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Fancy getting out in the country? Explore the lanes of the Parc Bargoin: the English gardens with their 60 species of tree that include ancient sequoia, Lebanese cedar, and Gingko Biloba, are sure to calm your mind. Before you leave, you can pay a visit to the park’s sheep, rabbits, and other residents.
Chemin de Beaumont in Chamalières
Lecoq Gardens are the green lung of central Clermont. Designed in the 19th century, they are home to a rose garden, vast water feature, and toad sculptures by the Dutch artist Mark Brusse. Strolling through these gardens is a bit like visiting an open-air museum. You could almost forget it's time for lunch!
Entrance from boulevard Lafayette, boulevard François Mittérand or avenue Vercingétorix
After a nice walk through the gardens, treat yourself to a gourmet reward at the Pavillon Lecoq in the cool shade of the trees or out in the sun. If the regulars are to be believed, the homemade smoked salmon and scallops with citrus and ginger are to die for.
Visit this Mediterranean garden to get a bird’s eye view of life. Contemplate the city as it stretches out beneath your feet, and inhale the heady fragrance of cypress, pine, lavender, and olive trees. Before heading back down, spend a moment admiring La Boule Erratique, Takashi Naraha’s abstract sculpture that’s an invitation to meditate.
This magnificent gothic cathedral stands on the hillock that forms Clermont’s historic centre. Built from Volvic stone, the famous volcanic rock, its dark walls form a striking contrast with its bright windows. For unbeatable views of the city, visitors who aren’t scared of heights can climb to the top of the Bayette tower. Everyone else will enjoy the views from the many terraces out on the Place de la Victoire.
Still in the historic centre, you can find one of the city’s hottest addresses. The cuisine is refined and the bistro ambience welcoming. Don’t miss the 'cassolette en croute' with duck and foie gras, served with traditional vegetable and trout lily froth. A real treat for your taste buds!
Restaurant Le Chardonnay (in french) - 1 Place Philippe Marcombes
A few miles from Clermont, within the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park, the 1465m peak of Puy de Dôme is worth the effort. Or you can opt for the comfort of the panoramic train. Once you’re up there, enjoy the superb viewpoint with its views over the Chaine des Puys, one of Europe’s finest volcanic sites.
With all these volcanoes, Clermont is also a spa city. Did you know that the world famous Volvic spring water came from here? Relax in the thermal waters at Royatonic. Indoor and outdoor pools heated to 30°C, jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms... everything you need to look after your body.
Royatonic (in french) - 5 Avenue Auguste Rouzaud in Royat