Aurillac (Orlhac in Occitan) 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.
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.
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 Cere. 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-Cere in the south-east, and the D18 to Ytrac in the west. 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 – Tronquieres 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 Cere just south of the commune.
Aurillac is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cantal which manages commercial villages (including that of Tronquieres in Aurillac). Aurillac Airport is managed by the CABA (Urban Community of the Aurillac Basin Agglomeration).
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-Done ("Done" 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-Etienne 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 Sauvete 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.
It was in the 13th century that municipal conflict began between consuls and abbots. After taking the Chateau of Saint-Etienne 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 Presidial 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 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 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)
Aurillac has several dance centres:Folk dancing: dancers and singers from the Auvergne School
Conservatory: National School of Music and Dance of Aurillac
Katy Bardy Dance School
Modern jazz and classical Chorege Dance School;
La Manufacture: a higher centre of dance, movement, and images created by Vendetta Mathea.
Society of Upper Auvergne: a Society of letters, sciences and arts "La Haute-Auvergne"
Theatre 4: rue de la Coste next to the Consuls House
Le Prisme: conference rooms and entertainment