Lifestyle: Art & CultureThe Unexplorer

The Magic of the Roman Baths at Greoux-les-Bains

Midway through my five magical weeks in Provence with my family, I needed a break. Don’t laugh, but traveling is hard. There’s the culture shock. And speaking French, which we all can, but it’s still pretty taxing. Then I traveled to Italy with my mother and her friend. So, by then, I was tapped out.

We were staying in the teeny town of Pignans, located in the Var. It was nice, but a little too sleepy. I needed something more.

So I took an overnight trip on my own. My parameters were that my destination had to be an hour and a half or less from home by car, and it had to have some sort of relaxation component.

When in Rome (Er, Greoux)

I started my search looking for spas, but what I found was so much more. Once I saw that Greoux-les-Bains was known for its therapeutic Roman baths, I was sold. I booked at hotel (Lou Paradou, if you’re curious, and yes, I highly recommend it), and I was off.

The 1.5 hours was a bit misleading. The last half of the trip was winding around hairpin curves. To make it worse, I was driving a larger-than-normal car (for Europe, anyway), and the French drivers careened around corners into the middle of the road, making me fear for my life. By the time I got to the Roman baths, I was in dire need of a massage.

Wash Away the Stress

Not surprisingly, I’d never been to a Roman bath before (not that many in the US. Not that many Romans, for that matter), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I purchased a package of four services for about $120, and let each one be a surprise.

I booked an additional 45 minute massage. Standard. What you’d expect. Then I was directed to a room with a tub with jets, which moved up and down my body for 10 minutes. I was impressed to see the tub automatically drain and refill for the next guest when the time went off.

After that, I lay on a table while a shower head rained down warm water and moved up and down my body. I could just feel the tension melting away at that point.

I spent a few minutes in the hammam (sauna for us Americans). I’m not a big fan of saunas, and could have stayed in longer, but I was eager for the rest of my treatments. Next, I spent some time in a heated pool. I took this opportunity to stretch my muscles (well-worn after traipsing around Europe).

Then came the most memorable experience: a weightless kaolin (clay) pool! I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s pretty much impossible to sit in the clay, so you float on top. Like a happy little pig. I slowly backstroked through the glob and just blissed out. I was glad I’d bought a shower cap, but the mud still made it into my ears. It was days before I got it all out.

One Happy Camper

After my spa bliss, I ate dinner in my room and went to bed early. The next day, I enjoyed the large market in town and did some shopping.

Market Greoux-les-Bains @unxplorer #ProvenceI came back to Pignans refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for more.

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

When Susan Guillory isn't running her marketing company, she's traveling and writing about it on The Unexplorer. She's written several books (business, as well as travel) and has been published on Forbes, Mashable and other sites.

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