Right in the centre of France, Clermont-Ferrand is nestled in the heart of the Puy de Dôme department and the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region. This central location means the city is easily accessible from anywhere in France. It is surrounded by sites that will blow your mind. In fact, the presence of a large number of volcanoes in the former Auvergne region has earned it the name of “volcano country”!
But first, let’s take a look at what you can visit and do when you visit the city of Clermont-Ferrand, with our short guide to things to do and see.
Our guide to Clermont-Ferrand: What to see?
1 – Its amazing architecture and heritage:
The first thing you need to know is that Clermont-Ferrand was the historical capital of the Auvergne. But also the capital of the Puy-de-Dôme department. It was in fact born from the union of two rival cities, Clermont and Montferrand, in 1630. Moreover, the city was built on volcanic rock. This makes its architecture and heritage surprising. So, get lost in the streets and alleys of the city centre and admire what surrounds you:
- Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral
- Medieval quarter
- Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port
- Place de Jaude
2 – Its green spaces:
Seize the opportunity to get some fresh air in one of the city’s green spaces, by taking a walk in its beautiful parks. We recommend the Jardin Le Coq. Here, you will find an ornamental pond, an English garden, and of course, a playground, making it perfect for family visits!
The Montjuzet park is also pleasant for families, as it has several playgrounds. It is in fact the largest park in the city, and beehives have even been installed there. The best thing about this park? The view it offers of the city and the volcanoes.
Finally, the Pierre-Montgroux Park is a mixed wild and landscaped area of 5 hectares. It is also one of the largest parks in the Clermont-Ferrand area. Great to stretch the legs.
3 – Educate yourself by visiting Clermont-Ferrand:
Visit the city’s museums to immerse yourself in its history and culture. If you’re an art lover, you’re in for a treat …
- Why not start with contemporary art, where admission is free? Head to the Fond régional d’art contemporain (FRAC), which has a fine collection of contemporary works.
- Then head to the Musée d’art Roger-Quilliot (MARQ). This is housed in the buildings of a former 12th century Ursuline convent, which are classified as a historical monument. You will find sculptures and paintings retracing the epic of Roland Furieux, as well as the plaster cast of the statue of Vercingetorix. Admission is €5 per adult with a reduced rate of €3 for over 60s and groups of over 10 people. Admission is free for under 18s or every 1st Sunday of the month for everyone!
- Finally, visit the L’Aventure Michelin museum, which should appeal to young and old alike! The history of the city of Clermont-Ferrand is linked to the history of the Michelin tyre company. Go there to discover its history and its various innovations in transport. All this through films, vehicles and reconstructions. Admission is €11 per adult, €7 for 7-18 year olds and free for children under 7. You can also take advantage of a family pack for €29. (Please note: the museum closes annually from 3 to 25 January).
4 – Discover the volcanoes:
As we mentioned earlier, the city of Clermont-Ferrand and the Puy de Dôme are home to several breathtaking volcanoes and sites. So, while you are visiting the city, be sure to visit the surrounding area and the most beautiful sites around the city. Pack your hiking gear and walking shoes. Get hydrated and energised. Then set off to discover the beautiful countryside!
The Puy de Dôme rises to 1465m. It is the oldest volcano in the Chaîne des Puys. Three walks are on offer. A 360° tour takes in over 80 volcanoes! If you’re lucky, you may even see the Mont-Blanc…
To the west of Clermont-Ferrand, you will find the towns of Ceyrat, Durtol, Nohanent, Orcines, Romagnat, Royat and Saint-Genès-Champanelle, which are located entirely or partly in the Chaîne des Puys – Limagne fault, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in July 2018 at the 42nd World Heritage Committee in Manama). Several of their trails allow you to walk around or to the top of the puy de/du :
- La Vache
Discover the Royatonic, a place of relaxation, escape and vitality: Located at the foot of the Puy de Dôme, the Royatonic offers the benefits of natural thermal water at over 30°C, delivered by the volcanic soil of Auvergne: the Grottes Rouges spring. It has two large indoor and outdoor pools, a jacuzzi, hot and cold baths, as well as a relaxation area with two hammams, saunas and a rest room… You are on holidays, after all!
5 – Make the most of the advantages of camping:
The great advantage of camping is that, after visiting the city of Clermont-Ferrand, you can return to the calm of the campsite. You can also take advantage of the nature and the beautiful landscapes that the nearby region offers. Find all the campsites in Auvergne here!
Don’t forget to tag us in your stories, photos or videos if you’re visiting the city and its surroundings!