10 largest cities in France




Aurillac (Orlhac in Occitan) is a French town located in the center of the Massif Central, in the Cantal department of which it is the prefecture, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes administrative region.

The episcopal seat is located in Saint-Flour. Its inhabitants are called the Aurillacois and the Aurillacoises.

At an average altitude of 680 meters, Aurillac is located at the foot of the Cantal mountains in a small sedimentary basin. The "Aurillac basin" is located at the intersection of several landscaped units: to the east, the Cantallian massif made up of a summit area, in a supra-forest situation (high summer pastures capped by ridges which constitute the framework and the geographical center of the massif), and a plateau cut by two valleys which both open into the basin, the valley of the Cère and the Jordanne. The valleys and gorges of the Cère cross the basin from east to west. To the southwest, the region is bordered by the volcanic plateau of Carladès and to the south by the plateau of the Cantal chestnut grove which corresponds to a crystalline base.

The city is built on the banks of the Jordanne, a tributary of the Cère which flows nearby.



We can think that in the Gallic period, the primitive regional site of the city was on the heights which dominate the city at Saint-Jean-de-Dône ("Dône" = dunum) and that, like most of the oppida, it was abandoned after the Roman conquest in favor of a new town established in the plain. With the return of the insecurity of the Late Empire, we are witnessing the enshrining movement: a new fortified site is established halfway between the old oppidum and the ancient Gallo-Roman city, where it is today. hui the Saint-Etienne castle.

The history of the city is not really known until 856, year of birth of Count Géraud d'Aurillac, at the castle of which his father, also named Géraud, was the lord. Around 885, he founded a Benedictine abbey which would later bear his name.

It is in this monastery, rebuilt in the eleventh century, that Gerbert, the first French pope under the name of Sylvester II, will study.

The city was established on a land of salvation which is located between four crosses and which was founded in 898 by Géraud, shortly after the abbey. Circular in shape, the first urban unit was formed in the immediate vicinity of the Aurillac abbey. Géraud died around 910 but his influence is such that over the centuries, Géraud has always remained a common baptismal name among the population of Aurillac and the surrounding area.

It was in the thirteenth century that we began to learn about municipal customs, thanks to a conflict between consuls and abbots. After the capture of the Château Saint-Étienne in 1255 and two arbitral awards called the Paix d'Aurillac, relations will normalize.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Aurillac supported several sieges against the English and in the sixteenth century, continued to suffer civil and religious wars.

The influence of the abbey declined with its secularization and its commissioning.

In 1569, the city was delivered by treason to the Protestants, the inhabitants tortured, ransomed and the abbey sacked. Its entire library and archives are burnt.

Before the Revolution, Aurillac housed a presidial and carried the title of capital of Haute-Auvergne. In 1794, after a period of alternation with Saint-Flour, Aurillac definitely became the capital of Cantal.

It was the arrival of the railway in 1866 that accelerated the development of the city.

At the first census, in 1759, Aurillac had 6,268 inhabitants, it now has around 25,000.



Château de Salles (A few minutes from Aurillac) - A 15th century château set in the middle of a private 8 hectare estate. The hotel benefits from a panorama towards the Mounts of Cantal, and offers to its customers a restaurant, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and tennis courts.
Castle of Saint-Cirq Lapopie (Saint-Cirq Lapopie)



By road, the city is served by the National Route 122, which connects the A75 motorway to Figeac.

By rail, Aurillac station is located on the Figeac to Arvant line and is served by TER Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes which go to Toulouse-Matabiau, Clermont-Ferrand and Brive-la-Gaillarde.

Aurillac airport is linked to Paris-Orly by three daily flights by the airline company Air France Hop.