Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Auvergne still bears visible scars of having been shaped by volcanic activity. The chain of volcanic cones are as fascinating to us today as they were to the Romans 2,000 years ago. Covering much of the Massif Central, the region has breath taking landscapes of green mountains and wild gorges that are dotted with Roman ruins, Romanesque churches and medieval castles. As the birthplace of Vercingetorix, Clermont-Ferrand is thought to be one of France’s oldest cities. The departments in Auvergne are: Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire and Puy-de-Dôme.

Archaeology & History Sites in Auvergne

Puy de Dôme Mercury Temple

On the summit of a volcanic mountain, the Puy de Dôme, the Romans built a temple and dedicated it to their god Mercury. Besides the elevated Roman archaeology, the summit offers expansive views of the Chaîne des Puys – a 40 km chain of volcanic cinder cones, lava domes and maars. A Roman road is still used today to ascend the volcano by foot. There is no need to worry about the volcano, as its last eruption is thought to have been in about 5760 BC.

Saint-Nectaire Church

The 12th century Romanesque church of Saint Nectaire is one of five almost identical Romanesque churches in the region. Construction began by Benedictine monks in 1080 on Mount Cornadore where Saint Nectaire has been buried in the 4th century AD. The church is particularly well known for its beautifully carved, polychrome interior capitals.

Museums & Art Galleries in Auvergne

Bargoin Museum, Clermont Ferrand

The Musée Bargoin was founded following a legacy to the city of Clermont-Ferrand by Jean-Baptiste Bargoin. Originally intended to be a fine arts museum, it opened in 1903 with a considerable collection of artefacts collected from a number of archaeological sites from around the region. Permanent displays in the museum deal with prehistory of the area, from the Stone Age to the Gallo-Roman Period. The museum has a new, extensive permanent exhibition on votive offerings of the Roman period.