Gaël Grissonnanche


Français / English

A Land of volcanoes

Originally from Clermont-Ferrand, France, I was born on January 28, 1987 to a family from the region. My hometown is located at the foot of the Puys chain of Auvergne volcanoes in the French central massif. The region contains many natural sights, including the volcanoes themselves, soon to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the surrounding area, the volcano rock filters the water from the numerous springs of the central massif, also known as the "water tower of France". There are still many thermal water resorts in the area, as well as numerous mineral and carbonated waters sold throughout France and sometimes even beyond its borders. The region is also well known for its cheeses, including Saint-Nectaire, as well as its many traditional dishes such as Truffade. Historically, the Clermont-Ferrand-based tire company Michelin contributed enormously to the city's expansion during the 20th century and still has its headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand. Clermont-Ferrand is actually the fusion of two cities of historical rivalry: Clermont (a city of clergy) and Montferrand (a very prosperous merchant city). The merger was decided by Louis XIII to the great displeasure of Montferrand, which lost a lot of wealth during this decision. The history of the city is ancient, in Gaul already, the siege of Gergovie, which saw the forces of Vercingetorix push back the Roman forces of Caesar, is located on the sides of Clermont-Ferrand, from where one can see the site of the battle. Later, Pope Urban II launched the first crusade on November 27, 1095 from the mound where the great black cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand was built. The great humanist Blaise Pascal also came from Clermont-Ferrand where he spent most of his life.