Once were inside we had a good look at the interior. In the 5th century, bishop Namatius laid the foundations of the city's first cathedral and inside it is very good to see its history. It’s quite rich church indeed and therefore gives away some beautiful ‘secrets’. A very funny fact is that Jean Deschamps was entrusted with a lot of work. He had already worked on the cathedral at Narbonne, which we visited a year earlier. But anyway, the highlight of the interior are the ambulatory chapels around the choir, which contain some of the finest stained glass windows in the cathedral as well as many Gothic frescoes. The crypt under the choir dates from the 10th century and is the only survivor from the earlier Romanesque cathedral. It is all very impressive to watch. You probably need all the time you can get, because with its length of 92 meters you have a lot of space to discover.
Finally we went outside again and had a good look at its twin spires that are 96.2 meters tall and how they tower above the town's rooftops. Do walk around the church and enjoy the vibe at that particular spot. We can honestly say it is a must visit!
Although we were quite late when we first arrived at the Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral we were already allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our late arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists. Either the bus / coach had already left on his way or everybody was having a drink at the terraces outside at the Place de la Victoire. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The Sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?
According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.
We knew in advance that the city of Clermont-Ferrand ranked amongst the oldest cities of France and that Christianity arrived in here in the beginning of the 4th century. The Clermont Cathedral (official name: La Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption) is a striking Gothic edifice of this fact built of black lava stone in the 13th and 14th centuries. It contains beautiful medieval stained glass windows, many Gothic wall paintings, and a 10th-century crypt.
Right after we checked in our hotel we decided to pay the city center a visit and were amazed by the beauty of the city with all remains of the amazing history of Clermont-Ferrand. Once hiking our way around in the Centre Acien (ancient old town) we couldn’t miss out on this nice square called Place de la Victoire on which the Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral was located. Outside on a plaque we read that the construction of the present cathedral started in 1246. First there were a lot of Romanesque details until a huge renovation in 1865 when the entire façade was replaced in neo-Gothic style. We were very anxious to go in and have a good look at its interior. So here we went, inside via the north portal of the cathedral. The inscription above the door reads “The French people recognize the Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.” Here we go …
The Maison of Culture is a municipal cultural centre is an exhibition centre were most of the important cultural events in Clermont take place. Here is located the International short films festival at the beginning of the year and the Biennal of Travel Diaries, but there are a lot of other activities like films, conferences, exhibitions...
If you enter the cathedral, you will find inside a wooden prototype that will give you an idea of how big anf beutiful it is. Being surrounded by buildings, it is not easy to see the whole building from outside (unless you ride a helicopter) so this is a good way to see the whole thing.
The magnificient gothic cathedral seems to be the most outstanding landmark here in Clermont. It is in the very centre of town, all siurrounded by buildings. It can be visited inside and has marvellous stained glass.
Clermont is a nice town in the beautiful region of Auvergne. The best activities are clearly outdoor with plenty of walking around the Volcanoes Park, you can also hire bikes in a few places... The new theme park around volcanoes is called "Vulcania". It tells you more about Earth activity, volcanoes and other science interest. Worth a detour. You can also find good cross-country skiing around besse en chandesse and the "lac du Guerry".
This year will be the 25th anniversary of the short film festival. I went to it last year and found it really interessing. Even if you dont speak french the movies are still interesting. They also have certain nights when movies are played in english.
Puy-Dome is the highest volcanoe in Auvergne - you can see even Mont Blanc on a clear weather - at 500 km away.
This was one of my favorite places to hang out on nice days. It is very well taken care of, but make sure you dont walk on the grass because they actually have cops patrolling it.
This is a very rare cathedrale because it is made out of lava, because the town is surrounded by old volcanoes. It is huge and beautiful.
This is the highest point in Auvergne. From the top you have a beautiful of the city. Although I never got the chance, you may also go parasailing from the top. I heard it was loads of fun.