Destination Auvergne: Why Not Choose Clermont-Ferrand?
Looking for charm and authenticity? This is the place for you. Just a stone's throw from the Chaîne des Puys and its green pastures, Clermont-Ferrand has everything you need, whether you're young or old, and whether you're looking for fine dining, tranquillity, art or thrills. With a rich history which has sculpted and marked its architecture and culture, the city and its surroundings will constantly surprise you with their diversity.
Clermont-Ferrand: Points of Interest
A Little History…
Founded over 2,000 years ago, the town of Clermont was marked by several events: the Battle of Gergovia, the coming of the Visigoths and the Vikings, the construction of a Roman cathedral in the 10th century, then the difficult fusion with the town of Montferrand, its rival at the time, which was completed in the 20th century. Today, Clermont-Ferrand is the prefecture of the Puy-de-Dôme department.
Activities to suit everyone
Cultural activities – With monuments museums and art festivals, you won't have time to get bored. Get ready to be surprised by the city's diverse architecture: from the medieval ramparts of the historical centre to the ESACM Art School, and from the Roman cathedral to the many bourgeois mansions. In the 20th century, industrial development, particularly due to the success of the Michelin factory, changed the urban structure to make Clermont-Ferrand the dynamic city it is today.
Sports activities – What better way to explore the city than by bike? With its 77km of cycle paths, the whole family can burn off some energy. Or get out of the city for some fresh air, and discover Auvergne's countryside by bike (12,000 km of marked routes) or on foot for amazing hikes. If you're a thrill-seeker, you won't be disappointed: you can admire Auvergne's volcanoes and the city itself from above, whilst paragliding or microlighting, or from a hot air balloon. Love rugby or golf? You're in for a treat: you can indulge your passion at the ASM stadium or on one of the Puy-de-Dôme's golf courses.
Tranquillity – Relax after a full day: stretch out and sink your feet into the grass in the city's parks and gardens (the jardin botanique de la Charme, jardin Lecoq, parc du Creux de l'Enfer and parc de Montjuzet), which will delight both young and old. If you feel like a dip, cool off in one of the nearby lakes and water bodies, offeringmany leisure activities.
Refuel over a good meal – Your holiday wouldn't be complete without tasting Auvergne's copious and delicious food!
Top 10 Must-Sees
The Place de Jaude – The historical and cultural heart of the city, the Place de Jaude is the starting point for your adventure. Begin by admiring the surrounding architecture, showing the succession of different styles in the city from Ancient times to the present day. Pause in front of the imposing bronze statue of Vercingetorix on his horse, sword in hand, victorious before Julius Caesar's troops. Let the feeling of calm wash over you among the many fountains and ornamental trees (magnolias, tulip trees) in the square. Finally, step inside the "Galeries de Jaude", which are a match for any Parisian department store.
The Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica – Built at the start of the 12th century, the basilica underwent a complete restoration ending in late 2008. This key architectural and sculptural site is not to be missed, as proven by its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The historic centre of Montferrand – Take a stroll through this protected area, and marvel at its private mansions from the 15th and 16th centuries: the Fontenilhes, Fontfreyde and Albiat mansions, as well as many others.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption – Climb to the top of this superb cathedral for an unbeatable view from the La Bayette tower. The fruit of 7 centuries of construction, this lava stone building will delight Gothic art enthusiasts.
The Henri-Lecoq Museum – Botany, geology, mineralogy, palaeontology, zoology, history of science and technology… This natural history museum is a shrine to the region's heritage, with its astonishing 650,000 items and specimens.
The Aventure Michelin – You can't think of Clermont-Ferrand without thinking of the famous Michelin. Relive the history of this brand and discover its future with a 2,000m² scenographic circuit.
ASM EXPERIENCE – Rugby fans won't be disappointed: discover the life and secrets of the ASM (Montferrand Sports Club) with a guided tour of the stadium and a theme park like no other in France: a 600m² space devoted to rugby!
The Gergovie plateau – Take a family walk around the site where, without any magic potion, Vercingetorix dealt the Roman Empire its only defeat during the Gallic Wars. POW!
Vulcania – Unique in France, this theme park will delight both young and old. Its dynamic attractions, films, exhibitions and interactive discoveries will allow you to learn everything about the life of volcanoes. Located 15km from Clermont-Ferrand.
Chaîne des Puys and Lemptégy Volcano – Marvel at the unspoilt majesty of Auvergne's Volcanoes. Stroll on the slopes or step into the heart of a real, 100% natural volcano, adapted into a living museum for all to enjoy.
A Taste of Auvergne
Auvergne's reputation for good food is well-established, and the portions as generous as the people who live there. Fine charcuterie, truffade (potatoes and Salers cheese), aligot (mashed potato and fresh Tomme cheese), fruit gums and candied fruits (specialities since the 17th century), AOC wines from the slopes around the Limagne plain and the volcanic foothills of the Chaîne des Puys: the region is known for its food and drink. In particular, Auvergne is a major cheese region, producing a quarter of France's AOP (protected designation of origin) cheeses. If you like your cheese, there is a huge variety to sample: Saint-Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Fourme d'Ambert and Bleu d'Auvergne. Try these and more on a trip along the Auvergne AOP cheese trail.
January: The Andros Trophy: famous car racing championship on ice, in the mountains. Now environmentally friendly with its 100% electric vehicles!
February: The International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand itself: enjoy over 7000 short films from all around the world!
March: The Vidéoformes Festival will immerse you in the digital creation and culture driving our everyday lives.
April: The Puy-de-Mômes Festival, with various shows (theatre, dance, puppets, music, circus) entirely dedicated to childhood and youth, to enjoy as a family.
May: Nomadic arts all around the city of Clermont-Ferrand: discover artistic creations and attractions.
May/June/July: The Europavox Festival,3 days of festivities centred around the best music scene in Europe.
December: The Christmas market brings happiness to Place de la Victoire, for the whole month. Fancy riding the Big Wheel on Place de Jaude?
December to March: Flea market on Place des Salins, every Sunday from 07:00 to 13:00.
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