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In Clermont-Ferrand, the skyline is as moodily Gothic as the ambience is sunny and good-humoured. Dark volcanic stone gave the city its distinctive hue, layered into its 18th-century townhouses, dozens of fountains and the magnificent twin-turreted cathedral at its cobblestoned heart. As the Auvergne's largest city, Clermont-Ferrand is a hub not only for business but cuisine, with plenty of restaurants serving modernised cuisine auvergnate, and culture (in the form of fizzing art, film and live-music scenes). Beyond the winding lanes of its old town, the Auvergne’s capital is an industrial powerhouse, home to the Michelin automotive empire.

This free-spirited city is a convenient base for trips to the slumbering volcanoes of the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne, as well as to neighbouring towns such as Thiers and Riom.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Clermont-Ferrand.