Clermont-Ferrand

The Capital of the Auvergne enjoys an exceptional setting and location. Here are some places to visit.

The Cathedral

The majestic gothic cathedral soars skywards. It crowns the hill in Clermont’s historical centre.

Work began on current-day Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral in 1248, under the  supervision of architect Jean Deschamps and of the episcopacy of Hughes de la Tour.

It stands upon the site of former churches, as can be seen from the crypt. It took seven centuries to complete, including lengthy stoppages in the work. The three spans, the portal and the western spires were built by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.

The cathedral stands out through the use of Volvic volcanic stone, of which this work represented the first-ever wide-scale use.

This anthracite-coloured masterpiece highlights a unique set of stained glass windows and mural paintings.

The Romanesque Basilica

Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage, the Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica takes visitors into the spellbinding world of Romanesque art.

The basilica was built of beige arkose during the first third of the 12th century and was fully restored.

The nave is covered with a smooth cradle vault and an aisle on either side, featuring high arches and galleries. The chancel is surrounded by an ambulatory complete with outward-radiating chapels. The pyramid-shaped chevetis remarkable, as are the south portal’s sculpted motifs and the capitals, especially the chancel’s capitals adorned with narrative scenes.

The basilica boasts several masterpieces, including a breast-feeding Virgin Mary (ca 14th or 15th century) and an Annunciation scene by Philippe de Champaigne.

A Collection of Fountains

Whether on the town squares or bordering on streets, there are over fifty fountains pacing both of Clermont-Ferrand’s historical centres. Coming to us from a variety of eras ranging from the Renaissance to the 20th century, their water play whispers and rustles, while their lovely pearls of water splash on to the chiselled lava stone…

The most remarkable example is the Amboise Fountain on Place de la Poterne.

Made of Volvic stone, it was built in 1515 thanks to the patronage of Bishop Jacques d’Amboise. Its structure shows evidence of late gothic craftsmanship, especially the flying buttresses.

Three Museums

The treasures found in their collections and their high-quality temporary exhibits are surely worth a visit.

The Bargoin Museum

The Bargoin Museum hosts two sections. One is devoted to archaeology for the period stretching from prehistoric times to the Gallo-Roman era, including a few collections that are exceptional in multiple ways, items from the Temple of Mercuryat the summit of the Puy de Dôme, the gold coin collections and a unique set of wooden Gaul votive offerings (ex-voto). The other section is devoted  to a most diverse combination of Tapestries and Textile Arts, alternately presenting museum collections and exhibitions that pay wonderful tribute to this noble craft.

The Henri-Lecoq Museum

This is the oldest museum in Clermont. At this time, it has close to 650,000 items and specimens concerning botany, geology, zoology and the history of science and techniques.

Located in Henri-Lecoq’s former home, it offers a journey of discovery into the Auvergne’s nature heritage, as well as into the history of science by way of its Pascalines coming from Blaise Pascal, as well as the Lavoisier collection and souvenirs from Louis Pasteur.

The Roger-Quilliot Art Museum (MARQ)

Set inside the former Montferrand Ursulines Convent, the museum received the benefit of a bright, contemporary architectural and museographic refurbishment in the 90s.

Clermont’s foremost cultural venue, the Roger-Quilliot Art Museum (the “MARQ” in French) presents its collection on six levels: painting, sculpture, decorative art objects, graphic arts, ranging from the Middle Ages to contemporary creative works.

Industrial heritage: the “Michelin Adventure”

Located on the site of a former textile mill, whose turn-of-the-century architecture has been fully preserved, the Michelin Adventure extends over two levels. The exhibition, organised both thematically and chronologically, is devoted to the Michelin Group’s past, present and future.

An incredibly profuse, fully-staged journey helps everyone explore the Michelin Adventure with the curiosity and surprise appropriate to their age. Informative and fun, the many interactive modules will help everyone enjoy the experience.

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