La Montagne – the daily newspaper chain that serves most of the villages and cities in the deep heart of France – recently put together a list of “things you don’t know about the Place de Jaude” in Clermont-Ferrand. Some of the historical tidbits cited by Simon Anthony in his article were already familiar to me: the fact that the statue of Napoleon’s General Desaix is not much appreciated by locals, and the fact that the city’s Opera was deliberately built in white-colored stone mostly to combat Clermont’s reputation as “la ville noire” because of all the black lava stone used in so many public buildings. I had heard before, too, how a great ‘urban renewal’ project had been undertaken […]
The plateau at Gergovia isn’t necessarily the first thing you’d notice when you come to this area. The great volcanoes of the Massif Central rise in the background and they’re more rugged, more beautiful than this lump of basalt. Clermont-Ferrand lies at the plateau’s base, its brooding black lava cathedral dominating the city’s skyline.