal centre located on the top of a hill directly overlooking the picturesque town.

For more information visit: www.thermesdespa.com

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Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia 217 Marsh Wall London E14 9FJ Tel: 0207 531 0390 info@belgiumtheplaceto.be