Clermont-Ferrand: Wikis


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Coordinates: 45°46′59″N 3°04′56″E / 45.783088°N 3.082352°E / 45.783088; 3.082352

Commune of Clermont-Ferrand
Blason ville fr ClermontFerrand (PuyDome).svg
Clermont pierre carree.jpg

Clermont-Ferrand is located in France
Country France
Region Auvergne (capital)
Department Puy-de-Dôme
Arrondissement Clermont-Ferrand
Intercommunality Clermont
Mayor Serge Godard
Elevation 321–602 m (1,053–1,975 ft)
(avg. 358 m/1,175 ft)
Land area1 42.67 km2 (16.47 sq mi)
Population2 140,700  (2006)
 - Density 3,297 /km2 (8,540 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 63113/ 63000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Clermont-Ferrand (Auvergnat dialect of Occitan: Clarmont-Ferrand / Clarmont d'Auvèrnhe) is a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne region, with a population of 140,700 (2006). Its metropolitan area had 409,558 inhabitants at the 1999 census.

It is the prefecture (capital) of the Puy-de-Dôme department. Serge Godard is the current Mayor of the city.

Clermont-Ferrand sits on the plain of Limagne in the Massif Central and is surrounded by a major industrial area. The city is famous for the chain of volcanoes, the Chaîne des Puys surrounding it. The famous dormant volcano Puy-de-Dôme (10 km from the city) is one of the highest of these and well-known for the telecommunication antennas that sit on its top and are visible from far away.

Clermont-Ferrand is also famous for hosting the world's number one[citation needed] international short-film festival, Festival du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand, as well as Michelin 's corporate headquarters, the famous tire company created more than 100 years ago in the city.

Clermont-Ferrand's most famous public square is place de Jaude, on which stands a grand statue of Vercingetorix sitting imperiously on a horse and holding a glaive. The inscription reads: J'ai pris les armes pour la liberté de tous (English: I took up arms for the liberty of all). This statue was sculpted by Frédéric Bartholdi, who also created the Statue of Liberty.

Recently, Clermont-Ferrand, which was France's first city to get a new guided light transit system, thereby linking the city's north and south neighbourhoods.




Prehistoric and Roman

Statue of Vercingétorix by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi on the main square of the city

Clermont ranks among the oldest cities of France. The first known mention was by the Greek geographer Strabo, who called it the "metropolis of the Arverni" (meaning their oppidum, civitas or tribal capital). The city was at that time called Nemessos — a Gaulish word for a sacred forest, and was situated on the mound where the current cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand was constructed. It was somewhere in the area around Nemossos where the Arverni chieftain Vercingetorix (later to head a unified Gallic resistance to Roman invasion under Julius Caesar) was born nearby in around 72 BC. Also, Nemossos was situated not far from the plateau of Gergovia, where Vercingetorix pushed back the Roman assault at the Battle of Gergovia in 52 BC. After the Roman conquest, the city became known as Augustonemetum sometime in the 1st century, a name which combined its original Gallic name with that of the Emperor Augustus. Its population was estimated at 15,000–30,000 inhabitants in the second century, making it one of the largest cities of Roman Gaul. It then became Arvernis in the third century (taking its name, like other Gallic cities in this era, from the people who lived within its walls), going through an expansion phase that ended in the mid-3rd century.

Early Middle Ages

The city became the seat of a bishop in the fifth century, at the time of the bishop Namatius or Saint Namace, who built a cathedral here described by Gregory of Tours. Clermont went through a dark period after the disappearance of the Roman Empire and during the whole High Middle Ages, marked by pillaging by the peoples who invaded Gaul. Between 471 and 475, Auvergne was often the target of Visigothic expansion, and the city was frequently besieged, including once by Euric. Although defended by Sidonius Apollinaris, at the head of the diocese from 468 to 486, and the patrician Ecdicius, the city was ceded to the Visigoths by emperor Julius Nepos in 475 and became part of the Visigothic kingdom until 507. A generation later, it became part of the kingdom of the Franks. On November 8 535, the first Council of Clermont opened at Arvernis (Clermont), with fifteen bishops participating, including Caesarius of Arles, Nizier of Lyons (bishop of Trèves) and Saint Hilarius, bishop of Mende. Sixteen decrees were made there, notably the second canon that recalls that the granting of episcopal dignity must be according to the merits and not as a result of intrigues.

