French Spas

A feel-good getaway

Want a feel-good getaway? Head to France, where a brand-new spa and a spa with a line of brand-new products are at your beck and call.

It's hard to imagine a more sybaritic environment: a spa set in a Bordeaux vineyard with wine-based treatments and a Michelin-starred restaurant with a 15,000-bottle list of stellar Burgundies and Bordeaux. No wonder Europeans think American spas are like boot camp. Les Sources de Caudalie, which opened last year, is based on the theory that the polyphenols in grape seeds act as antioxidants, and so this vinotherapy spa on the grounds of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard features treatments such as a wine-honey wrap, a crushed-Cabernet body scrub, and a Sauvignon massage. But since the emphasis is total indulgence, new chef Franck Salien's dishes in the gastronomic showcase La Grand'Vigne and the simpler La Table du Lavoir are sumptuous blends of flavors, as were those of founding chef, Didier Banyols—risotto with cèpes and red Graves, cod with a compote of pears and tomatoes, pigeon with raisins and figs—followed by lavish desserts and a full cheese selection. (With a day's notice, there's also a 500-calorie three-course menu in La Table.)

Even without the good-for-you elements, though, Caudalie would be worth a visit for its romantic setting—29 rooms in rustic, faux-antique buildings, decorated individually and set around a man-made lake with two swans and an artfully placed rowboat. Best room: L'Ile aux Oiseaux, a separate cottage built over the lake. Best time to visit: during the harvest, September through October. Treatments, $6- $103; products, $4-$78. Rooms, $150-$310. Dinner, $130. Chemin de Smith Haut Lafitte, Martillac; 888-465-8383; 33-5-57-83-83-83; fax 33-5-57-83-83-84.

You feel healthier just being in this picture-perfect Alpine village. And that's particularly true at Les Fermes de Marie, a hoteland spa constructed of several Haute Savoie farmhouses brought together on two acres and furnished with extraordinary charm. The inviting spa was put together with an atmospheric mix of local logs, trees, and stones that feels like a Hobbit dwelling—if the Hobbits had hired a good designer. The massages, baths,facials, and wraps utilize ingredients from the mountains—plants and herbs such as edelweiss, juniper, balsam pine, and arnica blossoms—and they're sensational (particularly the cream baths and fasciatherapy massages). So are the house-brand products created by co-owner Jocelyne Sibuet from plants and various essential oils. Especially good for winter-ravaged skin: Edelweiss Cream No. 2. Treatments, $10-$72; products, $18-$35. Rooms, $250-$445. Chemin de Riante Colline; 33-4-50-93-03-10; fax 33-4-50-93-09-84;