1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers
> 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes
(e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Clermont-Ferrand (French pronunciation: [klɛʁmɔ̃
fɛʁɑ̃], Auvergnat Clharmou, Latin: Augustonemetum) is a city
and commune of France, in the
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with a
population of 141,569 (2012). Its metropolitan area had 467,178
inhabitants at the 2011 census. It is the prefecture (capital) of the
Puy-de-Dôme department. Olivier Bianchi is its current mayor.
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
Chaîne des Puys surrounding it. The
famous dormant volcano
Puy de Dôme
Puy de Dôme (10 kilometres (6 miles) 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
Clermont-Ferrand is also famous for hosting the Clermont-Ferrand
International Short Film Festival (Festival du Court-Métrage de
Clermont-Ferrand), one of the world's leading international festivals
for short films, as well as the corporate headquarters of Michelin,
the global tyre 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 sword. The inscription reads: J'ai pris les armes
pour la liberté de tous (I took up arms for the liberty of all). This
statue was sculpted by Frédéric Bartholdi, who also created the
Statue of Liberty.
1.2 Prehistoric and Roman
1.3 Early Middle Ages
1.4 Middle Ages
1.5 Early Modern and Modern eras
2.2 Main sights
2.2.1 Religious architecture
2.2.2 Parks and gardens
3 Economy and infrastructure
4.2 Famous people
4.2.1 People born in Clermont-Ferrand
4.2.2 People who have lived in Clermont-Ferrand
6 Town twinnings
7 See also
10 External links
See also: Timeline of Clermont-Ferrand
Clermont-Ferrand's first name was Augusta Nemetum. It was born on the
central knoll where the cathedral is situated today, known then as
Nemossos. It overlooked the capital of Gaulish Avernie. The fortified
castle of Clarus Mons gave its name to the whole town in 848, to which
the small episcopal town of Montferrand was attached in 1731, together
taking the name of Clermont-Ferrand. The old part of Clermont is
delimited by the route of the ramparts, as they existed at the end of
the Middle Ages. The town of
Clermont-Ferrand came about with the
joining together of two separate towns, Clermont and Montferrand,
which was decreed by
Louis XIII and confirmed by Louis XV.
Prehistoric and Roman
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
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
Clermont-Ferrand has been constructed. It was somewhere
in the area around Nemossos that the
Arverni chieftain Vercingetorix
(later to head a unified Gallic resistance to Roman invasion under
Julius Caesar) was born 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
Battle of Gergovia in 52 BC. After the Roman
conquest, the city became known as Augustonemetum sometime in the 1st
century[BC or AD?], a name which combined its original Gallic name
with that of the Emperor Augustus. Its population was estimated at
15,000–30,000 in the 2nd century, making it one of the largest
cities of Roman Gaul. It then became Arvernis in the 3rd century
(taking its name, like other Gallic cities in this era, from the
people who lived within its walls), and expanded until the mid 3rd
Early Middle Ages
The city became the seat of a bishop in the 5th 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 8 November 535 the first Council
of Clermont opened at Arvernis (Clermont), with fifteen bishops
participating, including Caesarius of Arles, Nizier of Lyons (bishop
of Trier) 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
In 570, Bishop
Avitus left the Jews of his town (who numbered over
500) the alternatives of baptism or expulsion.
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: it was ravaged by the Normans under
Hastingen 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 the current Gothic
Galeries of Jaude
Clermont was the starting point of the First Crusade, in which
Christendom sought to free
Jerusalem from Muslim domination: Pope
Urban II preached the crusade there in 1095, at the Second Council of
Clermont. In 1120, following repeated crises between the counts of
Auvergne and the bishops of Clermont and in order to counteract the
clergy’s power, the counts founded the rival city of Montferrand on
a mound next to the fortifications of Clermont, on the model of the
new cities of the Midi springing up in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Until the early modern period, the two remained separate cities:
Clermont, an episcopal city; Montferrand, a comital one.
Early Modern and Modern eras
Clermont became a royal city in 1551, 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
In the 20th century, construction of the
Michelin factories and of
city gardens, which shaped the modern Clermont-Ferrand, definitively
reunited Clermont and Montferrand. But even today, although the two
cities have been amalgamated, one may find in
distinct downtowns, and Montferrand still retains a strong identity.
