Aurillac is at 600m (2,000ft) above sea level and located at the foot of the Cantal mountains in a small Sedimentary basin. The city is built on the banks of the Jordanne, a tributary of the Cère. It is 558km (347mi) south of Paris and 223km (139mi) north of Toulouse. Aurillac was part of a former Auvergne province called Haute-Auvergne and is only 20km (12mi) away from the heart of the Auvergne Volcano Park. Access to the commune is by numerous roads including the D922 from Naucelles in the north, the D17 from Saint-Simon in the north-east, Route nationale N122 from Polminhac in the east which continues to Sansac-de-Marmiesse in the south-west, the D920 to Arpajon-sur-Cère in the south-east, and the D18 to Ytrac in the west. The Figeac-Arvant railway passes through the commune with a station in the centre of town but there is no TGV service. About 50% of the commune is urbanised with farmland to the east and west of the urban area.
Aurillac – Tronquières Airport is located in the south of the commune with its runway extending beyond the commune boundary. It is connected to Paris by two daily flights by the Air France subsidiary HOP!. The commune was awarded three flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.
The Jordanne river flows through the heart of the commune from north to south where it joins the Cère just south of the commune.
Localities and districts
Boudieu on the N122, which is called the Route de Sansac-de-Marmiesse or de Toulouse, is a farm with a farm house from the 1900s and three farm buildings.
Boudieu-Bas on the N122 is a set of houses built in the 1960s with some buildings used commercially or for crafts.
Gueret on the N122 is a farm with two houses and two agricultural buildings. This hamlet is traversed by an old country road from a place formerly called Julien from which name for the SNCF Julien Bridge comes. The former Julien is towards the Chateau of Tronquières in the urban area on Avenue Charles de Gaulle opposite the Medico-Surgical Centre (CMC). This farm with its house and barn were absorbed by the city on the creation of a district in the 1970s until the mid 1980s. The agricultural buildings were demolished to make room for a shop.
La Sablère on the RN122 is a set of dwellings mostly from the 1980s. Originally there was a farm. This place spreads over two communes: Aurillac and Arpajon-sur-Cere with the majority of the buildings in Arpajon-sur-Cere.
Le Barra near the avenue Aristide Briand, also called the Ancienne route de Vic or the old N120. This is a farm and houses.
Les Quatre Chemins at the intersection of the D120 and the D922 on the borders of Aurillac, Naucelles, and Ytrac. It is a complex of commercial buildings and residences on the crossroads of the two former National highways.
Tronquières on an avenue. Originally it was a farm with a chateau but the chateau and outbuildings were demolished in 2011. Today it is a grouping of housing units specializing in housing assistance for the integration of disabled people (ADAPEI) and the airport. It is the reception area for travellers to the city and a former landfill and rubbish centre. Before the construction of the airport the meadows were areas for summer grazing for nearby farms such as the Boudieu farm.
Under the Köppen system, Aurillac features a rare subtropical highland climate (Cfb) that borders on a humid continental climate (Dfb). Influenced by its altitude, the city avoids Southern France hot summers. Rainfall, however, is abundant with 1,174 millimetres (46.2in) and 130 days per year with precipitation. Snow is common and sometimes abundant with 31 snow days per year and during some snowfalls the quantity of snow can be high. Frost is very common with 80 days of frost per year with the period of freezing frequently extending from October to May. Despite its altitude, Aurillac still has 8 days of high temperatures. Days with heavy frosts are frequent (21 days). The city also has 2118 sunshine hours per year. The record low temperature was −24.5°C (−12°F) on 9 January 1985 and the record high was 38.0°C (100°F) on 30 July 1983.
The origin of the name Aurillac is from Aureliacum meaning "Villa of Aurelius" and dates back to the Gallo-Roman era. It is attested in the polygonal Fanum d'Aron which was built in the 1st century and discovered in 1977 at Lescudillier.
It is thought that in the Gallic era the original site of the city was on the heights overlooking the current city at Saint-Jean-de-Dône ("Dône" from dunum) and, like most oppida, it was abandoned after the Roman conquest in favour of a new city established on the plain. With the return of instability in the Lower Roman Empire there was a movement towards Encastellation and a new fortified site was established in mid-slope between the former oppidum and the old Gallo-Roman city where the Chateau of Saint-Étienne is today.
The history of the city is really only known from 856, the year of the birth of Count Gerald of Aurillac at the castle where his father, also named Gerald, was lord. In 885 he founded a Benedictine monastery which later bore his name. It was in this monastery that Gerbert, the first French pope under the name of Sylvester II, studied.
