Feel our top 5 sensory experiences in Clermont-Ferrand…

See fascinating museum collections. Don’t miss the fine art collection at the MARQ, exhibited in a former convent refurbished in the 20th century; the 19th-century grand gallery with works by Gustave Doré, Chassériau, Bartholdi and Camille Claudel; the Henri-Lecoq museum where you can see two rare arithmetic machines invented by Blaise Pascal; and the rich archeological collection of the Musée Bargoin.

Hear rock music… Clermont-Ferrand is the home of rock in France. If you’re a fan of this genre, come and experience the Europavox festival in late May, showcasing the best of its type on the European music scene.

Smell local produce at the St-Pierre covered market from Monday to Saturday. Browse and buy charcuterie, cheeses, jams and wine from the stallholders.

Taste *truffade***,* a rich blend of sliced potatoes cooked in goose fat and covered with melted tomme cheese, typical of the Auvergne region. Aligot* is a similar local speciality – both are rich, rib-sticking and supremely delicious.

Touch the volcanic earth on the Puy de Dôme, Auvergne’s highest volcano with a summit of 1,465m and certified as a ‘Grand Site de France’. Once at the top – a train has been operating here since 2012 – soak up the breathtaking panoramic views across 80 surrounding dormant volcanoes.

Surrounded by the dramatic volcanoes of Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand (External link) ’s USP is its volcanic stone constructions – the twin-turreted cathedral, dozens of fountains and treasury of 18th-century mansions. Beyond its cobblestoned centre the city is an industrial powerhouse, (home to the Michelin empire) but its blend of vibrant bars, growing catalogue of restaurants serving modernised Auvergnat cuisine, and rock music and rugby scene make it a dynamic city break destination. It’s also a great base for day trips into the wilds of the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne, a paradise for nature lovers.

Getting to Clermont-Ferrand

By air: Clermont/Auvergne Airport has numerous daily connections with Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports; there are direct flights from Amsterdam and Lyon, and summer connections with London Stansted

By train: 3h25m from Paris; 2h20m from Lyon

Further information:Clermont-Ferrand Tourist OfficePlace de la Victoire63000 Clermont-FerrandTel. +33 (0)4 73 98 65 00 (External link) **