Last updated
Chateau des ducs de Bourbon a Montlucon en juillet 2014 - 04.jpg
Flag of Montlucon.svg
Blason ville fr Montlucon(03).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Montluçon
Montlucon \n
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 46°20′27″N2°36′12″E / 46.3408°N 2.6033°E / 46.3408; 2.6033 Coordinates: 46°20′27″N2°36′12″E / 46.3408°N 2.6033°E / 46.3408; 2.6033
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Allier
Arrondissement Montluçon
Canton Montluçon-1, 2, 3 and 4
Intercommunality Montluçon
  Mayor (2014–2020) Daniel Dugléry
20.67 km2 (7.98 sq mi)
 (2017-01-01) [1]
  Density1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
03185 /03100
Elevation194–364 m (636–1,194 ft)
(avg. 207 m or 679 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Montluçon (French:  [mɔ̃.ly.sɔ̃] ; Occitan : Montleçon) is a commune in central France on the Cher river. It is the largest commune in the Allier department, although the department's préfecture is located in the smaller town of Moulins. Its inhabitants are known as Montluçonnais. The town is in the traditional province of Bourbonnais and was part of the mediaeval duchy of Bourbon.



Montluçon is located in the northwest of the Allier department near the frontier of the Centre-Val de Loire and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions.

Montluçon is linked with surrounding regions and towns via four main road axes, plus the highway A71 from Orléans to Clermont-Ferrand; through a railway linking in the North Vierzon then Paris (3-5h). Formerly the canal de Berry linked Montluçon towards the north.

Montluçon is 106 kilometres (66 miles) south of Bourges, 340 km (211 miles) from Paris, 95 km (59 mi) from Clermont-Ferrand, 280 km (174 mi) (3h) from Lyon, 150 km (93 mi) (2h) from Limoges and 400 km (249 mi) from the Atlantic coast.

Montluçon is close to the Méridienne verte (an architectural project marking the Paris meridian) and to the Greenwich meridian.

Montluçon is also close to the geographic centre of Metropolitan France.


Early history

Montluçon was built in the Middle Ages. The first mention of a place called Monte Lucii (Mont de Lucius) dates from the eleventh century. Guillaume, son of Archambaud IV of Bourbon, built the castle in a defensible position on a small rocky hill on a bend in the Cher River.

The town, which formed part of the duchy of Bourbon, was taken by the English in 1171, and by Philip Augustus in 1181; the English were finally driven out in the 14th century.

In the 14th century, Louis II de Bourbon re-built the castle and walls. Montluçon and other Bourbon lands reverted to the French crown in 1529, and Henry IV further improved the defenses.

Montluçon became the administrative seat of the area in 1791, then entered the industrial era thanks to the presence of coalpits 12 km (7 mi) distant in Commentry, the Canal de Berry in 1830 and the railway in 1864. These transport links allowed the import of ore and export of coal, wood and manufactured goods. The population grew from 5000 inhabitants in 1830 to 50 000 in 1950.

World War II

During the Second World War, the Germans occupied the Dunlop tyre plant (even though Montluçon was in the free zone) to exploit the research laboratory to synthesize rubber, since natural rubber could not be imported by the Nazis. The manufacturing of tyres for Luftwaffe aircraft was also of interest for the Nazis.

For this reason, the Allies bombed the site on 12–16 September 1943, as well as part of the nearby town Saint-Victor, causing 36 deaths and injuring more than 250 civilians.

A notable act of resistance occurred in the city on January 6, 1943 when a mob of citizens overran guards supervising a massive deportation of men to Germany in accordance with the Service de Travail Obligatoire (Obligatory Work Service) plan that sent able Frenchmen to fill vacancies in German factories during the war. All the men who were to be deported managed to escape into the countryside, evading the forced industrial service awaiting them in the Reich. [2]

Post-World War II

Since 1945, traditional industry (blast furnaces and glassware) has declined. Today Montluçon has chemical industries, tyre manufacture (Dunlop), and electronics (Sagem), and more recently a technopole at La Loue was established for high-tech companies.

New Zealand-born Australian Nancy Wake, the most decorated woman of World War II, led her small army of resistance fighters in the countryside around Montluçon. On March 11, 2013 Nancy Wake's ashes were scattered in a small wood outside Montluçon. The ceremony was followed by a civic reception in the town. Wake died in August 2011, aged 98.


Historical population
Source: INSEE (1968–2012)



There is a small airport 30 km (19 mi) from Montluçon (Montluçon - Guéret Airport) with flights mainly for Paris, and a smaller aerodrome in Montluçon itself (Montluçon - Domérat Aerodrome). The nearest international airports are Clermont-Ferrand Airport and Limoges Airport.


Montluçon is linked to French and European road networks, by three major routes:


Montlucon-Ville railway station Montlucon gare 2.jpg
Montluçon-Ville railway station

The Gare de Montluçon-Ville railway station is served by three main passenger rail lines.

