With plenty of students and artists, it's no surprise that open-minded Clermont-Ferrand is a city of film fanatics. One of Europe's most respected festivals of short film, the Festival International du Court Métrage, unfolds here each year, with competitions for international and domestic shorts. With showings priced from €3.50, it's an inexpensive way to dip into the city's creative scene. Check the website for the full programme and make sure you book accommodation well in advance.
Visitors ambling through Clermont-Ferrand’s shaded streets won’t fail to notice the city’s more than 40 fountains, with cherubs and animals sculpted in lava stone. For a self-guided watery walking tour, you can download a free app (iOS/Android); search for 'Clermont Fontaines' (French) or 'Clermont Fountains' (English). In summer there are guided walks (€6.50) around Clermont's babbling beauties, ask at the tourist office.
Planning to visit L'Aventure Michelin, take a ride on the Panoramique des Dômes, and check out one of the town's art or natural history museums? Save money by grabbing the 72-hour Clermont Pass (€18.50), available at the tourist office, which grants access to all three, and throws in a guided city tour and local public transport (plus some other discounts).
Clermont-Ferrand owes its double-barrelled name to the union between two rival towns, Clermont and Montferrand. Clermont and its satellite town, Montferrand, were joined together in 1630. Plucky Montferrand continued to petition for independence in subsequent centuries but it remains part of modern-day Clermont-Ferrand.
Many visitors skirt the Montferrand neighbourhood when they visit L'Aventure Michelin, linked to the city centre by eastbound tram A. Hang on for three stops beyond the Michelin museum and you'll reach the quartier Montferrand and its Musée d'Art Roger Quilliot, a first-rate gallery housed in an Ursuline convent. West of the museum, get a flavour of vieux Montferrand, the medieval town, by strolling among 15th- and 16th-century hôtels particuliers (town houses) on rue Kléber and rue Séminaire.