The church of Saint-Géraud and surrounding buildings, in Aurillac

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 44°55′34″N 2°26′26″E / 44.9261°N 2.4406°E / 44.9261; 2.4406Coordinates: 44°55′34″N 2°26′26″E / 44.9261°N 2.4406°E / 44.9261; 2.4406
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Cantal
Arrondissement Aurillac
Canton Capital of 4 cantons
Intercommunality Bassin d'Aurillac
  Mayor (20132020) Pierre Mathonier
Area1 28.76 km2 (11.10 sq mi)
Population (2010)2 27,924
  Density 970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 15014 / 15000
Elevation 573–867 m (1,880–2,844 ft)
(avg. 622 m or 2,041 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Aurillac (French pronunciation: [ɔʁijak]; Occitan: Orlhac [urˈʎak]) is a French commune, capital of the Cantal department, in the Auvergne region of south-central France, .

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Aurillacois or Aurillacoises.[1]

The commune has been awarded three flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.[2]


Aurillac is at 600 metres 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 558 km (347 mi) south of Paris and 223 km (139 mi) north of Toulouse. Aurillac was part of a former Auvergne province called Haute-Auvergne and is only 20 km (12 mi) 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.[3] 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 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

Neighbouring communes and villages


Aurillac has an oceanic climate with cold winters and hot summers due to its distance from the ocean. Rainfall, however, is abundant with 1,174 millimetres (46.2 in) 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.

Climate data for Aurillac (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.8
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) −1.0
Record low °C (°F) −21.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 91.7
Average precipitation days 12.0 10.6 11.1 12.1 12.7 9.7 8.1 9.5 8.8 11.4 12.0 11.8 130.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 110.0 126.8 177.2 179.3 210.4 242.1 268.0 248.8 206.1 148.7 100.3 100.0 2,117.5
Source: Météo France[4][5]


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.

Houses along the Jordanne

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 Station at Aurillac in 1898

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.

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.

Party per pale, Or and Vert, the border engrailed of one on the other.

Politics and Administration


Aurillac is the capital of the department of Cantal (seat of the prefecture) and of the Arrondissement of Aurillac as well as for four cantons (INSEE names):


List of Successive Mayors[6]

Mayors from 1941
From To Name Party Position
1941 1944 Antony Joly Named by the Vichy Regime. Textile Entrepreneur
1944 1947 Jean Chanal Doctor, Former Mayor
1947 1953 Henri Tricot Dentist, Legion of Honour
1953 1965 Paul Joseph Amable Piales Industrialist, Legion of Honour, Senator for Cantal 1948-1971
1965 1971 Jacques Meyniel PS Son of Mayor Louis Meyniel, MP for Cantal
1971 1977 Jean Mézard CNIP Doctor, President of the General Council
1977 1995 René Souchon PS
1995 2001 Yvon Bec MDC
2001 2006 René Souchon PS Resigned to become President of the Auvergne Regional Council
2006 2013 Alain Calmette PS General Counsellor, MP for Cantal from 2012
2013 2020 Pierre Mathonier PS

(Not all data is known)


Aurillac has twinning associations with:[7]


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]

Population Change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
10,470 10,357 10,523 9,190 9,766 10,889 9,753 9,609 10,917
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
9,846 9,831 10,998 11,098 11,211 13,727 14,613 15,824 16,886
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
17,459 17,772 18,038 16,389 17,153 17,643 19,041 22,174 22,224
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
24,563 28,226 30,863 30,963 30,773 30,551 29,700 27,924 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)



Boutique Gentiane Couderc

Aurillac has hundreds of boutiques, shops, and artisans.


Bleu d'Auvergne

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.

Data processing

Aurillac hosts several websites:

Aurillac has also been the headquarters of the ERP vendor Qualiac since 1979.[11]

Culture and heritage

The commune has a very large number of buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments. For a complete list click here (French).

There are also a very large number of items which are registered as historical objects in various locations. For a complete list click here. (French)

Civil heritage

Some of the most interesting sites are:

Religious heritage

The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:


Cultural facilities

Concert at Le Prisme

Aurillac has several dance centres:

Cultural events and festivities

Festival of Street theatre at Aurillac


Profile of the 10th stage of the Tour de France

In 2011 Aurillac hosted the start of the Tour de France in the 10th stage.

Places of Worship


Two military units are garrisoned in Aurillac:

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.

Notable people linked to the commune

Aurillac was the birthplace of
Saint Gerald of Aurillac
Statue of Pope Sylvester II (1851)[36]
L-F Grognier
Linked to Aurillac

See also


  1. In the Middle Ages in the south of France an area of extra-territoriality protected by the Catholic Church.
  2. At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, 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.


  1. Inhabitants of Cantal (French)
  2. Aurillac in the Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom Archived 10 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine. (French)
  3. Google Maps
  4. "Données climatiques de la station de MAurillac" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  5. "Climat Auvergne" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  6. List of Mayors of France (French)
  7. National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (French)
  8. Abeil
  9. Net-truck (French)
  10. Aerodiscount
  11. Qualiac
  12. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093450 Chateau of Saint-Etienne (French)
  13. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093460 Consul's House (French)
  14. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093466 Palace of Justice (French)
  15. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093467 Prison (French)
  16. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093452 Police Station (French)
  17. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093459 Town Hall (French)
  18. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093454 Prefecture (French)
  19. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093448 Abbey Saint-Géraud (French)
  20. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000760 Organ (French)
  21. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000072 Instrumental part of the Organ (French)
  22. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000102 Reliquary of Saint Blaise (French)
  23. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000101 Reliquary of Saint Benoît (French)
  24. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000100 Reliquary of Saint Odon (French)
  25. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093451 Church of Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges (French)
  26. Anne Courtillé - Auvergne, Bourbonnais, Velay gothiques - pp.134-137 - Editions A. et J. Picard - Paris - 2002 - ISBN 2-7084-0683-3 (French)
  27. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA15000030 Church of Sacré Coeur (French)
  28. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000755 Interior Decor, Stained glass, Reliefs, paintings, and mosaics (French)
  29. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093449 Chapel of Aurinques (French)
  30. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000080 Bronze Bell (French)
  31. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PIM15000079 Ex-voto Painting: Procession of Acts of Grace (French)
  32. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PIM15000078 Ex-voto Painting: Deliverance of the Town (French)
  33. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PIM15000077 Ex-voto Painting: Attack on the Town (French)
  34. Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM15000076 Glass wall: virgin and Child (French)
  35. Aurillac Protestant Church (French)
  36. Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093468 Statue ofChurch (French)
  37. Claude Barthe, Joseph Malègue and the "Novel of ideas" in the modern crisis in Les romanciers et le catholicisme, Éditions de Paris, 2004, pp. 83-97, p. 92. ISBN 2-85162-107-6 (French)


External links

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