Back to the source - History of Vittel
A millennia-old spring, a visionary and an internationally renowned personality.
Discover over 150 years of Vittel® history.
The Vittel® spring has been around a long time: there was already a Gallo-Roman spa town on the site by this point. It seems it was named after its owner, a Roman general called Vitellius who used it to treat his gout.
Lawyer Louis Bouloumié was taking the waters nearby when he was told about the Vittel® spring. Noticing how the water improved his digestive problems, he decided to buy the meadow containing the Grande Source spring known as the Fontaine de Gérémoy.
Having been permitted to use the spring, Louis Bouloumié created the Vittel spa. At first, the Grande Source spring, public baths and showers were housed in a simple wooden cabin. From 1857, the healing water was bottled in square stoneware bottles with porcelain stoppers.
Spa waters were at the height of their popularity. Louis Bouloumié's simple spa was expanded, a hotel was built and a park was put in. It quickly became famous in France and abroad thanks to the contributions of many famous doctors, architects and artists.
Louis Bouloumié handed over the reins to his sons: military doctor Pierre who improved hydrotherapy practices, and Ambroise, a lawyer like his father, who later became Mayor of Vittel. Together, they developed the spa resort.
The “Société Générale des Eaux Minérales de Vittel®” (SGEMV) mineral water company was founded. A year before, the Longes-Vittel-Nancy railway line had opened, facilitating access to Vittel and allowing more people to take the waters. Famous architect Charles Garnier was responsible for updating the resort by renovating the arcades and building new thermal baths, the Grand Hotel, the Casino and concert halls.
Pierre Bouloumié came up with the idea of increasing Vittel® Grande Source Mineral Water sales by putting the healing water into glass bottles so people could carry on taking it at home. In June 1898, celebrations were held to mark the first million bottles. Vittel® Grande Source Mineral Water was famous as a treatment for arthritis.
Vittel® Grande Source Mineral Water was officially recognised as being “of public interest” by the French Academy of Medicine. The spa resort’s reputation was now international. An industrial packaging unit meant over three million Grande Source bottles and demijohns were produced.
Ambroise’s son Jean, a doctor by profession, took over from his father. With sales of Vittel® Natural Mineral Water continuing to increase, he had a modern bottling factory built and attached to the railway station. Vittel® was then sold as water to drink daily, rather than simply a way to extend treatment outside the resort.
Following a request from Air France, Vittel® designed a plastic bottle for passenger in-flight meals. Plastic bottles replaced glass bottles and moved from pharmacy shelves into supermarkets.
To meet growing international demand, a second spring was identified in a deeper aquifer in the heart of Vittel’s hydromineral basin. This was Vittel® Bonne Source water, which was recognised as natural mineral water in 1990 and authorised to be bottled for export in 1991.
Bottles no longer contained PVC: it was replaced with PET. This revolutionary plastic is 100% recyclable, tougher and more transparent.
Vittel® launched a new 75cl bottle with a revolutionary sports cap. Hikers and sports enthusiasts took to it straight away.
The thermal baths were sold to the Partouche Group, then bought by the Town of Vittel in 2008.
Vittel® partnered with the Tour de France: the third-biggest sporting event in the world. One value shared by both the natural mineral water brand and the Tour is togetherness, with the former handing out almost a million bottles at the event each year. Vittel® also partners with the Paris Half Marathon and Marathon.
Vittel® & Organic Infused Fruits were launched: a simple recipe inspired by all things homemade and yet the only one of its kind, combining Vittel® Natural Mineral Water with cold-infused organic whole fruit for an intense, natural fruit flavour. Plus, it's organic and low in calories!
Vittel® Up was launched: a fresh range that combines Vittel® Natural Mineral Water with natural fruit flavourings so you can quench your thirst any time on a low-sugar organic drink with a little fruity touch!
through the ages...
Protecting the spring
Protecting the land means quality water: we’re all in this together!