City buses

Montluçon's local buses are run by Maelis.


The upper town, on the right bank of the Cher, consists of steep, narrow, winding streets, and preserves several buildings of the 15th and 16th centuries. The lower town, traversed by the Cher, is the industrial zone.

The church of Notre-Dame dates from the fourteenth century, the church of St Pierre partly from the 12th. The town hall, with a library, occupies the site of an old Ursuline convent, and two other convents are used as a college and hospital. Overlooking the town is the castle rebuilt by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, and taken by Henry IV during the French Wars of Religion; it serves as a barracks.



International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Montluçon is twinned with: [3]


Administration: Montluçon is a sub-prefecture and has courts, a board of trade arbitration, a chamber of commerce and several schools (general public, private, commercial).



Montluçon was the birthplace of:

See also

Related Research Articles

Vichy Subprefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Vichy is a city in the Allier department of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in central France, in the historic province of Bourbonnais.

Cher (river) river in central France

The Cher is a river in central France, a left tributary of the Loire. It is 367.8 km (228.5 mi) long and its basin area is 13,718 km2 (5,297 sq mi). Its source is in the Creuse department, north-east of Crocq. It joins the river Loire at Villandry, west of Tours.

Allier Department of France in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Allier is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in the centre of France. Named after the river Allier, it had a population of 339,384 in 2016. Moulins is the prefecture; Montluçon and Vichy are the subprefectures. Its INSEE and post code is 03.

Clermont-Ferrand Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Clermont-Ferrand is a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with a population of 143,886 (2017). Its metropolitan area had 485,315 inhabitants at the 2017 census. It is the prefecture (capital) of the Puy-de-Dôme department. Olivier Bianchi is its current mayor.

Saint-Amand-Montrond Subprefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Saint-Amand-Montrond is a commune in the Cher department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France and the historical province of Bourbonnais.

Auvergne Region of France

Auvergne is a former administrative region in south-central France, comprising the four departments of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal and Haute-Loire. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

L'Union des Aéroports Français (UAF) - "The French Airports Association" in English - is a French organization created in 1938. As of March 2010, it has 134 members which operate 156 airports in metropolitan France and the French overseas departments and territories. In November 2018, Union des Aéroports Francophones (UAF) merged with Les Aéroports Francophones Associés à l'ACI (AFACI) into UAF&FA.

Gannat Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Gannat is a commune in the Allier department in central France.

Route nationale 20 route nationale

The Route nationale 20 (N20) is a trunk road (nationale) between Paris and the frontier with Spain heading south through the heart of France and passing through the Cathedral City of Orléans and Toulouse. The road forks at Col de Puymorens with one branch being the Route nationale 22 which leads to Andorra. In winter, avalanches sometimes close the road.

A71 autoroute road in France

The A71 autoroute is a motorway in central France. It is also called l'Arverne. It starts at Orléans and ends at Clermont-Ferrand.

Ahun Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Ahun is a commune in the Creuse department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in central France.

Néris-les-Bains Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Néris-les-Bains is a commune in the Allier department in the Auvergne region in central France.

Yèvre (Cher) river in France, tributary of the Cher

The Yèvre is a river in central France, a right tributary of the Cher. It is 80.6 km (50.1 mi) long. Its source is near the village of Gron, east of Bourges.

Les Aubrais station railway station in Fleury-les-Aubrais, France

The gare des Aubrais is a main-line railway station located in the town of Fleury-les-Aubrais in Loiret, central France, and serving the greater Orléans district. It is situated on the Paris to Bordeaux railway and is also the northern terminus of the Orléans to Montauban line. TGV and most other long-distance trains serve only the Gare des Aubrais, and not the more central Gare d'Orléans.

Bourges station railway station

The gare de Bourges is a railway station serving the town Bourges, Cher department, central France.

Montluçon-Ville station railway station

The gare de Montluçon is a railway station serving the town Montluçon, Allier department, central France.

Vierzon-Ville station railway station in Vierzon, France

Gare de Vierzon-Ville is a railway station serving the town Vierzon, Cher department, central France. It is situated on the Orléans–Montauban railway, the Vierzon–Saincaize railway and the Vierzon–Saint-Pierre-des-Corps railway.

Orléans is a city in Loiret, France. The city is located 130 kilometres (81 mi) south west of Paris. The city has a population of 113,000 and the Metropolitan Area has a population of nearly 370,000 people.

Régiolis Electric multiple unit

The Régiolis is a category of multiple unit train built by Alstom coming from the Coradia family. The first train was presented on July 4, 2013 in Aquitaine, and the first commissioning took place on April 22, 2014 on the TER Aquitaine network, more than a year behind the initial schedule.


  1. "Populations légales 2017". INSEE . Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. John F. Sweets, Choices in Vichy France, (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1994): 25.
  3. "Jumelage" (PDF). (in French). Montluçon Pratique 2019. p. 31. Retrieved 2019-11-19.