One of France’s oldest cities, Clermont-Ferrand was a historic powerhouse, and looking back to the 2nd century AD, one of the largest metropolises in Roman Gaul. The historic center is dominated by the distant Puy-de-Dôme volcano, the spire of its gothic Cathedral. The city is also famous for its connection with rugby union. Clermont-Auverne is a major French team and many European Cup matches are held here. The high-speed TGV service from Paris Gare de Lyon takes just under three and a half hours.