In 848, the city was renamed Clairmont, after the castle Clarus Mons. During this era, it was an episcopal city ruled by its bishop. Clermont was not spared by the Vikings at the time of the weakening of the Carolingian Empire either, being ravaged by the Normans under Hasting or Hastingen for the first time in 862 and 864 and, while its bishop Sigon carried out reconstruction work, again in 898 (or 910, according to some sources). Bishop Étienne II built a new Roman cathedral on the site of the current cathedral, consecrated in 946 but (apart from the towers, only replaced by the current ones in the 19th century, and some parts of the crypt, still visible) destroyed to build current Gothic cathedral.

Middle Ages

Clermont was the starting point of the First Crusade from the Christian world to free Jerusalem from Muslim domination—Pope Urban II preached the crusade there in 1095 at the Second Council of Clermont. In 1120, following the repeated crises between the counts of Auvergne and the bishops of Clermont, in order to counteract the clergy's power, the counts founded the new rival city of Montferrand on a mound next to Clermont's fortifications, on the model of the new cities of the Midi springing up in the 12th and 13th centuries. Right up to the early modern period, the two remained separate cities - Clerrmont an episcopal city, Montferrand a comtal one.

Early Modern and Modern eras

In 1551, Clermont became a royal city, and in 1610, the inseparable property of the Crown. On 15 April 1630, the Edict of Troyes (the First Edict of Union) forcibly joined the two cities of Clermont and Montferrand. This union was confirmed in 1731 by Louis XV with the Second Edict of Union. At this time Montferrand was no more than a satellite city of Clermont, in which condition it remained until the beginning of the 20th century. Wishing to retain its independence, Montferrand made three demands for independence, in 1789, 1848, and 1863.

In the 20th century, the construction of the Michelin factories and city gardens, which shaped the modern Clermont-Ferrand, definitively reunited Clermont and Montferrand. Today, although the two cities are amalgamated, one may find in Clermont-Ferrand two distinct downtowns, and Montferrand retains a strong identity.


Nuvola apps kweather.svg  Weather averages for Clermont-Ferrand (altitude : 329 m)
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Year
Average low (°C) 0 1 3 5 8 12 14 14 11 8 3 3 6,8
Average high (°C) 7 9 13 15 20 23 26 26 22 18 11 8 16,5
Precipitation (mm) 29 27,3 29,5 45,2 91,9 67,5 47,8 73,8 57,8 51,3 36 33,5 590,8


Food production and processing as well as engineering are major employers in the area, as are the many research facilities of major computer software and pharmaceutical companies.

The city's industry for a long time was linked to the French tyre manufacturer Michelin, which created the radial tyre and grew up from Clermont-Ferrand to become a worldwide leader in its industry. For most of the 20th century, it ran extensive factory works throughout the city, employing up to 30,000 workers at a time. While the company has maintained its headquarters in the city, most of the manufacturing is now done in foreign countries. This downsizing took place gradually, allowing the city to court new investment in other industries, avoiding the fate of many post-industrial cities.

Rue Montlosier, in Clermont-Ferrand with the Puy de Dôme mountain in the background.


Education is also an important factor in the economy of Clermont-Ferrand. The Université Blaise Pascal and Université d'Auvergne are located there and have a total student population of over 30,000, along with university faculty and staff.

A division of Polytech located in Clermont-Ferrand made the news because two of its students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, were murdered in June 2008 while enrolled in a program at Imperial College in London [1].



One of the 48 public fountains with the cathedral in background. The fountain and the cathedral are made with the typical black volcanic stone of the area named "pierre de Volvic".

