This culturally rich university town in France’s Auvergne region is set amid beautiful landscape, surrounded by volcanoes including the famous Puy-de-Dôme.
Although not yet as well-known as some other French cities, Clermont-Ferrand is quickly gaining a reputation for being a great place to visit. Discover its beautiful nature and lively arts scene for yourself and you will soon see why.
Clermont-Ferrand is circled by a string of 80 volcanoes, which stretch for 25 miles (40 kilometers). Head to the most famous one, the Puy-de-Dôme, for amazing views of the Chaîne des Puys volcanic mountain range. The city’s medieval inhabitants made the most of their natural amenities, using the black volcanic rock to build the city’s iconic Gothic cathedral, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption.
As it is a city with a large student population, it’s easy to find music and culture wherever you go in Clermont-Ferrand. Take an evening wander around the squares of the old town to experience live music. The abundance of creativity on show has led to the city being called “France’s Liverpool.” Clermont-Ferrand is also home to a famous international short film festival. France’s largest film festival after Cannes, it attracts around 150,000 visitors every February.
A major industrial center for the region, Clermont-Ferrand is the proud home of Michelin tires. Look for the famous Michelin man. If you spot him you could be close to the company’s headquarters.
For a moment of peace, head to the tranquil gardens of Jardin Lecoq. Stroll through the rose garden and spot waterfowl on the pond. This is a popular place with locals, as well as geese.
The city is an excellent destination for cheese lovers. Taste delicacies of Auvergne, such as Cantal and Bleu D’Auvergne. The region is widely regarded as a producer of some of France’s best cheeses. And with the large student population, alcohol prices remain relatively cheap compared to other French cities.
Clermont-Ferrand is easily accessible from France’s major cities. Multiple trains run daily from Paris. The trip takes 4 hours. From Lyon, it’s 2 hours by train. You could also fly from one of Paris’ airports to Clermont Auvergne airport, which takes around 1 hour.