The regional capital of Clermont-Ferrand is a university town that majors in history and charm: a twin-spired cathedral; a Roman basilica made from volcanic rock; stately public squares and fountains; and Jardin Le Coq, a park with a merry-go-round and a café. It’s also an industrial center (notably, the hometown of Michelin) and has a food scene that includes four Michelin-starred chefs and food markets such as the Marché Saint Pierre. After fueling up here, you might venture off to visit some of Auvergne’s 47 castles, decked out with turrets, donjons, and intricate fortifications. One literal standout is the Château de Tournoël, a fortified Gothic castle perched 2,000 feet up on a hilltop.
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