The city was made in a Sauveté[Note 1] area which was located between four crosses and was founded in 898 by Gerald shortly after the abbey. The first urban area was circular and built close to the Abbey of Aurillac. Gerald died around 910 but his influence was such that over the centuries Gerald was always a baptismal name prevalent in the population of Aurillac and the surrounding area.
It was in the 13th century that municipal conflict began between consuls and abbots. After taking the Chateau of Saint-Étienne in 1255 and two negotiated agreements called the Peace of Aurillac, relations were normalised.
In the 13th and 14th centuries Aurillac withstood several sieges by the English and in the 16th century continued to suffer from civil and religious wars.
The influence of the abbey declined with its secularization and its implementation of orders.
In 1569 the city was delivered by treason to the Protestants: people were tortured and held to ransom and the Abbey was sacked. The library and archives were all burned.
Before the French Revolution Aurillac had a Présidial and carried the title of capital of the Haute-Auvergne. In 1790 on the creation of departments, after a period of alternating with Saint-Flour, Aurillac definitively became the capital of Cantal.
The arrival of the railway in 1866 accelerated the development of the city.
At the first census in 1759 there were 6,268 people in Aurillac, it now has about 28,000.
The traditional arms of Aurillac. The three silver shells were originally on one line because Aurillac was a stage on the Way of St. James coming from Clermont-Ferrand (currently the Via Arvernha). The three fleurs-de-lis gold indicated a Good Town at a time when Aurillac provided a body of two hundred picked men to King Charles VII to fight the British.
Blazon: Gules, three escallops of Argent 2 and 1, in chief Azure, three fleurs-de-lis of Or.
The traditional arms of the Abbey and County of Aurillac. These arms were originally on the banner of the abbey representing a patch of grass, evoking a miraculous fact related by Odo of Cluny in his Life of Saint Gerald of Aurillac.
Blazon: Party per pale, Or and Vert, the border engrailed of one on the other.
In 2010 the commune had 27,924 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 2]
Aurillac is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cantal which manages commercial villages (including that of Tronquières in Aurillac). Aurillac Airport is managed by the CABA (Urban Community of the Aurillac Basin Agglomeration).
Aurillac has hundreds of boutiques, shops, and artisans.
Processing of agricultural products, particularly milk and meat. Manufacturing and packaging of Cantal cheese.
Historic French capital of umbrellas with half of French production - 250,000 units in 1999 - and provides 100 jobs. After declining for several decades at the end of the 20th century, Aurillac umbrella producers decided to join their forces and created the Economic Interest Group, or GIE in 1997. They then launched their products under a single label, L'aurillac Parapluie (The Aurillac Umbrella).
Aurillac is also the seat of what was the European leader in healthcare duvets and pillows: Abeil and the plasturgist Auriplast specializes in injection and electroplating.
Also found in Aurillac are different players in various food fields (e.g. the Couderc distillery with its famous gentian liqueur and famous establishments such as the Leroux and Bonal cheese factories, the Morin refinery, MAS charcuteries, Teil cured by the Altitude group, refrigerated transport operator Olano Ladoux etc.).
Aurillac is best known for its Cheese centre based on the heights of Aurillac close to the Chateau Saint-Étienne. It was established in 1993, the structure consists of an association bringing together many organisations to develop scientific programs. It develops scientific programs relating to the cheese sector.
Folk dancing: dancers and singers from the Auvergne School
Conservatory: National School of Music and Dance of Aurillac
Katy Bardy Dance School
Modern jazz and classical Chorège Dance School;
La Manufacture: a higher centre of dance, movement, and images created by Vendetta Mathea.
Society of Upper Auvergne: a Society of letters, sciences and arts "La Haute-Auvergne"
Theatre 4: rue de la Coste next to the Consul's House
Le Prisme: conference rooms and entertainment
Cultural events and festivities
The International festival of street theatre of Aurillac has been held every year since 1986 at the end of August for a period of four days. Since 2004 this festival has been preceded by "Les préalables" (Preliminaries) of variable duration (often starting in early August) with street performances throughout Cantal (and sometimes even in Corrèze) with the support of the association éclat. 2008 who inaugurated the first "University of Street Art".
The European gourmet taste for three days in June is a gastronomic and cultural festival during which various prizes are awarded (Les Goudots gourmands)) and where there are cooking classes with different themes each year (e.g. 2008: Slow Food) provided by prominent chefs.
In 2007 there was the first edition of '36 Hours of Aurillac with Solos and small dance pieces.
The Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne: the Rugby Team had its 100th anniversary in 2004 and has played in Rugby Pro D2 since 2001, except for 2006-2007 where the "purgatory" in Fédérale 1 ended with the title of champion of France. Since the Second World War the club has always played either in the elite until 1986 (except 1949 and 1955) then later in group A, B, or Pro D2. Aurillac is rugby country as it is one of the few cities where there are more spectators at rugby matches than football matches. Matches take place at the Stade Jean Alric.
