Clermont-Ferrand — the traditional capital of Auvergne — has no lack of hotels, but those looking for a wholesome experience in a unique location should consider a stay at the elegant Clos Beaumont. Once the home of a family of vignerons (vinters), Clos Beaumont is a stately nineteenth-century mansion that lies tucked away in the former wine-making village of Beaumont.
Recently renovated by Clermont-based firm, AML architecture , the historic maison de maître — just ten-minutes from Clermont proper — has a number of amenities, including air-conditioned guest rooms and suites, an extensive wine cellar, an outdoor jacuzzi, and a walled, Provence-inspired garden filled with palm trees and grapevines.
The hotel’s geographic position makes it an ideal gateway, both to Clermont-Ferrand and to less-frequented but no less beautiful villages like Ceyrat, Romagnat, and Royat. With this in mind, if you’re planning to spend only a few days in Auvergne and want to take in as much as possible without overexerting yourself, Clos Beaumont is the place to stay.
One of the most efficient ways to reach the centre of Clermont from the hotel is via the northbound number 12 bus. Walk to the Beaumont Pl. d’Armes bus station (just three minutes away), pay the €1.06 fare, and in fifteen minutes –the Universités stop – you’re at the entrance to the Jardin Lecoq, Clermont’s five-acre public botanical garden. After strolling through the park, you can meander around the city’s medieval streets and visit landmarks like the world-famous Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral (La cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption de Clermont), the Musée Bargoin, and the Place de Jaude.
After a day of sightseeing in Clermont, you could then spend the following day exploring Beaumont’s alentours. If you’re the adventurous type, take an hour-long hike to the lofty and wayward ruins of Montrognon (if you’d rather drive, the journey takes about nine minutes).
Another overlooked attraction — located just sixteen minutes from Clos Beaumont — is the bois de La Châtaigneraie, a hundreds-years old woodland full of wild chestnut, elderberry, and cherry trees. In the heart of the woods is a clearing on which rise hills of reddish pozzolan — tiny volcanic rocks. There’s a dramatic contrast between rest of the Châtaigneraie and this rugged section, the terrain of which can only be described as Martian. The view from the summit of the pozzolan miniature mountains is not to be missed; on clear days you can see Clermont’s shimmering skyline, as well as its distinct, Volvic stone cathedral.
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