Clermont Ferrand History Channel

Pull up a pew on this small terrace right in the heart of the Plateau Central neighbourhood. A few trees provide shade to those customers making the most of the sun. Some are clearly regulars, greeting the owner familiarly. While others are just passing through, buying a pack of cigarettes or grabbing a quick half pint at the bar. Welcome to the Massillon, a place to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. As you enter, you’ll notice a huge photo of JP, the ex-guitarist from the legendary local band Real Cool Killers, who were led by the emblematic Pascal “Buck” Roussel between 1986 and 1996. Expect a mix of young and old, plus journalists, musicians, party-goers and early-risers. Listen intently as the president of the city’s legendary short film festival recounts Clermont-Ferrand’s history.

Think you’ll only spend a few moments at the La Massillon? Think again. You’ll end up spending hours here, knocking back the drinks. We come back time and time again for the sailor-tattooed owner’s warm welcome. And because this is one of the neighbourhood’s last standing bar-tobacconist’s. The conversation covers everything and nothing at all, but often with an organic red wine in hand, served by the glass, and drunk next to nameless customers or familiar faces. In reality, you come to the Massillon to let off steam. Because down this tiny little street, this bar is far away from the trends, from time and from other people. The Massillon is a philosophy: apply it to your everyday life or simply your morning coffee.

Nico Prat