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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Cantal

Aurillac - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Cantal

Situated between mountains and plain, Aurillac, the chief town of the Cantal is a dynamic, commercial centre: pedestrian narrow streets lined with shops, lively market hall of Hôtel-de-Ville selling good regional produce... Its old town has preserved beautiful houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Street Theatre Festival attracts numerous spectators and is known internationaly. This event takes place during the third week of August.

Additional information

Aurillac developed around the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Geraud. Originally, it was the domain of Aurelius: Aureliacum. This rich gallo-roman character moved his remains well beyond the Temple of Aaron, at the mouth of the Jordanne valley, on the territory that perpetuated his name and become one of the city Aurillac.

This site opens widely in range...

The borders of Languedoc and Quercy, close to the foothills of the Cantal volcano, this site called sort of urban life. Yet for a long time, nothing is known, except that a castle rose on the heights overlooking the city to the north. He belonged in the first half of the ninth century a man of high degree, son, it is believed, Gerard I. count of Auvergne, who built in the meadow at the foot of the castle, a small church dedicated to St. Clement implying that some houses were to be grouped around the castle already called Saint-Etienne castle. At his death, his son Gerald inherited his vast estates which extended, says the chronicler, Puy Griou the Rouergue and Périgord. Gerald was a man renowned for his piety and kindness. He decided to found an abbey that he would give all his property and he built, to 896, the church of the future monastery next to it had to build his father. She was under the dual patronage of St. Peter and St. Clement before taking later that of its founder: Saint-Geraud.

After the death of Gerald (about 910)...

After the death of Saint Geraud, miracles that occurred around his tomb attracted such crowds of "crowds from more distant countries" that we had to build a larger church. Stephen II, Bishop of Auvergne, came to devote 972 and, says a document of that year, the bishop decided that the church would Aurillac now considered the second of his bishopric after that of its headquarters Episcopal in Clermont.

Ending in the tenth century, the abbey was booming...

And it is his school that went the monk Gerbert, one of the greatest scholars of his time, the "kingmaker", became pope under the name of Sylvester II in 999.

The pilgrims, among whom it takes the old King Robert, continued to arrive. One of them, Bernard of Angers, tells how, going to Conques around the year 1010, he made a visit to Aurillac attracted by the fame of the "majesty" of St. Gerald "resplendent gold purest and most precious jewels. " That of St. Foy in Conques, allows us to imagine what that of Saint Geraud.

In the second part of the eleventh century...

The church was again remodeled and Pope Urban II, returning to preach the crusade at the Council of Clermont, stopped there in 1095 to dedicate it again. However around the abbey, was developing a small town which gradually spread westward along the Jordanne and on the slope of Aurinques. A first enclosure, soon became too narrow, was supplemented by a second in the west and all was redone in 1347. This development of the medieval city is clearly visible on any current plan.

The "bourgeois" of Aurillac, ie the citizens of the city, appear for the first time in texts at the end of XII century. Their trade is active, it even meets the famous Champagne fairs. At the center of their village, they built a church dedicated to Our Lady on the site of the current city hall and very early to give consuls (judges, municipal...), in agreement with the Abbot which remains the Lord and for which they fight if necessary to the cry of "Aorlhac, Aorlhac, per san Guiral and the blind" (Aurillac, Aurillac for Saint Geraud and the abbot). We are in the land of Oc.

This good agreement lasted until the crisis of the Albigensian war. In 1233, riots broke out in the city. The Saint-Etienne castle, remains of the abbot, is destroyed. Therefore, the struggles were continually punctuated by the said conventions "Peace Aurillac" passed in 1280.1298 and 1347 between the abbot and the bourgeois.

A few years later the English wars debuted...

In Auvergne, the area was mostly Aurillac to suffer the ravages of the road bands who strove in vain to take the city protected by its ramparts and padlocked doors. Several times she had to pay heavy tribute to ward off looters. Yet it is at this time that was finally fixed in 1366, the seat of royal bailiwick of the mountains, thus affirming the role of administrative capital of the oldest town in Haute-Auvergne.

When peace returned, begins in the late Middle Ages, a time of reconstruction followed by a period of relative prosperity that came to trouble the religious wars. The Abbey, which had just been secularized in 1561, was completely devastated in 1569 by Protestants, like other monuments.

However, once the restored ruins, Aurillac reached adulthood, freed from the tutelage of the Abbey continues to grow on its initial momentum. City of Commerce and gown - the bailiwick of officers came to enlist in 1552 presidial those of the court - it begins to slip out of its walls no longer needed for defense. "Main city", she was in 1775, according the twentieth controller, "populous" and "well-built houses." Naturally, during the creation of the department in 1790, she intrigued for the top spot.

Saint-Flour, its rival beyond the mountains, do not agree. The system of alternation cut their quarrel. There was an end rather quickly and Aurillac finally became the capital of the Cantal. The eighteenth century saw the erosion of its walls, but the city was barely out of the enclosure of the fourteenth century. Not until the nineteenth century and especially the arrival of the railway in 1886 to attend a new push westward that continues today.

A place of trade and commerce...

For the entire department, Aurillac remains a crossroads but the city on the banks of the Jordanne is also an active cultural and tourist center where a large youth is welcomed in its secondary schools, and, more recently, higher.

Things to see and do

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Performance halls

Events and festivities

"Solos and Small Parts danced" in December. A "series" of short personal creations in all dance styles (contemporary, jazz, hip hop, etc..) By students dance Aurillac. Evaluated in public, every dancer has prevocational maximum of 3 minutes to present his universe through creation entirely personal (choreography, costume, music). This is also an opportunity for everyone to share his passion with the public by establishing a close relationship with the audience.

Detailed information

Street Theatre Festival
A big space for artistic freedom, enchantment and discoveriesAugust 2018


The St. Geraud church area
The St. Geraud church area
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City Hall
City Hall
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Aurillac Gerbert Statue of
Aurillac Gerbert Statue of
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Château Saint-Etienne
Château Saint-Etienne
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convention center
convention center
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Centre Pierre Mendes-France
Centre Pierre Mendes-France
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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