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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I live in Australia and I am thinking about moving to Clermont with my husband and three children (ages 4, 5 and 7).

I am after any information about Clermont. What it is like to live there with a young family. What the city is like (cafes, restaurants,bars).

Are there different suburbs to live in that are nicer or better for families?

I have heard that it can smell of rubber sometimes because of the tyre factory...is this true?

If you can give me any information about the city I would appreciate it.

Thanks
caz
 

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Clermont is just about dead center in the middle of France. It's not a huge town, though it can seem to be dominated by the Michelin tire company at times. We used to do business with Michelin, so my husband spent some significant time down that way a few years ago.

A couple of caveats - Clermont is not known for having great numbers of anglophone expats, so you're likely to be more or less on your own as far as getting to know people. You may want to look into a newcomers group like AVF: http://reseau.avf.asso.fr/space/avfclermont-ferrand Not sure how available international or English language schooling will be in the area. Michelin used to attract plenty of foreigners, but they have cut back their workforce significantly in recent years.

But on the bright side, you're not far at all from some marvelous skiing (in the Massif Central) and plenty of outdoor sports.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We're in the Auvergne in Ambert, about 80Km from Clermont. There are hundreds of expats around here, and Clermont is a surprisingly cosmopolitan city.

My daughter, by choice, finished her last three years at Lycee in Clermont, and continues to live there, rather than here in the rural backwater of Ambert (with her mother!); she is doing everything she can to be able to stay there - if that's any recommendation for you. Restaurants & bars etc are wide-ranging & relatively affordable.

Although your kids are a bit younger than mine, I can assure you that every Ecole, College and Lycee in the Puy-de-Dome has an aggressive language-learning drive (English & German) for all kids from CP through to end of scolarity, and most of the schools (I've taught in some) are eminently geared up to integrate their young foreign attendees and their families. That said, the accueil is generally better in the (low) fee-paying Catholic schools for the wee ones than in the state schools - they seem to have a better attitude towards holistic family involvement.

Further down the line, the College/Lycee Jeanne d'Arc is one of only two in France which offers the International Section (rather than the Section Europeenne) within the state system - all the others are private affiliated schools, and you have to pay extra for that privilege. The Section is run by an Italian/Canadian/French woman who has every interest in making the section successful, and has recruited English-speaking nationals onto her teaching team.

With Michelin in town, there are always kids from other countries in class - maybe for a year, maybe for longer - & my daughter has benefitted from interaction with many.

As for places to live; within Clermont itself, Chamalieres seems to be most sought after and has the best range of high(er)-quality housing for both rent and purchase. Avoid Gerzat!Outside Clermont, anywhere in the villages is good (& the Auvergne still has one of the most reasonable housing stock v cost ratios). A bonus in Clermont itself is that tap water is FREE! South-west of Clermont is the prettiest - into the Massif Central proper - good for skiing, but pretty much all around, once you get off the Limagne plain, has something to recommend it. Smell of rubber ? I don't think so - not that I've noticed anyway.

If your hus is working in Clermont, you really need to work out how much of a commute he wants. Bear in mind that 80Km here can take an hour and a half over mountain roads, especially in winter although they are exceptionally good about clearing the roads, rather than an hour you might expect in other places - for that reason, many of the kids in the Auvergne are boarders at their respective schools (subsidised & transported by the state).

Also be aware that the Auvergne really is "la France profonde" and the pace of life can be both frustrating and calming at the same time. Outside Clermont, you will encounter "peasants" - & they are peasants, but very welcoming ones - but they are among the richest people in France. Do not judge on appearance - the guy who drives the beat-up old Citroen van and does his shopping in trousers held up by a piece of string probably owns a goodly proportion of the Departement and has several herds of pedigree cows!

The Auvergne and Clermont present a huge dichotomy; but embrace them with an open mind and you will want to stay.

Feel free to "message" me if you want more info or contacts.

Hilary
 

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& I forgot to mention that Clermont is not the most accessible place in France - which is part of its charm ;)

You need to reckon on either very very expensive AirFrance fares to fly out of Clermont to get anywhere else, or a 2-4 hour train or car journey to get to other airports at Limoges, Lyon or Paris, where more reasonably-priced fares are available.

H
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Hillary,
Fantastic information.
Bayonne is also a possibility so also looking into that now.
Will send you a message if I have any further questions.
Thank you







& I forgot to mention that Clermont is not the most accessible place in France - which is part of its charm ;)

You need to reckon on either very very expensive AirFrance fares to fly out of Clermont to get anywhere else, or a 2-4 hour train or car journey to get to other airports at Limoges, Lyon or Paris, where more reasonably-priced fares are available.

H
 
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