Aubazine is a commune in the Massif Central located some 10 km east by north-east of Brive-la-Gaillarde and 12 km south-west of Tulle. The D1089 highway passes through the north-west of the commune going from Malemort-sur-Corrèze to Tulle however access to the village is by the D130 branching off the D1089, going south to the village, and continuing south to Beynat. The D48 also goes east from the village to Le Chastang with the D48E branching off it in the east of the commune to go north to Cornil. The D14E1 also goes south-west from the village to join the D14.
A railway line passes through the commune parallel to the D1089 and the station for Aubazine is at Gare d'Aubazine in the neighbouring commune. The line is served by the TER Limousin trains from Brive-la-Gaillarde to Clermont-Ferrand.
The village is in the south of the commune on a promontory overlooking the Coiroux at a height of over 150 metres. Apart from the village there are the hamlets of: Pauliac Bas, Pauliac Haut, Villieres, Vergonzac, Le Varachou, Rochesseux, Chastagnol, Quatre Routes, and Les Vayres. The commune is mixed forest and farmland.
The Corrèze river forms the north-western border of the commune as it flows south-west to join the Vézère west of Breve-la-Gaillarde. A number of streams rise in the commune to join the Corrèze including the Ruisseau de la Geinde, 2.7 km long, which rises near Quatre-Routes and flows north to join the Ruisseau de Brauze in Cornil commune which flows to the Corrèze, the Ruisseau Français, and the Canal des Moines which branches from the Coiroux.
The lowest altitude of the commune is 126 metres in the west where the Corrèze leaves the commune. The highest points are 520 metres high on the Puy de Pauliac which dominates the area, and in the south-east next to Le Chastang near a place called la Jarouste.
The village of Aubazine, which had a church, became a commune in the French Revolution in 1790 through the dismantling of the parish of Cornil but it lacked Vital records until 1 March 1792.
Aubazine, formerly written Obazine, has its origin in the foundation of a monastery by Étienne de Vielzot in the 12th century. The monastery was affiliated shortly after to the Cistercian order. Very soon an associated convent of nuns was established in the village of Coyroux a few hundred metres away. The two monasteries existed until the Revolution. Formerly spelled Obazine the parish depended on Cornil.
The site of the monastic institutions and their dependencies have been the object of archaeological excavations and extensive studies in the last third of the 20th century under the direction of Professor of medieval history Bernadette Barrière.
Due to an error in the INSEE code there is confusion over an incorrect spelling Aubazines. The spelling Aubazine is the correct name of the village.
The village of Gare d'Aubazine, although located in the commune of Saint-Hilaire-Peyroux is an integral part of the history of Aubazine and of Dampniat than that of Saint-Hilaire.
Th station was established at a place called Confolens however, as the station was primarily to serve Aubazine even though it was on the territory of the neighbouring commune, the council demanded a composite name. The railway acceded to the demand and the stop which was called Aubazine-Saint-Hilaire-Peyroux became Aubazine thereafter. Saint-Hilaire-Peyroux have their own stop at Pont Bonnel.
Before 1840, the date of the opening of Route nationale N89 (later D1089), there was nothing at the bottom of this valley other than the worn-out mills of: Confolens in Dampniat commune, Claredent in Aubazine commune, and Jayle in Malemort-sur-Corrèze commune, which were accessible only on narrow, bumpy, and steep slopes by goods wagons. Horses, mules, and donkeys circulated more often than carts.
The village, now called Gare d'Aubazine was rather poorly named. The SNCF station is located on the right bank of the Corrèze in the territory of Saint-Hilaire-Peyroux while the left bank belongs largely to Dampniat with the nearest village located 2 km away.
The Confolens bridge and paper mill added to progress together with the railway at the end of the 19th century and in 1912 the establishment of a railhead for the departmental tram line going to Turenne then Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne via Le Bosplos completed this action. The Tacot (Jalopy) had disappeared by 1932, replaced by a bus and the agglomeration of the Gare d'Aubazine retained its thriving business. New houses were built and a school with two classes was opened for the children. Their parents climbed to Dampniat to learn to read.
In June 1944 maquisards destroyed the Claredent railway bridge, blocking a German armoured train and preventing convoys of equipment from the manufacture of weapons at Tulle from being quickly transported to their destination on the front or the Rhine.
