Clermont-Ferrand city in France
France, Puy de Dome, the Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne, Chaine des Puys, Saint Ours les Roches, Vulcania (aerial view)
France, Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand, basilica
Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral in France
puy de dome
the plateau of Gergovie, in Auvergne
A weekend in volcano country
Crowned by the elegant silhouette of its Gothic cathedral, built entirely from anthracite lava stone, Clermont-Ferrand displays equal charm in the summer sun and in the misty winter ribbons that sometimes make the summit of the Puy de Dôme disappear.
This rich 3-day program takes you through its ancient lanes, shopping streets, relaxing parks and sublime panoramas.
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Begin your journey with a pleasant stroll through the historic centre, taking in everything around you. Take the opportunity to stop at the Saint-Pierre market for a coffee, to taste some local cheeses and compose a small gourmet basket to take away. Next, go up to the cathedral via Rue des Gras which is a must before the ascent of the Tour de la Bayette which offers panoramic views across the whole city. Continue through the picturesque streets to Basilica Notre-Dame-du-Port to explore this unforgettable masterpiece of Romanesque art.
In the early afternoon, discover the Jaude quarter and take the opportunity to do some shopping along Rue Blatin and the area’s shopping centres. You are just a short hop from the St-Genès – Ballainvilliers quarter for a museum visit: a choice between Musée Bargoin and the Muséum Henri-Lecoq.
You can dine at one of Fontgiève quarter’s many restaurants.
MyTripTailor Tip : If the schedule fits, head to a rock concert at the Coopérative de Mai.
Take the tram to the Avenue de la République to spend the morning exploring the wonderful history of Bibendum at L’Aventure Michelin. Then pass through the old workers’ towns to reach Montferrand.
After lunch in old Montferrand take time out to walk the streets of this bastide, lined with superb mansions.
This walk will take in the Roger Quilliot Art Museum for a fascinating tour of sculpture and art collections, enhanced by a modern set design.
If you’re in the car, head off for the Gergovie plateau in late afternoon. You can watch the sunset after a walk on the historical site that offers so many views.
Dine here or return to Clermont-Ferrand.
MyTripTailor Tip : Sports enthusiast looking to share an experience with the Clermontois should check the fixture list for ASM Clermont-Auvergne Rugby Club home matches before you set off.
Take the bus (line B) to Royat, where you can follow the town’s discovery paths between the spa park and old town.
Allow at least a couple of hours to relax in the spring waters of the Royatonic spa relaxation centre. On the agenda, hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, warm pools, an outdoor pool and even spa treatments if you’ve booked.
Feeling suitably relaxed? From Royat, continue west if you have transport or, in season, catch a shuttle (from Place de Jaude) to the summit of Puy de Dôme. This excursion offers a total change of scenery with a dive into the heart of the volcanoes of Auvergne and breathtaking views of the Chaîne des Puys and the Limagne plateau.
Those with children may prefer a day long visit to the Vulcania exploration park.
MyTripTailor Advice : if your schedule permits, explore the neighbouring volcanoes of puy de Dôme: the Volcan de Lemptégy and Puy de Pariou.
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