Clermont-Ferrand was the home of mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal who tested Evangelista Torricelli's hypothesis concerning the influence of gas pressure on liquid equilibrium. This is the experiment where a vacuum is created in a mercury tube: Pascal's experiment had his brother-in-law carry a barometer to the top of the Puy-de-Dôme. The Université Blaise-Pascal (or Clermont-Ferrand II) is located primarily in the city and is named after him.

Clermont-Ferrand also hosts world's first international short film festival which originated in 1979. This festival, which brings thousands of people every year (137.000 in 2008) to the city, is the second French film Festival after Cannes in term of visitors, but the first one regarding the number of spectators (in Cannes visitors are not allowed in theatres, only professionals). This festival has revealed many young talented directors now well-known in France and internationally such as Mathieu Kassovitz, Cédric Klapisch and Éric Zonka.

Beside the short film festival, Clermont-Ferrand hosts more than twenty music, film, dance and theatre festivals every year. With more than 200 artistic groups from dance to music, Clermont-Ferrand and the Auvergne region's cultural life is important in France. One of the city's nicknames is "France's Liverpool". Groups such as The Elderberries were formed there.

Additionally, the city was the subject of the acclaimed documentary The Sorrow and the Pity, which used Clermont-Ferrand as the basis of the film, which told the story of France under Nazi occupation and the Vichy regime of Marshal Pétain. Pierre Laval, Pétain's "handman" was an Auvergnat.


A racing circuit, the Charade Circuit, close to the city, using closed-off public roads held the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972. It was a daunting circuit, with such harsh elevation changes that caused some drivers to be ill as they drove. Winners included Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart (twice), and Jochen Rindt.

The city is also host to a high-profile rugby union club, ASM Clermont Auvergne, as well as Clermont Foot Auvergne, a football club that will compete in France's second division, Ligue 2, during the 2007–2008 season.

Religious architecture

Notre-Dame du Port
Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption

Clermont-Ferrand has two famous churches :

Parks and gardens

Famous people

Clermont-Ferrand was the birthplace of

People that have lived in Clermont-Ferrand

International relations

Twin towns - sister cities

Clermont-Ferrand is twinned with:

See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : France : Central France : Auvergne : Clermont-Ferrand

Clermont-Ferrand [1] is a city in central France, the capital of the Auvergne region. Population 140,000.



Clermont-Ferrand is famous for the chain of extinct volcanoes that ring the city, including the highest, Puy-de-Dôme, some 13 km away from the city centre.


One of the oldest cities of France, its first mention was by the Greek geographer Strabo, who called it Nemessos, a Gaulish word for a sacred forest. The settlement witnessed the famous Battle of Gergovia, in which the Gauls led by Vercingetorix triumphed temporarily over the Romans led ultimately by Julius Caesar. After the Roman conquest, the city was renamed Augustonemetum, a name which combined its original Gallic name with that of the Emperor Augustus. Its population was estimated at 15,000–30,000 inhabitants in the 2nd century CE, making it one of the largest cities of Roman Gaul.

In 848, the city was renamed Clairmont, after the castle Clarus Mons. Clairmont was an episcopal city ruled by its bishop, and famously the starting point of the First Crusade raised to free Jerusalem from Muslim domination. Pope Urban II preached Crusade in 1095 at the Council of Clermont. In 1120, to counteract the power of the clergy, the counts of Auvergne founded the city of Montferrand on the model of the new cities of the Midi. In 1551, Clermont became a royal city, and in 1610, the inseparable property of the Crown.

On 15 April 1630, the Edict of Troyes (the First Edict of Union) forcibly joined the two cities of Clermont and Ferrand. This union was confirmed in 1731 by Louis XV with the Second Edict of Union. At this time Montferrand was no more than a satellite city of Clermont, in which condition it remained until the beginning of the 20th century. Wishing to retain its independence, Montferrand made three demands for independence, in 1789, 1848, and 1863.

Contemporary City

In the 20th century, the construction of the Michelin factories and city gardens definitively reunited Clermont and Montferrand. Today, although the two cities are amalgamated, one may find in Clermont-Ferrand two distinct downtowns, and Montferrand retains a strong identity.

Clermont-Ferrand remains home to the famous French tire manufacturing company Michelin.