List of Successive Mayors
(Not all data is known)
In 2010 the commune had 874 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.Population Change (See database)
Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)
The commune has two structures that are registered as historical monuments:A Stone circle at Puy de Pauliac (Neolithic)
The Canal des Moines (12th century) with a length of 1.7 km, it was built to supply the village - it is the only canal of its kind still operating in Europe. It dominates the Gorges of Coiroux.
Other sites of interest are:The Dolmen of Rochesseux.
The Saut de la bergère rock (overlooking the Canal des Moines), a 70m high cliff where, according to legend, a shepherdess was thrown from to escape dishonour.
The Tourist centre and Lake Coiroux.
Two religious buildings are registered as historical monuments and one more contains historical objects:Remains of the old Monastery of Coyroux (12th century). It contains many items that are registered as historical objects:
Statue: Sainte Marie-Madeleine (15th century)
Statue: Nicodème (15th century)
Group sculpture: Virgin and Saint John (15th century)
Group sculpture: Setting on a Tomb (15th century)
The old Abbey Saint-Etienne (1142) and monastic buildings of the ancient Cistercian abbey founded in 1142 by Saint Etienne, the first abbot. The abbey contains many items registered as historical objects:
Group sculpture: Saint Roch (18th century)
Statuette: Virgin and child playing with a bird (15th century)
Master Altar: Altar, seating, Tabernacle, Pedestal, Statue (18th century)
3 Stalls (17th century)
Statue: Saint Etienne of Obazine (18th century)
Group sculpture: Virgin of pity (15th century)
Bas-relief: Saint Etienne Harding holding the habit of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (17th century)
Bas-relief: Saint Etienne Harding, Abbot of Citeaux, granting the Charter of charity (17th century)
Cabinet (12th century)
Altar Cross (13th century)
4 plates on a shrine (13th century)
Reliquary Cross (19th century)
Recumbent Statue: Saint Etienne of Obazine (13th century)
Tomb of Etienne of Obazine (13th century)
Total of 42 Stalls (17th century)
Statue: Virgin (18th century)
Pedestal (18th century)
2 Statuettes: Adoring angels (18th century)
Tabernacle (18th century)
3 Statues: (1 large 2 small) Christ between 2 angels (18th century)
Altar, seating, altar tomb, altar exhibits (18th century)
2 Bas-reliefs: Saint Etienne (17th century)
Cabinet in the Sacristy (14th century)
Bronze bell (1683)
Little bell (1605)
Bronze bell (1605)
Reliquary Cross (double cross) (12th century)
Monumental Painting: Virgin of pity (1466)
25 Stained glass windows (12th century)
Group of Stalls (17th century)
The Parish Church of Notre-Dame contains three items registered as historical object:
Statue: Saint John the Baptist (17th century)
Retable and Altar seating in the 2nd chapel in the south transept (17th century)
Bas-relief: Arms of the Abbey of Aubazine (17th century)
Étienne d'Obazine, founder of the Abbey.
Pierre Brugeilles (1845-1893), born in Aubazine, Mayor of the commune, MP for Corrèze from 1885 to 1889.
Jean-Baptiste Laumond (1865-1957), Mayor of the commune from 1890 to 1944, MP for Corrèze from 1926 to 1938, Magistrate of Andorra from 1937 to 1940.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971), Hatmaker and clothes designer, spent part of her youth at the orphanage. in the Abbey and managed by the nuns from Saint-Cœur de Marie.
Bernadette Barrière (1936-2004), Professor of medieval history, University of Limoges.
Étienne Jugie, born in Aubazine on 3 May 1878, died at Sorgues on 29 November 1954, known in religion under the name Marin Jugie, (Augustinian of the Assumption) Theologian, author of numerous works, Professor at the Vatican and at Lyon. He worked on the Doctrine of the Assumption and on the Churches of the Orient, studied "Joseph de Maistre and the Greco-Russian Church".
Thierry Chenavaud, designer and producer of shows since 2007, every year in July the "Cistercian Lights" with huge images at the old monastery of Coyroux at Aubazine. The narration of the show is extracted from the Life of Etienne d'Obazine text from the 12th century, written by a contemporary of Etienne.
A Postage stamp with a value of 1.25 francs depicting the Abbey of Aubazine was issued on 18 February 1978.