Vittel is a town in Lorraine.
You might know Vittel from the brand of bottled mineral water of the same name, or their excellent thermal baths. But despite being mentioned in every tourist brochure and website of the region, this spa town only has around 5,000 inhabitants. It therefore has a pleasant French small-town atmosphere. However, in the summer months the small town with its one short shopping street is easily flooded by tourists, so it's best to visit either before or after July-August.
If you're coming from outside the region you'll likely arrive via the A31 between Nancy and Dijon, take exit #9 and follow the D165. If you're coming from the other side (Épinal) be careful to follow the signs Vittel-Centre otherwise you can get stuck on the ring road and you will go on a ridiculously oversized ring road around the town.
There are small free parking lots scattered all over the town (max 1.5h) but in the summer months they fill up quickly, so you might have to drive around a while in order to find a spot. There's almost always space behind the Aldi supermarket at Rue Saint-Éloi, a pleasant 5-minute walk from the town centre.
There are trains from Nancy (1hr 15m) and Épinal (1hr), but connections are not very frequent, so plan your journey ahead. The station has a handy ticket machine (also in English!) as well as two ticket counters that never seem to be open when you're there. Regular train tickets can be expensive, but there are many discounts available, for example youth <26, pensioners or combo tickets for families.
The town is best discovered on foot, not that there are any alternatives. This is no hardship, however.
- 1 Parc Thermal (along Avenue de la Roseraie). A beautiful old park with of course the spa, but also pavilions, a rose garden, tennis courts and facilities. Free.
Have breakfast or lunch at one of multiple Boulangerie-Patisseries along Rue de Verdun, the main street.
Cell phone coverage is good but mobile internet is frustratingly slow. There isn't a lot of Wi-Fi to go around in rural France, and Vittel is no exception.
- 1 La Poste (post office), 135 Rue De Verdun. Mo-Fri 8:45-12:00 & 13:30-18:00, Sat 8:45-12:00. When asking for stamps make clear to which country you want to send your postcards and the staff will get a big ring binder from the back and you choose the stamp you want.
- 2 Office de Tourisme (tourist information), Place de la Marne (located in the train station), ☏ . Mo-Sat 9:00-13:00 & 14:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-13:00. There's free Wi-Fi here, but the process is laborious. Don't be surprised to see the lady behind the counter making a copy of your passport for their records, asking you to sign something, and then giving you a ticket with a password on it that's valid for one hour of free Wi-Fi.