Get in

The best way to travel around France is by train, and Clermont-Ferrand's train station is located just on the eastern edge of centre ville on l'Avenue de l'Union Sovietique. Trains leave every couple of hours to and from Paris through out the day 5:00 - 20:00. The ride takes three and a half hours, and makes four stops along the way.

Clermont-Ferrand also has a bus station. The Gare Routiere is located at in the parking lot across from the Casino supermarket where Boulevard Francois Mitterrand splits into Boulevard Pasteur and Boulevard Charles de Gaulle, two main blocks south of Place de Jaude. Since France doesn't have a national bus line, all routes arriving and departing from the bus terminal are international. The company Eurolines departs and arrives from here.

Clermont-Ferrand is also at the intersection of the A-71 and A-72 highways. Remember, gas is at least twice as expensive in France as it is in the United States, and lots of highways are toll roads. The A75 is a free one, and allows you to come from the South (Montpellier, Toulouse, ...).

The Aeroport Clermont-Ferrand Aulnat is located fifteen minutes east of town. Air France flies here, and shuttles take you to centre ville.

Get around

A one-way ticket costs 1.25 Euros and is good for an hour. You can also buy 10 tickets for 11 Euros. Tickets are good on the Tram or any of the bus lines, and do not expire.

Clermont has recently opened a intra-urban tramway providing access to a number of key points in the city. Also you can get around by car or scooter or motorcycle or moped.

This tram, known as the A starts North in Champratel and travels South through centre ville, Les Cezeaux campus before ending at La Pardieu.

Clermont-Ferrand also has an extensive bus network connecting the downtown to the outlying suburbs. The stations and stops are frequent and the map is not confusing. The buses are limited on Saturdays and do not run on Sundays.

Finally like most European cities, Clermont-Ferrand is very walkable. Any destination or need is within a 30 minute walk. Use your legs to explore the hills and alleys and the neighborhood shops they contain.

You can find some public Wifi spots around: in the Jardin Lecoq, or on the Place de Jaude for example. Here is a directory.

