Clermont-Ferrand is a city in central France with about 140,700 (2006) inhabitants.
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WARNING: The A75 is closed until mid october 2015 at the level of Lodève (southern bit).
You can take the bus 20 (timetable) in direction to "Gerzat Champfleuri" and stop at the terminus. Now follow "route de Vichy", cross the bridge, in order to get to the toll area. There is a parking just after the toll. Another way would be the bus 33, heading towards "Saint-Beauzire". Get off at "Biopole", you'll only have 500 meters to walk to get to the aforementioned parking lot. Map and timetable (Flash needed)
Option two just towards south which is closer to the city also. Follow Avenue Ernest Cristal to the end. Hitchhike bit before the entrance of the highway: a spot. Perhaps with a sign to Issoire and then get yourself dropped to a gas station after 9 kilometers.
The best way is probably to try to go to the A89 that goes directly to Bordeaux and is a quite good road that is more frequented than the N89. If you wanna go through the Nationalpark the N89 can be a good way. A very good spot to start is near Aubière after the roundabout (see map - last time successfully tried out in March 2017). The cars have a space to stop there and don't go very fast. The problem there is, that most of the cars that go west take the A89 and the ones that take the N89 are more likely to stay somewhere in the national park. They can drop you off at the entrance to the A89 though but in March 2017 there were really really few cars passing at this entrance and as it is in the mountains it can be very cold, too.
Hitching East towards Lyon
Hitching out of Clermont-Ferrand had been rather difficult as at least one good gas station had been closed (September 2010) due to construction works. Anyway, there are two possibilities, use signs both times.
1) Try the gas station towards the highway on Rue Anatole France (close to Rue de Cournon). You can also try asking the people (which usually works), but take care with the gas station guys. Anyway: write Thiers on the sign, this is the next bigger city on the A72.
2) Walk to the Michelin factory in Montferrand and try standing at Boulevard Edgar Quinet; cars can easily pull out there and we had one stopping after only 5 minutes waiting. Make sure you stand in sight and there are no parked buses in the way. A sign with LYON should work fine, but still consider using 'Thiers' in case.
The next gas station on the A72 is Limagne, it's before the city of Thiers. From there on you get easily further to St. Eienne and Lyon.
Clermont-Ferrand has a tram. There are many controllers and the ticket costs EUR 1.40. Transport website: t2c.fr
Places to Visit
Clermont-Ferrand is surrounded by little mountains. It's easy to have a walk to the top to enjoy nice few over the city and surroundings.
Places to Avoid
Being generally streetwise is advisable. While it's a typical central French city, with the typical 'vie Française', there have been some disturbing attacks by fascists in recent years. Take care.