The Athlétic Club Vélocipédique Aurillacois (Cycling Athletic Club): a cycling team founded in 1977 by Pierre Labro and led, since 1983, by André Valadou. In 2011 and 2012 it was the largest cycling club in Auvergne by number of members. In 2013 three riders from the club ranked at the highest level with Christophe Laborie among the professionals and François Bidard and Pierre Bonnet first in the amateur division. With a focus on training, the club sees at least one of its representatives each year wear Auvergne colours during a championship of France.
The Aurillac FCA: a soccer team playing in CFA2 although the Aurillac reserve team plays in DH Auvergne and is Team C in the Regional Honour Division. Its training centre allows it to have 3 youth teams playing in the national championships (14 years, 16 years, and 18 years - the highest level for these categories).
Aurillac Handball Cantal Auvergne: a professional Handball team who played in the first division for the 2008–2009 season for the first time in its history
Basket club Aurillac Arpajon Géraldienne (BAAG): This is the Aurillac Basketball Club. Girls Team 1 plays at the highest regional level. This is the biggest club in the city in terms of members and results. There is also the Cantalienne Club.
The Jean-Alric Stadium: the Municipal Stadium for the city of Aurillac and its rugby club - the Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne. It owes its name to Jean Alric, a former player of the club, shot in Aurillac by the Germans during the Second World War.
Volleyball Club (AVB): Aurillac has a volleyball club. The senior male and female teams play in Regional 1. The club has UFOLEP teams and youth teams. The club organises three tournaments open to everyone:
A tournament starting in September;
A night of volleyball in December (the largest in Auvergne);
A Summer tournament in June.
In 2011 Aurillac hosted the start of the Tour de France in the 10th stage.
the 2/16 Squadron of riot police which became the 33/5 in 1991 after the creation of legions of riot police then finally the 18/5 in 2011 after the dissolution of the GM group of Clermont-Ferrand.
Aurillac has long been a garrison town with the 139th Infantry Regiment, who are noted for their feats during the Battle of the Somme. They have a remarkable chronology and a cabinet of trophies were displayed in the Hall of Honour of the Departmental Military Delegation who have since moved, forgetting to preserve and safeguard this part of history.
The military square is wide and airy and a feature of military architecture of the time. It is now known as the Zone of Peace and is now converted into a parking lot leaving a clear view of the 3 buildings that surround it. The entrance to the barracks was destroyed and replaced by a modern building. It houses administrative services, treasury, CABA, Mortgages, Cadastre etc. In the 1950s the old military buildings became the "Cité Administrative".
The clock building is called so because of the great clock that adorns this building. It is also commonly called the House of unions and associations. Originally these buildings were the former Convent of the Visitation, built in 1682. The Convent was converted into a barracks for infantry in 1792 and occupied half of the buildings until 1922, hence the transformation of buildings to equestrian use. Today the Pierre-Mendès-France Cultural Centre occupies the premises including the Museum of Art and Archaeology, the County Conservatory of Music and Dance, the youth service activities of the town of Aurillac, and a crèche for children. The Stables were then used by the national stud established by Napoleon in 1806; a depot of stallions was created in Aurillac. At the Battle of Austerlitz Napoleon rode Cantal, a speckled gray horse which is visible in a painting in the Art and Archaeology Museum. When the National Stud moved the stables were transformed into an exhibition hall / gallery and a range of exhibitions is held every year including the Salon des Métiers d'Art d'Aurillac.
Alfred Durand (-1947), Professor of Geography at the Aurillac school, author of La vie rurale dans les massifs volcaniques des Dores, du Cézallier, du Cantal et de l'Aubrac, thesis, 1946, Clermont-Ferrand, 530 p. (reprint Créér), Aurillac, géographie urbaine, 1948, 254 pp.
Marcel Grosdidier de Matons (1885-1945), Professor of Geography at the Aurillac school, author of Études de géographie urbaine (RHA), La Chataigneraie cantalienne
Maxime Real del Sarte and Jean de Barrau did their military service at Aurillac
Pierre Wirth (1921-2003), Professor at Aurillac school, author of Aurillac, 1973, Voyage à travers la Haute-Auvergne, 1973, Le Guide du Cantal, 1994
Joseph Malègue (1876-1940), Much of his novel of 900 pages, Augustin ou le Maître est là, takes place mainly in Aurillac: Under the table of Augustin is life in a prefecture of the province, which is actually Aurillac.
↑ In the Middle Ages in the south of France an area of extra-territoriality protected by the Catholic Church.
↑ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine , the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.
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