  • The large bronze statue of Vercingetorix in the Place de Jaude, the city's most famous public square. Vercingetorix was a French soldier during the Gallic Wars, 2000 years ago. He led a stunning victory at Gergovie (at just 6KM South of town, the ruins and archeological digs atop the battle field plateau are also worth a visit) which was Caesar's lone defeat during this campaign. He is also immortalized in bronze tiles strewn about the streets along with Clermont-Ferrand's other two famous sons; Pope Urban II who launched the first crusade, and famed mathematician Blaze Pascal. The Place de Jaude is the city center, housing many cafes, stores, restaurants, and a shopping mall. People gather here to watch important sporting matches which are shown on giant big screens, as well as to celebrate festivals.
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. Construction on the black gothic cathedral started in 1248 and was not finished until 1902. Like most of the old buildings and churches in this region, it was built out of black volcanic rock, giving it a somber and ominous mood from the outside. It is open to the public and regular masses are performed there. Just south of the cathedral halfway across Place de la Victoire is a statue honoring Pope Urban II. The Place de la Victoire is where the annual Christmas Market is held.
  • The Puy-de-Dôme, the dormant volcano overlooking the city. This is accessible by a bus which runs in the summer. At the top, visitors can parasail, go hiking, or visit the cafe.
  • La Fontaine d'Amboise, which was built in 1515.
  • Notre-Dame-du-Port. This is a Romanesque basilica constructed in the 11th and 12th century out of yellow sandstone. It's known for its detailed capitals, which are at the top of the pillars inside.
  • Parc Montjuzet. This park over the town offers a great view for visitors who can't make it to the top of the Puy-de-Dome. Located on the North end of town, it's a five minute hike up offering fantastic views of the valley and the surrounding bluffs and plateaus which encircle Clermont-Ferrand.
  • Le Musee Roger-Quilliot is an excellent art museum housing works of art from all periods of time but especially paintings and artifacts pertaining to the local region of Auvergne. Like all museums in France, it is free the first Sunday of every month. Recently the museum had an exposition on Le Bibendum, the mascot of Michelin Tires.
  • Michelin Tire Corporation is headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand. The main factory as well as the testing race track are also located in town.
  • Take a walk in the olds streets around the cathedral in the old town area. You will find a lot of cute stores (antiques, clothes) good restaurants, and little parks to sit down and rest.
  • Have a picnic or take a nap in Jardin Le Coq. The immense park in the center of town is open year round. A cafe and a merry-go-round are at it's center, with paths, hills, trees, and flower gardens all around. Eat a baguette, kick the soccer ball, or catch some rays while enjoying this urban oasis.
  • Hike le Puy-De-Dome
  • Hike "Les Cotes" and enjoy the beautiful view of the city. Access it from Rue Valentin Vigneron at the north of the city.
  • Take a ride around (hiking, biking, ...) to see the lakes, volcanos, little roads and villages surrounding the area.
  • Catch a Rugby Game @ Stade Marcel Michelin
  • Watch a baseball game
  • Le Chat Noir. This is a small tea house next to the cathedral that serves a wide variety of teas and scones. Most of the jellies and teas are locally made.
  • Pizza Tino, 40, Place de Jaude. This restaurant serves reasonably priced pizzas and is always crowded at lunch.
  • Le Pinocchio, 20, rue Saint-Dominique. This is an Italian restaurant which serves excellent pastas and pizzas.
  • Le Friand, rue des gras ( Cathedral's street ). This bakery is the one where you will find the biggest and the best "viennoiseries" in the town !
  • Le Toucan (fast food), 2bis Rue Assas (near the escalators of the Jaude commercial center), 04 73 34 82 89. A typical fast food. You'll get special sandwiches with good bread, steacks and cheese from Auvergne (blue cheese, st nectaire, ...). Go to map  edit
  • Le Café Pascal. This café next to the cathedral has an international feel. It is lively at night.
  • L'Appart, 6, place Sugny. This bar has an apartment theme and guests can choose to sit in the bedroom, living room, or bathroom.
  • The Still Irish Pub, 7, Bd Leon Malfreyt. International students, particularly anglophones, like to congregate here.
  • Les Frères Berthoms. This bar is next to the court hall, this is the best place to enjoy good beer on a sunny terrasse !
  • La Perdrix, 14, rue terrasse (below the place de la victoire), 0473912135. More French/Belgian/German beers than you can shake a stick at. Wide variety of scotch and other whiskeys. Knowledgeable barman, always knows the right drink.  edit
  • Le Rimbaud (bar, restaurant, snack, ice cream), Place Louis Aragon (near the Jaude commercial center), 04 73 34 21 39. Concerts. Happy hours. Beers, cider and other specialities from Brittany. They are on Facebook (Le Rimbaud), where you can see some events coming . Go to map  edit

Get out

See the get in section.

Note that the airport links you to some of the big european cities, like Amsterdam, Brussels or Madrid.

And the A75 highway is free and links to the South.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

Clermont-Ferrand is a city in France. It has about 135,000 inhabitants. Clermont-Ferrand (in Occitan Clarmont-Ferrand / Clarmont of Auvèrnhe) is a city in central-southern France, prefecture of the department of Puy-de-Dome and chief town of the Auvergne region. Partly for historical reasons, the city is often called the "Clermont".

It is officially the 23rd city in France with 139,501 inhabitants in 2007. It is at the heart of a conurbation of nearly 300,000 inhabitants. With 426,698 inhabitants in 2006 according to INSEE, the urban area has the 17th and 12th of urban France.

The modern city was born from the union of two separate towns, Clermont and Montferrand. This union has been imposed by Louis XIII in 1630 (Edict of Troyes) and was confirmed by Louis XV.

While Montferrand was founded in the early twelfth century by the Counts of Auvergne on the model of fortified cities in the Southwest, Clairmont is much older, as it existed in ancient times. The earliest mention of the existence of Clairmont contained in the work of Strabo, the early first century. The city was then known Nemossos described as a "metropolis of Arvernes." She later took the name of Augustonemetum then Arverni.


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