CLERMONT-FERRAND – www.clermontferrandtourism.com
Looking down on Clermont-Ferrand, one could imagine the city had long ago suffered a calamity. After all, it is positioned near an astonishing geographical area cluttered with extinct volcanoes. But really, any misplaced sense of catastrophe is likely because of the rock – the black volcanic rock – used to construct many buildings, the most spectacular being the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. Of course, it could also be the rock music, owing to the city’s hundreds of music bands and other artistic groups, many finding voice in the popular annual festivals. Another rock of the community: the Michelin tire company, which was founded here.
One of the city's nicknames is "France's Liverpool" due its more than 800 artistic groups and the many music, theater and film festivals.
Just west of Clermont-Ferrand, the Puy-de-Dôme is the highest volcano in the the Chaine des Puys, a chain of 80 volcanoes located in an area more than 28 miles long and three miles wide.
Place de Jaude: the city's most famous public square, with a large statue of Vercingetorix by Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty
Musée d'Art Roger-Quilliot (MARQ): the city's foremost cultural venue with six levels of art from the Middle Ages to contemporary times
petit salé aux lentilles vertes du Puy: salted pork meat served with green lentils from Le Puy
Côtes d’Auvergne wine: vintages such as Boudes, Châteaugay, Corent, Chanturgue, Madargue and Saint-Pourçain
Audrey Tautou: actress best known for her lead role in the 2001 film Amélie
Celebrations: 60th anniversary of the Circuit de Charade, a championship motorsport race track wrapped around the base of an extinct volcano
Celebrations: The Festival du Court Métrage, an internationally renowned short film festival preparing to celebrate its 40th birthday
Also in the Area
Le Mont-Dore: a resort town with thermal springs in summer and a ski station in winter
Gergovie Plateau: a natural panoramic viewpoint where Vercingetorix defeated Caesar in 52 BC
Access from Paris
by road: about 4 hours (263 miles) via the A10 and A71 autoroutes
by train: about 3 h 45 min by direct intercity train from the Gare de Bercy
by plane: 1 hour to Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport
For more about what to see and do in and around Clermont-Ferrand, including on the “Passion for gastronomy & creation” itinerary, visit www.topfrenchcitybreaks.com