Notre Dame Cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

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Cathédrale Notre Dame

Top choice in Clermont-Ferrand

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.

The cathedral was narrowly saved from destruction during the French Revolution when it was offered as a revolutionary meeting place and landmark. For more insight into the cathedral's seven centuries of history, ask at the tourist office about guided one-hour tours (€4.90, French only) from mid-July to August, usually at 11am on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Clermont-Ferrand attractions

1. Fontaine d'Amboise

0.12 MILES

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…

2. Basilique Notre Dame du Port

0.23 MILES

This architectural gem has all the key elements of a Romanesque church: semi-circular arches, a bulky silhouette and a broad headpiece. But its…

3. Place de Jaude

0.23 MILES

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…

4. Statue of Vercingétorix

0.24 MILES

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…

5. Notre Dame du Port Belvédère

0.25 MILES

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.

6. Église St-Eutrope

0.28 MILES

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…

7. Musée Bargoin

0.33 MILES

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…