Rail lines converge on Clermont-Ferrand from all parts of France, including Marseille, Toulouse, and Paris's Gare de Lyon. The one-way fare from Paris is 50€; the trip takes 3 1/2 hours. Trains from small towns in the Auvergne usually require a connection. For train information and schedules, call tel. 36-35 or 08-92-35-35-35. Clermont-Ferrand is best approached by car from two cities. The 4-hour drive from Paris begins along A10 south to Orléans, continuing south along A71 to Clermont-Ferrand. From Lyon, take A47 west to St-Etienne, traveling northwest on A89 to Clermont-Ferrand.
Aéroport de Clermont-Aulnat (tel. 04-73-62-71-00), about 4km (2 1/2 miles) northwest of the town center, receives about 80 flights a day from all over France as well as Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. Air France (tel. 08-20-82-08-20) flies here from Paris round-trip. Buses meet every flight and take passengers to town, the bus station, or the rail station. The one-way fare is 4€. For bus information, call tel. 04-73-84-72-57.
Train travel into Clermont-Ferrand is, overall, more convenient and efficient than bus service. Buses serve the Gare Routière, boulevard François-Mitterrand (tel. 04-73-93-13-61 for information), on the southern periphery of town.
The Office de Tourisme et des Congrès is on place de la Victoire (tel. 04-73-98-65-00; fax 04-73-90-04-11; www.clermont-fd.com). It's unique in France because it also houses a free museum in its basement called the Espace Art Roman. An interactive presentation combines a slide show with photographs and archaeological remnants depicting the Auvergne as a rich repository of Romanesque architecture and artifacts. The short film takes 45 minutes, and it's worth spending another hour digesting all the additional information. From May to September, the tourist office and the museum are open Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 7pm; October to April, hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 1pm and 2 to 6pm, and Sunday 9:30am to 12:30pm and 2 to 6pm.
If you're in town at the end of January, check out one of the 40 screenings during the Festival du Court Métrage. Ten sites, mostly on boulevard François-Mitterrand, show works by up-and-coming directors. Tickets are 3€, with discounts for packages of 30 showings (56€), and can be purchased through Sauve Qui Peut le Court Métrage, La Jetée, 6 place Michel de l'Hôpital (tel. 04-73-91-65-73; www.clermont-filmfest.com).