Chocolatiers, Confiseries & Patisseries
For the sweet-toothed, you simply must visit Le Lautrec for macarons of every flavour imaginable. Around the corner, just off Place Jaude, Vieillard is an old world chocolatier which has been a beloved chocolatier and confiserie in the same spot for decades, with the brand dating back to 1781! For pastries and cakes, Au Trianon is the French cafe of dreams, dating back to 1909 and still in the same family – we dare you to leave without trying or buying anything!
Explore the local terroir by tasting the fruits of the land, from local mustards preserves and spreads to fresh vegetables, legumes and meat from skilled butchers. There are four different cheese stalls at the market, each one selling particular cheeses but those worth trying from the local area, all AOC, are: Cantal, Salers, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne and Saint-Nectaire. We particularly liked La Maison du Bon Fromage for cheese, set just inside the door of the market and selling since 1949, as well as Fromagerie Nivesse outside the market to one side of the square.
Experience a Majestic Cathedral and Basilica
Located near to one another, the majestic, gothic cathedral Notre Dame De L’Assomption and the 12th century Notre Dame Du Port Basilica are iconic sights in the city to behold. The former, made of black lava and with elements added between the 13th and 20th centuries, it’s right by Victoire Square which is a popular place for al fresco dining and drinking. The latter is an historic church of blond arkose which has had its features lovingly restored and also features impressive artworks inside.
The regional speciality dish, of melted Cantal fraîche with local potatoes and either lardons of pork or thinly sliced ham - notably the locally-made jambon sec. Book a table at Bistrot Des Dames for one of the best examples of it.
Visit Le Puy-De-Dôme
For stunning views, drive about 30 minutes outside the city to the Grand Site Le Puy de Dôme. From the ‘Maison de Site’ and exhibition space, board the train and embark on Panoramique des Dômes, a winding train ‘round the peak – or you can embark on the 90 minute hike by foot if you so wish. The views across the region from the top are truly spectacular. For an even more enhanced experience, make like us and book a table at Restaurant Le 1911 to enjoy the incredible views alongside a three-course lunch and a glass of wine. Truly one of the most exceptional tables in the entire region.
Drink at Chez Mon Oncle
It looks like a relic from the last century with its classic stylings and compact terrace of high and low tables slightly inclining up the hill but this is actually a fairly recent addition to the city, having opened a number of years ago in the traditional style. Chez Mon Oncle captures a classic atmosphere and feeling of French conviviality. It would be a sin to miss the opportunity to enjoy aperitif hour amongst the locals here as the sun sets.
Pick a Table at Clermont-Ferrand
A truly foodie city, with lots of fine produce, naturally we felt spoiled for choice by the restaurants. Our favourite was Le Saint-Eutrope. A proper French bistro where we enjoyed lunch from the daily-changing menu and were the only tourists there. The space is small, the menu short, the wine flows and the dishes - created by chef Harry Lester, who hails from London but has lived and worked in Clermont-Ferrand for years - are classic with a modern twist and always featuring local produce. Try Table au Plafond for a French twist on tapas as well as generous charcuterie and cheese sharing boards, comforting snacks and smaller plates, plus a keen selection of wines and other drinks. A great vibe, filled with young locals and groups for after-work drinks.