Hot spas and public baths date back as early as 2500 B.C. Used for many different reasons such as health, relaxation, social and cleanliness, public baths are still used around the world in various forms. While the technology has changed, spa towns still dot the European landscape, and I wanted to give it a go.
I have a friend who’s invited me to Saumur’s public pool several times, but for varying reasons haven’t been able to go. However, with a free Saturday and open invitation, she rallied a small group of us together for a girls spa day in Tours.
We arrived at Carré d’Ô after lunch, with hours to kill soaking and steaming before our dinner reservations. After paying our €7,10 due at the front desk, we received our choice of coffee or tea, then headed into the locker rooms to change and shower before diving in.
We began in the spa area, an extra facility we paid to use, and spent most of our time there. With two saunas of different temperatures, a hammam (steam room) and jacuzzi to choose from, there were plenty of activities to keep us relaxed and occupied.
As the signage demanded, we stepped into the showers for small rinses between every activity, including a pause in the glass sun tanning room for coffee (although there was no sun for tanning).
After several hours relaxing and enjoying the heat, we made our way back to the pools for a quick swim before heading out to the town center for dinner.
After a small walk through the medieval town, admiring the ambience and busting popularity, we made our way to a fantastically creative restaurant.
While called Mamie Bigoude Restaurant Creperie, more than just crepes draw people to the establishment. Not only offing an overwhelming number of creative dishes, the restaurant is a two-story house, seating guests in all rooms– including the bathroom.
Don’t be alarmed… the real toilets are separate. However, the decorations and set-up resemble that of a home, with each dining space decorated and arranged to resemble different rooms of a house.
We ate in the laundry room, as clear by the washing machine at the end of the table, and laundry basket and ironing table mounted to the ceiling. The laundry room is arranged next to the bedroom, with a closet full of clothes as the room divider.
I snapped some (admittedly poor) pictures of the room and adjacent dining rooms, and once seated, I took note of the fun music playlist, consisting of American classics, with the not-so-occasional Christmas hit.
I ordered off the menu of cousin Lucien (Le Menu du Cousin Lucien), and received the Burger Neil Armstrong with a simple crepe of sugar and lemon for dessert.
The burger consisted of a beef patty (120 gr), tomato aioli cream, balsamic and cured ham between two savory pancakes with a side of fries. All-together, the meal was €9,90.
While I was overwhelmingly unimpressed with my crepe, as it was burned, lacking any traceable lemon flavor and skimped on the sugar, the burger was great, and the atmosphere was fantastic.
Overall, I had a fantastic spa day and hope to return to Carré d’Ô sometime soon. Relaxing and fun, it was a fantastic experience I hope to repeat in the near future.