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Clermont-Ferrand ranks among the oldest cities of France. Renowned for its thermal springs, it acquired great importance under the Roman emperors and became an Episcopal city ruled by its bishop in the Middle-Age. The counts of Auvergne decided to found the city of Montferrand just next to Clermont to counteract the power of the clergy. The two cities were eventually forced to join in 1630 by a royal edict. Nowadays, the old city centres are still separated. The city has kept this unique historical identity embarking into a huge transformation program that is aimed to shape its new image as a European metropolis.
The city's major sights and historical beauties are connected by several walking paths that run through the two ancient town centres. The whole area is home to architectural treasures, museums, castles and some of France’s richest Roman heritage. The region where the city lies is a wonderful site for outdoor activities and adventures, providing travelers with some incomparable walking-trails that twist and turn around the imposing Puy De Dôme volcano.
The region’s abundant resources supply the finest ingredients, enriching the local cuisine with tons of flavours. The vast pastureland provides beef and lamb for consumption, as well as some of the best cheeses of the region. A regional ham, Jambon d’Auvergne, and various pork sausages are also available fresh from local farms, whereas rivers and lakes contribute to a diverse variety of seafood. Fine-dining restaurants or laid-back bistro line up neatly down Clermont-Ferrand's downtown area, making its centre a vibrant and lively hub to mix and mingle while sampling sophisticated Auvergnat flavours, a regional cuisine that caters to all tastes.
France's coffee culture has developed around a deep love towards a strong, full-flavoured coffee brewed "the Italian way". Clermont-Ferrand, as a cultural hub, is dotted by quaint cafeterias, intimate spots to relax by enjoying a "cafe au lait" or a "croissant". Strolling down the center, you certainly won't find yourself short of options to satisfy your sweet tooth - French patisserie is renowned worldwide for its vast assortment of pies, crepes and colourful pastries and Clermond-Ferrand lives up to its reputation.
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