Clermont Ferrand town guide
Car drivers may possibly be relying on the main product of Clermont Ferrand as this is the home of the Michelin Tyre Company. Situated in the Massif Central east of Thiers this large town is important both culturally and economically. It houses the local university and this gives the town a variety of events.
Prior to the seventeenth century there were two settlements here but the all powerful Counts de Auvergne needed a military base in the area and amalgamated the two towns on the top of an extinct volcano.
Clermont remains the older part of the town and the Musee Bargoin is situated here. This museum has a particularly fine collection of roman artefacts that have been collected locally giving testament to the age of the original settlements. Place Saint Pierre with the daily food market will provide you with produce for a picnic lunch should you require one. The Notre Dame Cathedral might seem to be dirty but it is, in fact, built in the black lava brought from the quarries at nearby Volvic (of mineral water fame).
Before setting off again in your hire car, spare a bit of time for the later part of the town. Rue Keber is lined with fine mansions and "hotels particuliers".
Not far away by hire car to the west of Clermont is the Puy de Dome Parc centred on this old volcanic peak and worth a visit at any time, although if snow has fallen visitors may not be allowed to drive far up the road that ascends the dome.