Clermont-Ferrand, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of central France, is a charming city with a rich history and stunning natural surroundings. Known for its distinctive black volcanic stone buildings, Clermont-Ferrand offers visitors a unique blend of cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, and delicious cuisine. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Clermont-Ferrand:
1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption
Start your exploration of Clermont-Ferrand by visiting its iconic cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece, built entirely from volcanic rock, is an impressive sight. Step inside to admire the intricate stained glass windows and the majestic organ.
2. Place de Jaude
This bustling square is the heart of Clermont-Ferrand. Surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to soak up the lively atmosphere of the city. Take a leisurely stroll, people-watch, or enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the impressive statue of Vercingetorix, a Gallic chieftain.
3. Musée Lecoq
Immerse yourself in the art and history of Clermont-Ferrand at Musée Lecoq. Housed in a beautiful mansion, the museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures. From prehistoric times to contemporary art, the exhibits provide a comprehensive overview of the region’s cultural heritage.
4. Jardin Lecoq
Adjacent to Musée Lecoq, you’ll find the picturesque Jardin Lecoq. This enchanting public garden offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Stroll along the winding paths, admire the beautifully manicured flowerbeds, and relax in the shade of century-old trees.
5. Puy de Dôme
A short distance from Clermont-Ferrand, you’ll find the majestic Puy de Dôme, an iconic volcano and one of the highlights of the Auvergne region. Take a train or hike to the summit for breathtaking panoramic views of Clermont-Ferrand, the Chaîne des Puys volcanic range, and the surrounding countryside. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, paragliding, and mountain biking.
6. Michelin Adventure
Discover the fascinating history of the Michelin tire company at Michelin Adventure. This interactive museum takes you on a journey through the world of tires, from their invention to modern-day innovations. Learn about the company’s impact on the region and explore exhibits that showcase vintage cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.
7. Saint-Pierre-des-Minimes Church
Another architectural gem in Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Pierre-des-Minimes Church is a masterpiece of Gothic art. Its elegant facade and intricate interior details, including beautiful stained glass windows, make it a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts.
8. Les Puys et Pays d’Auvergne Nature Park
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Nature lovers should not miss the opportunity to explore the Les Puys et Pays d’Auvergne Nature Park. This protected area is characterized by its volcanic landscapes, lush forests, and picturesque lakes. Enjoy hiking trails, picnic spots, and breathtaking vistas as you immerse yourself in the beauty of the Auvergne region.
9. Rue du Port
For a taste of the local culinary scene, head to Rue du Port. This vibrant street is lined with traditional bistros and restaurants where you can savor regional specialties such as truffade (a potato and cheese dish), charcuterie, and delicious Auvergne cheeses. It’s the perfect place to indulge in a gastronomic adventure.
10. ASM Experience
If you’re a fan of rugby, don’t miss ASM Experience. This interactive museum dedicated to the ASM Clermont Auvergne rugby team allows you to delve into the history and passion of the sport. Explore the exhibits, test your skills with interactive games, and learn about the team’s journey to success.
Located just outside Clermont-Ferrand, Vulcania is a unique theme park dedicated to the exploration of volcanoes and earth sciences. It offers an interactive and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Learn about the formation of volcanoes, witness volcanic eruptions through immersive simulations, and explore the fascinating geological exhibits.
12. La Fontaine d’Amboise
Escape the city and venture into the peaceful countryside surrounding Clermont-Ferrand. Just a short drive away, you’ll find La Fontaine d’Amboise, a beautiful park known for its serene atmosphere and scenic walking trails. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a picnic by the lake, or simply relax amidst the lush greenery.
13. Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Port
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Another architectural gem, the Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Port is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the finest examples of Romanesque art in France. Step inside and marvel at the intricate sculptures, ancient frescoes, and the serene ambiance of this historic place of worship.
14. Maison de la Culture
If you’re interested in contemporary arts and performances, pay a visit to the Maison de la Culture. This cultural center hosts a variety of events, including theater performances, dance shows, concerts, and art exhibitions. Check their schedule for upcoming shows and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Clermont-Ferrand.
15. Les Grands Thermes
For a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, visit Les Grands Thermes, a thermal spa located in Royat, just a few kilometers from Clermont-Ferrand. Indulge in the healing properties of the natural hot springs, enjoy spa treatments, and unwind in the tranquil atmosphere of this wellness retreat.
16. Montferrand Medieval Quarter
Take a stroll through the charming Montferrand neighborhood, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Admire the well-preserved medieval architecture, including the impressive Church of Notre-Dame du Port, and explore the quaint streets lined with shops, cafes, and artisanal boutiques.
17. Regional Natural Park of Livradois-Forez
If you have more time to explore the region surrounding Clermont-Ferrand, a visit to the Regional Natural Park of Livradois-Forez is highly recommended. This vast park encompasses diverse landscapes, including forests, rivers, and rolling hills. It’s an ideal destination for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and wildlife spotting.
18. La Comédie de Clermont
Theater enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to La Comédie de Clermont, a renowned theater showcasing a wide range of performances, including plays, comedies, and contemporary productions. Check their schedule to catch a show and experience the vibrant theatrical scene of the city.
19. La Micheline
For a unique dining experience, hop on La Micheline, a retro-styled train that offers a gourmet journey through the beautiful landscapes of the Auvergne region. Enjoy a delectable meal while savoring panoramic views of the countryside—a perfect blend of gastronomy and scenic beauty.
20. Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival
If you happen to visit in late January or early February, don’t miss the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious festivals dedicated to short films. Enjoy screenings of innovative and thought-provoking films from around the globe, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this cinematic celebration.
21. Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Clermont-Ferrand
Architecture enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the renowned School of Architecture in Clermont-Ferrand. Explore the campus and admire the impressive modern design of the building, which contrasts beautifully with the city’s historic architecture.
22. Le Jardin Lecoq
Located near the city center, Le Jardin Lecoq is a beautifully landscaped park that offers a tranquil escape. Take a leisurely walk through the lush gardens, admire the vibrant floral displays, and find a quiet spot to relax and soak up the serene ambiance.
23. Les Salins du Midi
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Just a short drive from Clermont-Ferrand, Les Salins du Midi is a fascinating salt marsh that produces sea salt. Take a guided tour to learn about the salt extraction process, explore the salt pans, and discover the unique ecosystem that thrives in this saline environment.
24. Musée Bargoin
Art and history enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Musée Bargoin, which houses an extensive collection of textiles and archaeological artifacts. From ancient Egyptian textiles to contemporary fashion pieces, the museum offers a captivating journey through the world of fabrics and craftsmanship.
25. Parc de Montjuzet
Perched on a hill overlooking Clermont-Ferrand, Parc de Montjuzet offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the park, have a picnic while enjoying the scenery, or simply sit back and unwind in the peaceful atmosphere.
26. Les Grottes de Jonas
Venture underground and explore Les Grottes de Jonas, a network of caves located in Saint-Pierre-Colamine, near Clermont-Ferrand. Embark on a guided tour to discover stunning stalactites, stalagmites, and underground chambers that date back millions of years.
27. Le Marché Saint-Pierre
Experience the vibrant local culture by visiting Le Marché Saint-Pierre, a bustling market where you can find an array of fresh produce, local delicacies, artisanal products, and more. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, interact with the friendly vendors, and indulge in the flavors of the region.
28. Roger Quilliot Art Museum
Explore the Roger Quilliot Art Museum, which houses a diverse collection of art ranging from ancient to contemporary. Admire works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Rodin, as well as regional art and temporary exhibitions.
29. Les Céramiques de la Fontaine
Discover Les Céramiques de la Fontaine, a picturesque square adorned with beautiful ceramic murals. These vibrant artworks depict scenes from the history and culture of the Auvergne region and provide a unique visual experience.
30. Plateau de Gergovie
Embark on a historical excursion to the Plateau de Gergovie, a significant archaeological site located near Clermont-Ferrand. This is where the Battle of Gergovia took place between Julius Caesar’s Roman forces and the Gauls led by Vercingetorix. Explore the remnants of ancient fortifications and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
31. Puy de Lemptégy
Discover the fascinating world of volcanoes at Puy de Lemptégy. This volcanic site offers guided tours that take you into the heart of a dormant volcano. Explore lava tunnels, learn about volcanic processes, and gain insight into the geological history of the region.
32. Parc Bargoin
Take a leisurely stroll through Parc Bargoin, a charming park located in a former estate. This serene green space features lush gardens, fountains, and a variety of trees and flowers. It’s a perfect spot to relax, read a book, or have a picnic.
33. Michelin Adventure
Dive into the history of the Michelin company at Michelin Adventure. Discover the evolution of tire manufacturing, explore the role of Michelin in motorsports, and learn about the innovative contributions the company has made to the automotive industry.
34. Auvergne Wine Region
Indulge in the flavors of the Auvergne wine region by taking a wine tour or visiting local vineyards. Sample a variety of wines, including red, white, and rosé varieties, and learn about the winemaking process in this lesser-known but captivating wine region.
35. Château de Murol
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Venture to the nearby town of Murol, where you’ll find the impressive Château de Murol. This medieval fortress offers guided tours that allow you to explore its ramparts, towers, and underground passages. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the castle’s strategic vantage point.
Just a short distance from Clermont-Ferrand, you’ll discover the charming town of Volvic, famous for its mineral water. Visit the Maison de la Pierre, a museum dedicated to the local stone and its use in construction, and learn about the town’s history and geology. You can also take a guided tour of the Volvic water bottling plant.
37. Basilique Saint-Amable
Pay a visit to the Basilique Saint-Amable, a beautiful Romanesque church in Riom, a town near Clermont-Ferrand. Admire the intricate sculptures, stained glass windows, and historic artifacts within this significant religious site.
38. Les Gallo-Romaines de Gergovie
Step back in time at the Les Gallo-Romaines de Gergovie archaeological site. This open-air museum showcases the remnants of a Gallic-Roman settlement and provides insights into the daily life and history of the ancient inhabitants.
39. La Petite Mairie
Experience the local culinary scene by visiting La Petite Mairie, a covered market in the heart of Clermont-Ferrand. Browse through stalls selling fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and other local specialties. It’s an excellent place to purchase ingredients for a picnic or to savor the flavors of the region.
40. La Maison des Fromages
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Cheese lovers won’t want to miss a visit to La Maison des Fromages in Orcines, near Clermont-Ferrand. Learn about the art of cheese making, taste a variety of Auvergne cheeses, and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s rich dairy heritage.
41. Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park
Extend your exploration beyond Clermont-Ferrand and venture into the vast Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park. This protected area is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and discovering the unique geological formations of the region.
Places and Things To Do