Clermont-Ferrand. In the land of volcanoes. A city built of lava
In the land of volcanoes
You may not have heard of Auvergne. It is a region in central France, off the usual tourist routes. Yet, it is worth going there. Because you’ll see something completely different and unexpected.
Volcanoes in Auvergne. Source: Alpha du centaure https://www.flickr.com/people/alphaducentaure/ [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Auvergne is a vast area of extinct volcanoes.
So, the most common material is lava. From this material is built the whole capital of Auvergne: Clermont-Ferrand.
Clermont-Ferrand derived from the unification of two cities, Clermont and Monferrand.
Clermont is one of the oldest cities in France. In ancient times it was called Nemessos. In Clermont in 1095, the Pope Urban 2nd preached the first Crusade. It was the only one that managed to take Jerusalem from the Arabs.
The most famous child of Clermont-Ferrand is the mathematician Blaise Pascal, born in 1623.
Clermont-Ferrand. A city of lava
Even if you’re just passing through, it’s worth a stroll. Thus you’ll see the unique spectacle of a city built of lava.
A fountain of lava
Even the Cathedral (Notre Dame de l’Assomption), dating from the 13th to the 19th century, is entirely made of lava.
At Notre Dame du Port
In Clermont-Ferrand is also one of the most important Romanesque monuments of France: Notre Dame du Port (the Virgin of the Port -in the middle of France?). It dates from the 11th and 12th century.
The highly ornate entrance of Notre Dame du Port
A characteristic of the Romanesque churches of Auvergne is the many radiating chapels
And, of course, Clermont-Ferrand is an ideal starting point to discover the country of volcanoes …
Le-Puy-en-Velay. Source: Zinneke (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Saint-Nectaire. Source: Torsade de Pointes (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
About the author
Hello! I am Denis, an architect based in Athens, Greece. I teach history of art and architecture in higher education. That’s one passion of mine. The other one is hiking, in and out of town. If you follow me, I’ll share my discoveries with you.
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