The tap water in France has been safe to drink since the 1950s, but the country still sells over 50 kinds of bottled water. But becasuse of recent droughts, some brands, such as Badoit, have scaled back production.
The world’s oldest bottled mineral water, naturally sparkling Châteldon 1650, is nicknamed the ‘Rolls Royce des eaux minérales’. It’s mineral-rich and slightly metallic, and also the softest and rarest—and hard to find outside of fine restaurants. It comes from the village of Châteldon near Puy de Dôme, in the volcanic Auvergne, source of many mineral-rich waters; in 1650, Louis XIV had it bottled and transported to Versailles. Only 700,000 bottles are bottled in glass every year; stocks often run out.
Among the more easily available sparkling mineral waters, there’s Badoit, the oldest, from Saint-Galmier in the Loire Valley; Perrier, very bubbly water from Languedoc, in its iconic bowling pin bottles (Une Perrier tranche is a glass of Perrier with a slice of lemon); St-Yorre from the Auvergne with its distinct bicarbonate-of-soda taste; and Vichy Célestins, the slightly saline mineral water from the spa town of Vichy in the Massif Central.
Image by tes