The city is in the rain shadow of the Chaîne des Puys, giving it one
of the driest climates in metropolitan France, except for a few places
around the Mediterranean Sea. The mountains also block most of the
oceanic influence of the Atlantic, which creates a climate much more
continental than nearby cities west or north of the mountains, like
Limoges and Montluçon. Thus the city has comparatively cold winters
and hot summers. From November to March, frost is very frequent, and
the city, being at the bottom of a valley, is frequently subject to
temperature inversion, in which the mountains are sunny and warm, and
the plain is freezing cold and cloudy. Snow is quite common, although
usually short-lived and light. Summer temperatures often exceed
35 °C (95 °F), with sometimes violent thunderstorms.
Climate data for Clermont Ferrand (1981–2010)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Météo France
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)
Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port.
Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption.
Clermont-Ferrand has two famous churches. One is Notre-Dame du Port, a
Romanesque church which was built during the 11th and 12th centuries
(the bell tower and was rebuilt during the 19th century). It was
nominated as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. The other is
Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption de
Clermont-Ferrand), built in Gothic style between the 13th and the 19th
Parks and gardens
Lecoq Garden (Jardin Lecoq)
Parc du Montjuzet
Jardin botanique de la Charme
Arboretum de Royat
Jardin botanique d'Auvergne
Economy and infrastructure
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 was for a long time 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 had extensive factories throughout the
city, employing up to 30,000 workers. 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 and keeping it a very wealthy and
prosperous area home of many high-income executives.
Tramway in Clermont-Ferrand
The main railway station has connections to
Paris and several regional
destinations: Lyon, Moulins via Vichy, Le Puy-en-Velay, Aurillac,
Nîmes, Issoire, Montluçon and Thiers.
The motorway A71 connects
Orléans and Bourges,
the A75 with
Montpellier and the A89 with Bordeaux,
Saint-Étienne (A72). The airport offers mainly flights within France.
There is a flight between Southampton and Clermont-Ferrand, operated
by Flybe from May to October. Recently,
Clermont-Ferrand was France's
first city to get a new
Translohr transit system, the Clermont-Ferrand
Tramway, thereby linking the city's north and south neighbourhoods.
The TGV will arrive in Auvergne after 2030. It will be one of the last
regions to not have a TGV stop.
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
is located primarily in the city and is named after him.
Clermont-Ferrand also hosts the
Clermont-Ferrand International Short
Film Festival, the 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, theatre and video and digital art festivals
every year. With more than 800 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 and Cocoon 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
My Night at Maud's
My Night at Maud's (French: Ma nuit chez Maud) a 1969 French drama
Éric Rohmer was set and filmed in
Clermont-Ferrand in and
around Christmas Eve. It is the third film (fourth in order of
release) in his series of Six Moral Tales. One of the main themes of
the film concerns
Pascal's Wager whose author was born in the city in
A racing circuit, the Charade Circuit, close to the city, using
closed-off public roads held the
French Grand Prix
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
Jackie Stewart (twice), and Jochen Rindt.
Clermont-Ferrand has some experience in hosting major international
sports tournaments such as the FIBA EuroBasket 1999.
The city is also host to a rugby union club competing at international
level, ASM Clermont Auvergne, as well as
Clermont Foot Auvergne, a
football club that has competed in France's second division, Ligue 2,
since the 2007–08 season.
In the sevens version of rugby union,
Clermont-Ferrand has hosted the
France Women's Sevens, the final event in each season's World Rugby
Women's Sevens Series, since 2016.
People born in Clermont-Ferrand
Avitus (c. 385–after 17 October 456 or in 457), Western Roman
Emperor from 8 or 9 July 455 to 17 October 456,
Fadela Amara (born 25 April 1964), politician
Vincent Cé Ougna, footballer
Nicolas Chamfort (6 April 1741 – 13 April 1794), writer
Étienne Clémentel (29 March 1864 – 25 December 1936), politician
Jacques Delille (22 June 1738 – 1 May 1813), poet
Patrick Depailler (9 August 1944 – 1 August 1980), Formula One
Christian Sarron (born 1955), Grand Prix motorcycle road racer.
