Looking to try somewhere new in France? Clermont-Ferrand may just be your new favourite French destination. Veer off the usual tourist path and you’ll discover a gorgeous protected environment that’s a classified UNESCO World Heritage site.
Spring begins with the International Short Film Festival, nicknamed the "Cannes du Court". This festival has been attracting cinephiles from around the world since 1982 with its lively movie-themed events. Catch a movie or two and then mull things over with a drink at the foot of the Cathedral Notre-Dame du Port, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Rugby is akin to religion in Clermont-Ferrand, the hometown of ASM Clermont Auvergne.
Spring sees the finals of the team’s two biggest competitions, with the whole city decked out in yellow and blue, the colours of the ASM – the atmosphere at this time of year is hard to beat.
Over the summer months Clermont-Ferrand comes to life with an extravaganza of outdoor activities. The Chaîne des Puys, recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a host of interesting activities.
Go on spectacular hikes on foot or mountain bike or trails in the Puys, discover breath-taking landscapes, enjoy a round of golf or take a sailing trip on one of the volcanic lakes. Take a canoe, kayak or raft; in the afternoon, have lunch on the shore of a lake, and then wrap up your day with a sunset flight over the Puy-de-Dôme in a paraglider or a hot air balloon. In the evening, visit Clermont-Ferrand town centre to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a “plancha” of delicious cheeses and local cold cuts accompanied by a lovely bottle of wine.
Eating out in Clermont-Ferrand offers unbeatable value for money – the standard of service is excellent too.
If you visit during June and July, you’ll find plenty of festivals in Clermont and its neighbouring towns, including the Jazz Festival, Music Festival and Europavox Festival to name just a few.
Autumn is the season of harvests, and probably the best season to taste local specialties such as aligot or truffade (rich more-ish dishes based on potatoes and cheese) or tasty Salers beef, all accompanied by good wine. The region has the highest number of restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide – the perfect excuse to push the boat out and dine in style. Picturesque villages such as Montpeyroux, Charroux and Usson make the perfect road-trip pit-stops.
Cheese is not just considered food in the Auvergne, it's a genuine culture. Take a tour and discover local favourites such as Saint-Nectaire and Cantal.
Don’t miss a day exploring the Vulcania theme park, guaranteed fun for young and old alike, and be sure to catch the arts and cultural events taking place during Effervescences week
In winter, the ski resorts are just an hour's drive from Clermont-Ferrand, take in the spectacular panoramas and hit the powdery ski slopes which offer challenges for all levels.
After your day of skiing, come and discover the Royat spa where you can bathe in its therapeutic waters.
For an extended TLC session, take a trip to the spa towns of Chatel Guyon (30 minutes) or Vichy (45 minutes).