In the Antiquity, Auvergne was the land of the Arverni, a Gallic tribe who once occupied the area, well known for its fierce resistance, led by Vercingetorix, to conquest by the Roman Empire. Archeological studies have revealed a surprizing concentration of three major oppida (gallic strongholds) just around Clermont-Ferrand , Gergovie, Gondole and Corent
. After the conquest by the Romans, Clermont-Ferrand (Augustomementum
) became an important city, and a temple to Mercury
was built on top of the Puy de Dôme.
Auvergne is also famous for its old medieval and Renaissance towns like Clermont-Ferrand
, le Puy en Velay
and St Flour
, for its castles
and small villages
It is world-famous for people enjoying Romanesque architecture and art
(churches and castles from the Medieval times).
It also offers luxurious 19th century atmospheres (especially Art Deco) in the numerous Spa towns, like Vichy
, le Mont-Dore
, the spa town jouxting Clermont-Ferrand, and that you may reach directly from the conference center taking the bus line B (see transportation map).
The city of Clermont-Ferrand is actually the junction of four majour districts (quartiers):
-la butte de Clermont (the mount of the clergymen) , was once the city of the Bishops and diplays the gothic cathedral
, a romanesque jewel, Notre Dame du Port
, and old medieval streets with "hotels particuliers
" (most of these buildings are built out of bastaltic lava stone called Pierre de Volvic)
- la butte de Montferrand (the mount of the Iron) was the city of the Earl, the Count of Auvergne, with its castle (now disctroyed). It developed into an active marchant city in the 15th and 16Itn centtury with beautiful buildings
. The conference center for Plant BioMech 2012 is actually jouxting Montferrand.
-le quartier Jaude -Jardin Lecoq developped mostly in the 19th century, with its typical "jardin public
" , and is now the down-town center
of the active 21rst century town.
- Chamalières, on the slopes up to the Puy de Dôme , is a typical 19th spa town area
, with famous Thermal baths
, parcs, arboretum
, art deco hotels as well as modern spa.
They developped from a small medieval village
and antique Roman thermals baths
. The atmosphere is more pristine due to mountain streams
and to the altitude.
for a virtual visit of some places in Clermont-Ferrand
Clermont-Ferrand was the home of mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal
. Pascal tested 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 unit of pressure and mechanical stresses Pa , and the Université Blaise-Pascal
of Clermont-Ferrand are named after him.