Text read by Mary Peters

On your way to Clermont Ferrand, do stop off in Sarran to look at the museum. On display are different items given to the former French President, Jacques Chirac. His wife, Bernadette, was the Mayor of this village, hence the museum in such a small hamlet. 

The whole region of the Auvergne is known for outdoor activities, including cycling, horse & donkey treks, waterboarding.

About 15 km from Clermont Ferrand is something called Vulcania Park. It is a site that is dedicated to learning all about volcanos. The exhibits help you understand the function of earthquakes and volcanos all over the world. The museum is constructed like a volcano and is in an old lava bed which is 30,000 years old. If you have the soul of an explorer, go, and discover this family-friendly place.  

Clermont Ferrand is the capital of the Auvergne. The Romanesque Basilica, Notre Dame du Port, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town has a cathedral and fountains made from lava stones. In the surrounding area of Clermont are many castles. The region is known for its chain of extinct volcanos, the Chaine de Puy.

The region also has quite a few lakes worth exploring. Le lac Chambon, Lac d’Aydat, Lac Pavin. Worth visiting is the Queuille bend of the Sioule river, with plenty of photography opportunities.   

Clermont Ferrand is also the birthplace of Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician, born in 1623 and died in 1662. He was a child prodigy and greatly contributed to the theory of probability. He also invented an early version of the calculator called the Pascaline. 

Just to the north of Clermont is the town of Volvic which lends its name to the world-famous mineral water. It has still water not sparkling carbonated. Thick lava rocks filter the water. There is a museum dedicated to the history of the town. Fill your water bottle and cycle onwards. 

The town of Mont Dore is picturesque – good for the eyes and health. It is a spa town with plenty of fresh air and sports activities. 

In the middle of the “Parc Naturel regional des Volcans d’Auvergne” is the thermal station of Châtel-Guyon. The buildings are from the Belle Epoch period including the casino, theatre, and a beautiful park to wander around in. 

The spa treats rheumatism and digestive ailments. It is also known for its sophrology treatments which are very popular in France. It is one of many programmes available to “get back into shape” both physically and spiritually. To complete the package, there are many walks and cycling possibilities. 

You can plan your health rejuvenation to coincide with one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year. From April to December, you will always find something to celebrate. In early June, Jazz lovers flock to the Festival Jazz aux Sources which is like New Orleans jazz festivals. Why not dance in the streets to the rhythm of the blues?

Time to head further east, because now we are only 167 km away from France’s second city, Lyon.  

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