Lolo Ferrari (9 February 1963 – 5 March 2000), French dancer
Annelise Hesme (born 11 May 1976), actress
Thierry Laget (born 1959), writer, winner of the 1992 prix Fénéon
Edmond Lemaigre (1849–1890), composer and organist
Antoine de L'Hoyer (1768–1852), composer, guitarist, soldier
Bernard Loiseau (13 January 1951 – 24 February 2003), celebrity chef
Jordan Loties, footballer
Michelin (1853–1931) and Édouard
creators of the group
Michelin (tire) whose global headquarters is
still located in Clermont-Ferrand
Darline Nsoki, basketball player
Victor Pachon (1867–1938), physiologist
Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662), mathematician,
physicist, and religious philosopher
Jacqueline Pascal (4 October 1625 – 4 October 1661), sister of
George Onslow (27 July 1784 – 3 October 1853), composer
Henri Pognon (1853–1921), epigrapher, archaeologist and diplomat
Henri Quittard (1864–1919), composer, musicologist
Aurélien Rougerie (born 24 September 1980), rugby union player,
member of the French national team
François-Bernard Mâche (born 4 April 1935), composer
Audrey Tautou (born 9 August 1976), actress
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1 May 1881 – 10 April 1955), Jesuit
priest, paleontologist, philosopher
Dominique Perrault (born 1953), architect
Laure Boulleau (born 22 October 1986), football player, member of
French national team
Gabriella Papadakis (born 10 May 1995), ice dance World and European
Chakir Ansari (born 1991), Olympic wrestler
People who have lived in Clermont-Ferrand
Sidonius Apollinaris (c. 430–after 489), Gallo-Roman poet, diplomat
Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941), philosopher
Paul Bourget (2 September 1852 – 25 December 1935), novelist and
Anton Docher (1852–1928) "The Padre of Isleta", Roman Catholic
priest, missionary and defender of the Indians lived in the pueblo of
Isleta in the state of New Mexico for 34 years
Ivor Bueb (6 June 1923 – 1 August 1959) was a British professional
sports car racing and
Formula One driver from England.
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (born 2 February 1927), has lived in the
city of Chamalières, part of Clermont-Ferrand's metropolitan area,
France from 1974 to 1981
Claude Lanzmann (born 1925), film maker, attended the Lycée
Education is also an important factor in the economy of
University of Clermont Auvergne (formed from a
merger of Université
Blaise Pascal and Université d'Auvergne) is
located there and has a total student population of over 37,000,
along with university faculty and staff.
With around 1,000 students
SIGMA Clermont is the biggest engineering
graduate school in the city.
A division of Polytech (an engineering school) 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 in what was to be known as the
New Cross double murder.
Clermont-Ferrand is twinned with:
United Kingdom (since 1983)
Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Germany (since 1969)
Communes of the
List of works by Auguste Carli
Place de Jaude
List of twin towns and sister cities in France
INSEE commune file
Sweets, John F. (1986). Choices in
Vichy France : The French
under Nazi Occupation. New York.
^ "Decree 2014-210/Décret 2014-210 du 21 février 2014 portant
délimitation des cantons dans le département du Puy-de-Dôme".
Légifrance (in French). 21 February 2014.
^ a b "2012 Census Population for Clermont-Ferrand". INSEE (in
^ Karl-Heinz Reichel, Grand dictionnaire général
auvergnat-français, Nonette Créer editions 2005
^ Pierre Bonnaud, Nouveau dictionnaire général français-auvergnat,
Éditions Créer, 1999 (ISBN 2-909797-32-5)
^ "History – Ville de Clermont-Ferrand" (in French).
Clermont-ferrand.fr. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
^ Encyclopaedia Judaica. Cengage Learning. France, column 9, In 576
Clermont-Ferrand offered the Jews of his town (who
numbered over 500) to alternative of baptism or expulsion. as
quoted by Palomino, Michael. "Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in France
01: Roman times and Carolingians". History in Chronology.
France – Clermont Ferrand" (in French). Météo France.
Retrieved 30 December 2015.
^ "Climat Auvergne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 30 December
^ "Normes et records 1961-1990:
Aulnat (63) -
altitude 331m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved 30 December
^ James Monaco. The New Wave. New York: Oxford University Press. 1976.
^ Fresco, Adam; Yeoman, Fran; Leroux, Marcus (4 July 2008). "Police
baffled by horrific end of Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez". The
Times. UK. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "National Commission for Decentralised
cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des
Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères)
(in French). Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved
Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2 Mar 2008.
^ a b "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community
Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved
^ "Sister Cities". City of Norman. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
^ Salford City Council. "Salford's twin towns". Salford.gov.uk.
Retrieved 4 May 2008.
See also: Bibliography of the history of Clermont-Ferrand
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Clermont-Ferrand.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Clermont-Ferrand.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
(in French) Town hall website
(in French) Tourist office
(in French) Unofficial
Joan of Arc's Letter to
Clermont-Ferrand – Translation by Allen
Williamson of an entry concerning Joan of Arc's letter to this city on
7 November 1429.
Prefectures of departments of France
La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)
Le Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire)
Le Mans (Sarthe)
La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée)
Belfort (Territoire de Belfort)
Cayenne (French Guiana)
Communes of the
ISNI: 0000 0001 0675 6069