Must see attractions in Clermont-Ferrand

  • Top ChoiceSights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Cathédrale Notre Dame

    Clermont-Ferrand’s skyline broods with volcanic stone, but its most impressive edifice is Cathédrale Notre-Dame, whose 108m twin spires pierce the sky like blackened spears. Its façade, with snarling gargoyles and Gothic tracery, was constructed between the 13th and 19th centuries. Within, lift your gaze to the 1527 jacquemart clock, with the faun-like god Mars and Time beating out the hours, and intricate rose windows, restored in the early 20th century. In summer, climb Tour de la Bayette for 360-degree views.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    L'Aventure Michelin

    Yes, it’s a temple dedicated to the Auvergne’s world-famous tyre brand, but the 'Michelin Adventure' is a crowd-pleasing attraction. Gallery spaces are decked out like 19th-century streets to evoke the early days of the Michelin brothers, whose designs would revolutionise transport worldwide. Some displays are somewhat niche (want to compare a 1919 cord tyre with the 1923 model?) but the museum answers interesting questions about map-making and car manufacture in colourful, interactive ways. Written explanations are in French and English.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Basilique Notre Dame du Port

    This architectural gem has all the key elements of a Romanesque church: semi-circular arches, a bulky silhouette and a broad headpiece. But its distinctive decorations set it apart, and strengthened the case for granting it Unesco World Heritage status in 1998. Floral and geometric patterns of black volcanic stone are smoothly set in its peachy sandstone. Its exterior playfully combines neoclassical columns, terracotta tiles and medieval reliefs. The exterior is best admired from the belvédère; follow signs across the street.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Musée d'Art Roger Quilliot

    Housed in an Ursuline convent 3km northeast of central Clermont, the city’s premier gallery takes design cues from NYC’s Guggenheim, its white spiral staircase linking various centuries of European art. Head upstairs for 17th-century European masterworks, or down for the medieval art annexe, packed with religious art relics dating back to the 7th century. Take tram A from place de Jaude.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Place de Jaude

    Just southwest of the old city, lined with bars and hotels, Clermont-Ferrand's monumental pedestrianised square is overlooked by a statue of heroic Celtic chief Vercingétorix.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Musée Bargoin

    Assembling a motley collection of ancient artefacts and modern design inside a stately 1903 building, the Bargoin is a good primer on Clermont old and new. Explore the ground floor's excellent display of archaeological finds, which includes Roman mosaics and Etruscan vases (explanations in French only). The first floor hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary photography and art. Recent archaeological finds are sometimes displayed on the second floor, if you want to see what’s new in the ancient world.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Musée d'Histoire Naturelle Henri-Lecoq

    Clermont’s natural history museum is a pleasant enough rainy-day diversion. The first floor pays homage to the city’s most famous son, 17th-century polymath Blaise Pascal (with most displays in French only). Up on the second floor you’ll find mildly diverting displays of the Auvergne’s minerals, fauna and flora, including taxidermy that’s sure to be a hit with the kids (look for the humongous California seal).

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Musée de la Résistance

    In a simple, schoolroom format, this small museum details the chronology of events following 21 June 1940, when Nazi troops marched into Clermont-Ferrand. Located 1km west of central Clermont in Chamalières, which was the seat of the Clermont Gestapo at the time, the museum remembers Resistance fighters (and French collaborators) and features apparatus of the era such as a printing press.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Église St-Eutrope

    Sprouting from the 5th-century site of one of Clermont-Ferrand's oldest churches is this magnificent 12th-century church, crowned with a prickly Gothic spire.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Obelisk

    This 19th-century obelisk was fashioned from dark volcanic stone from Volvic and festooned with carvings. The monument was raised in honour of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, a local general highly esteemed by Napoleon Bonaparte, who died in the Battle of Marengo.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Statue of Vercingétorix

    Since 1903, ancient Gaul's 'warrior king' has assumed a fearsome stance atop a horse in the middle of place de Jaude. The statue was created by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who also designed the Statue of Liberty.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Fontaine d'Amboise

    Two blocks north of the cathedral, this early-16th-century fountain has three tiers carved in a delicate Gothic style. It's the focal point of a pretty square with views towards Puy de Dôme.

  • Sights in Clermont-Ferrand

    Notre Dame du Port Belvédère

    Follow signs from rue Robertus to a staircase leading to head-on views of the extraordinarily detailed stonework on the Notre Dame du Port church.