There are times in life when you feel tired and run down from the stress of daily life, perhaps also from work and family pressure. And you want to get away from it all – but also you want to try something different. You don’t want to go to the same beach or mountain retreat or even to your favorite spa. You also want value for money, and not to have to pay crazy prices.
I was feeling like that a few weeks ago. As I was going to be in Paris on business I thought to myself – why not go to a thalassa in France in easy reach of Paris? Internet search suggests Quiberon, a seaside town in Britanny, North-west of France. The choice was confirmed by knowledgeable French friends who said this was the first place to develop Thalassa and is still one of the best.
This was how my husband, Roberto, and I spent a blissful week at the Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa. Our journey began at the Montparnasse station, a major and unimpressive train station in Paris. After three and a half hours on the classy TGV (very high-speed train), we disembarked at a town called Auray and took a 30 minutes taxi ride to the Sofitel Hotel, which is linked to the Institute de Thalassotherapie.
So what is thalassa?
Thalassa is a derivative of the term Thalassotherapy, which means ‘sea’ and ‘treatment’. It uses the healing and beneficial properties of the mineral rich seawater and marine-based products rich in trace elements and antioxidants for health and well being. A visit to a thalassa is a similar experience to visiting a spa except the treatments are not only for relaxation and beauty, but also for healing. As a thalassa has to be located near the sea, expect also invigorating sea air.
This particular Institute offers a number of packages. We chose a package called Harmonie offering each day five seawater treatments and a massage. The use of algae is very much part of the treatment. The treatments last for about two and a half hours – taken either in the morning or in the afternoon. I left the place invigorated, feeling that I was again ready to face the world.
The service is good and efficient and the therapists are professional. That is all good. Being used to massage in Thailand, I was not too impressed with the daily massage at the Institute. We were on a half-board package with the hotel and found the food to be outstanding. We gained rather than lost weight despite the intensive treatments. Next time, I will take their weight-loss program with a special menu and caloric control.
The highlight for me was meditating on a rock. In the silence of the mind, I could hear the sound of the waves around me and the flapping of the seagulls’ wings overhead. I could feel the sun on my face and the spray of the seawater and taste its saltiness. That was a magic moment to be remembered and savored for a long time.