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When it comes to mineral water, France has a head start on the rest of the world. The first decree governing mineral waters was issued in France in 1781, and in 1856 the concept of “d’interet public” (beneficial to public health) came into being. The early spas became resorts for French citizens returning home from colonial outposts to “take the waters”. Originally, bottled waters were a form of ongoing treatment for those leaving spa resorts returning to the cities. France has regulated mineral waters more so than any other country and numerous strict classifications for mineral and spring water exist. For the French, alternative medicine is widely practiced and mineral waters contribute as accepted therapies for various illnesses. And mineral water in every other sense remains very much a part of everyday French life.
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