L'Auvergne: at "the heart of France"

Auvergne is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful regions of France. With its four departments (Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Puy de Dôme) it offers a very great variety of landscapes : ancient volcanoes, mountains, lakes, valleys, plateaus, plains. It integrates two of France's largest Regional Nature Parks: the Volcano Park and the Livradois-Forez Park. In its cities and villages we found numerous historic vestiges, castles, Romanic churches.


For more information, see the Tourism Office site


History of Clermont-Ferrand

A short history of Clermont-Ferrand can be found on CouchSurfing and Wikipedia.


Museums and attractions in Clermont-Ferrand

  • Musée d'Art Roger Quilliot (Place Louis Deteix, Clermont-Ferrand)

    Superb art museum with sculpture, paintings through the ages

  • Musée Lecoq (15 rue Bardoux, Clermont-Ferrand)

    An impressive natural history museum

  • Musée Bargoin (45 rue Ballainvilliers, Clermont-Ferrand)

    Gallo-Romain artefacts to be discovered here

  • L'Aventure MICHELIN (32 Rue du Clos Four 63000 Clermont-Ferrand)

    L'Aventure Michelin is a new museum dedicated to the history of the Michelin tyre-company. It spreads over two levels of a former industrial space of 2,000 m², on the Cataroux site. The exhibitions are based on different scenes of the past, present and future of the Michelin company. The many interactive modules can be used by visitors to build their own personal experience.

  • Vulcania

    An interactive multimedia centre which explores volcanoes, the creation of planet Earth, the formation of the solar system. Attraction include: The Angry Earth which is an interactive simulator with special effects simulating avalanches, tornados, earthquakes, rogue waves, volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts; The Dragon Ride; The Grand Geyser a natural site dedicated to water and ; and The Awakening Giant Auvergne: a film that uses the dynamic cinema in 4D and special effects.

See also Worldweb.com


Religious sites

Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral

At 108 meters tall the Cathedral of Clermont dominates the sky line of the city. Built in the 4th Century out of volcanic stone, the church hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Guided tours are available.


The Romanesque churches of Auvergne

The Auvergne is rich in remarkable mediaeval churches, the most famous of which are:

  • Basilique Notre Dame du Port (Clermont Ferrand)
  • Eglise Saint Austremoine at Issoire (20 km)
  • Notre Dame d'Orcival (30 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Nectaire (20 km)
  • Basilique Saint Julien, Brioude (35 km)
  • Abbey and cloisters at Lavaudieu (40 km)
  • Cathédrale Notre Dame, le Puy en Velay (120 km)

See also L'Auvergne Romane


Historic churches and chapels with frescoes and murals

The Abbey at La Chaise Dieu (70 km), with world famous Dance of Death fresco. The small churches and chapels of the Haut Allier (Blassac, Saint Cirgues, Peyrusse, etc.) , many decorated with murals and frescoes.


Dungeons and castles

There are many famous castles to visit in Auvergne; the following are among the more interesting:

Puy de Dome
La Batisse, Saint Saturnin, Murol, Tournoël, Busséol, Cordesses
Haute Loire
Domeyrat (near Brioude), Chavaniac Lafayette, Polignac
Val (on the Lac de Bort), Pesteils (near Vic sur Cère)

See also Castles of Auvergne



The lakes in Auvergne are due for the most part in volcanic events. Some reservoirs are Lake Aydat, Guery lake (Lakes formed after a lava flow that bar a valley), Lake Chambon (lake resulting from a valley blocked by a volcanic cone) others due to soil subsidence, and others occupy bowl of a crater lake as Serviere.


Other points of interest

Jonas (near Besse, 20 km). Remains of the mediaeval trogloditic cave dwellings, guided visits.

Historic working paper mill, the Moulin Richard de Bas, at Ambert (70 km) making paper since the 14th century.

Allier gorges scenic train trip (50 km), departs from Langeac (train station, SNCF).

The Pont de Garabit, designed by Gustave Eiffel (visitor centre on  A75 motorway south of St Flour, 100 km).

Salers, traditional old town of the Auvergne uplands (90 km).

English (United Kingdom)