We probably all know France … or at least we think we do. Cause who hasn’t been there yet? Annually, millions of Dutchies travel to this country for the sun, wine and of course the city of love. But what about the rest of France. Did you know that there are volcanic areas for example? I did not oops! Reason for me to explore the world of a volcano city up close. Meet Clermont-Ferrand!
Capital of rock and… lava
When I travel, a couple of things create an awesome trip: good food, good wine and a special story are among them. In that case Clermont-Ferrand is the place to be. This city -currently popular because of the daily dose of cosy concerts – is situated on the edge of a valley. This valley was created 8,000 years ago when lava and below surface water caused a huge explosion. An explosion that would now blow a whole city away. Impressive if you ask me. The central location and fertile soil -with many natural springs- made this city a true hotspot in the Middle Ages. And it still shows! Beautiful medieval streets, old buildings, many natural fountains, churches and a beautiful cathedral. A dream town for culture lovers!
Things to do in Clermont-Ferrand
In this lovely town -with its beautiful architecture and cool concert locations- you never feel bored. Reason to go here? You bet ya! And if you are here, then these to-dos will put a smile on your face:
# Go on a historical tour of the city (highly recommended!)
A historical tour sometimes sounds a bit like going to your former history lessons but believe me, a whole new world opens up right before your eyes. Our guide -an enthusiastic young woman- shared all the secrets of the city and its architecture with us. I consumed each story like we were in a star restaurant. I.Loved.It. If you don’t want a tour, you can read about Clermont-Ferrand in advance so you don’t have to miss the hidden information on houses, in the cathedral and the churches.
# Do a cheese tasting and lunch @ Nivesse
Hooray for the French eating habits! Wine and cheese are always a good idea here. And I could not agree more :) The place to be is ab-so-lute-ly Nivesse. A wonderful cheese shop with a little back table. Choose one of their wines and let them prepare the most delicious cheeses, meats and dried fruits for you. The ladies in the shop mostly speak French, luckely the basic pointing out brings you quite far (my French is rather basic :). What a celebration: Une Fête du fromage;)
# Drink from a fountain
Clermont has more than 80 fountains in the city. The consequence of the many natural springs in the area. The aweesome thing is that you can drink from all the small fountains. Do you want to know for sure? You recognize the drinking fountains in the cup of water. If I tried? Bien sur! :)
# Explore the mountains
Due to the mountainous region Clermont-Ferrand is a breeding ground of sportsmanship. Mountain biking, trekking or -my personal favourite- paragliding. You can do it all here. Go out and have some fun!
# Enjoy a concert (and dinner :) @ La Puy de la Lune
As part of Save the best for last ‘, in Clermont-Ferrand may a (mini) concert have for your to-do list. Indeed, with so many shows a week is pretty if you do not know to deal with something fun. My favorite: Jazz club La Puy de la Lune. The old cellar is intimate and perfect for a personal concert, the food delicious, the desserts and home made rum collection to be jealous. What a neat place!
“The mountains are calling, so let’s go!”