Auvergne (province)



Coat of arms
Map showing the Duchy of Auvergne.
Country France
Time zone CET
Dukes 1360–1416, John, Duke of Berry
1521–1531, Louise of Savoy

Auvergne (French pronunciation: [ovɛʁɲ]; Occitan: Auvèrnhe/Auvèrnha) was a historic province in south central France. It was originally the feudal domain of the Counts of Auvergne. It is now the geographical and cultural area that corresponds to the former province.

Today, the whole of the province of Auvergne is contained inside the administrative région of Auvergne, a région which also includes provinces and territories that were not part of Auvergne historically. The capital of the région of Auvergne is Clermont-Ferrand.



Statue of Vercingetorix in Clermont-Ferrand

Auvergne was a province of France deriving its name from the Arverni, a Gallic tribe who once occupied the area, well known for its fierce resistance, led by Vercingetorix, to conquest by the Roman Empire. Christianized by Saint Austremoine, Auvergne was quite prosperous during the Roman ages. After a short time under the Visigoths, it was conquered by the Franks, in 507. The medieval times were for Auvergne a period of great development, especially between the 10th and 13th centuries, with the building of famous abbeys and churches in a Romanesque style. In the year 1095, the historic Council of Clermont was held there, to rally support for the First Crusade. Its wide autonomy was ended by King Philippe-Auguste of France, who linked it to the royal possessions. Hardly impacted by the Hundred Years war, the religion wars and epidemics, integrated to the kingdom of France, it turned itself more and more into an agricultural province, although reputed for its products. In 1790, the historical province was divided into the modern-day départements of Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, Haute-Loire, and Allier, although Haute-Loire and Allier also include some land from the historical provinces of Bourbonnais, Lyonnais, and Velay.


The region is famed for its charcuterie, which is celebrated in "La Mangona" festivals in many Auvergnat villages, for its cheeses (Saint Nectaire, Bleu d'Auvergne, Cantal, Salers, Fourme d'Ambert), and for its mineral waters (Volvic among others). Michelin tires are produced there. Auvergne is also the site of several major hydroelectric projects, mainly located on the Dordogne, Cère, and Truyère rivers. The region is also quite touristic, thanks to its landscapes.


Auvergnat, a variety of the Occitan language, was historically spoken in the Auvergne. It is still spoken there. Aubrac oxen, a rare breed, are raised in the Aubrac hills.[1]

The Auvergne emigrants, together with other Aveyron and Italian emigrants, deeply influenced the Parisian Bal-musette music.

Composer Joseph Canteloube based Songs of the Auvergne (Chants d'Auvergne) (1923–55), his well-known piece for voice and orchestra, on folk music and songs from the Auvergne.

Singer-songwriter Georges Brassens composed Chanson pour l'Auvergnat.

Notable residents

  • Vercingetorix, King of the Arverni, leader of the Gallic resistance against Julius Caesar.
  • Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette, (1757–1834), born in Auvergne, was a national hero in both France and the United States for his roles in the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution.[2]
  • Pierre-Andre Coffinhal, Jacobin leader and vice-president of the Revolutionary Tribunal, was born in Auvergne. A close friend of Robespierre, he was executed following the events of the 9 Thermidor.
  • Jean-Baptiste Carrier was a French Revolutionary born in Yolet of Auvergne. He was famous for his brutality towards his enemies. In 1794, he was guillotined upon the conviction of the National Convention.
  • The Dalfi d'Alvernha or Dauphin d'Auvergne, troubadour and patron of troubadours, Count of Clermont and Montferrand
  • Joseph Canteloube, (1879–1957), French composer.
  • Guy Debord, writer and leader of the Situationist International, acquired a country house in the region in 1975, where he frequently lived until committing suicide there in 1994.
  • Audrey Tautou, internationally successful French actress, was born and raised in Auvergne: her surname is typically Occitan.

Notable fictional residents


  1. ^ Gayot, Andre (2 July 2008). "In the Heart of France". feature article. Gayot. Retrieved 14 October 2008. 
  2. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 

External links

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