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Aurillac

Travel Guide
  • Visitors come to the capital of the Cantal region for its historic monuments, including Aurinques Chapel, the abbey-church of Saint-Géraud and Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges (Our Lady of the Snow), and its museums (notably the Volcano Museum and the Museum of Art and Archaeology). 
If you are planning a visit to Aurillac, don't forget to fit in the old houses along the Jordanne River, at the foot of the Cantal ...
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • The administrative centre of the department of Cantal benefits from as much sunshine as Toulouse.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • Standing on the banks of the Jordanne river you can admire old buildings dating from the 18th century.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • Regardless of the path you choose to take, you can come across magnificent landscapes.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • Founded in the 4th century, the church was formerly a stopping point for pilgrims en route to Saint Jacques de Compostelle.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • During a stay in Aurillac, you cannot help but notice the charming buildings which seem to watch over the Jordanne river.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
  • The city hall known as "the capital of the territories" organises the International Street Theatre Festival every year in August.
    © David Hughes / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

Visitors come to the capital of the Cantal region for its historic monuments, including Aurinques Chapel, the abbey-church of Saint-Géraud and Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges (Our Lady of the Snow), and its museums (notably the Volcano Museum and the Museum of Art and Archaeology).
If you are planning a visit to Aurillac, don't forget to fit in the old houses along the Jordanne River, at the foot of the Cantal Mountains.

Aurillac: what to do?

Sports and leisure fanatics will be delighted. Swimming, fishing and water activities can all be done just outside of the town.
For swimming, there is the Centre Aquatique du Bassin d'Aurillac (Aurillac aquatics centre) and St-Etienne Cantales Lake. Also visit the Etangs de Marfon (ponds of Marfon), where a heated pool, pony rides, children's games, pedalos, minibikes and trout fishing are all available. During the school holidays, you can visit the hatchery where you will learn about the phenomenon of egg-laying.
Sailing, canoeing, canyoning, wakeboarding, water-skiing, horse riding, golf, paint ball, rock climbing, karting. bowling, pétanque, ULM, hot air balloons and many other activities can be done in Aurillac!
Looking for large open spaces? The Pays d'Aurillac (an association working to develop Aurillac) proposes various hiking trails, whether you are a beginner, more experienced or a family. You can hike on foot or ride on a donkey, it's up to you!

Going for a walk at the heart of the city, between its architectural and natural treasures, will give you an insight into the history of Aurillac. Head to the Tourist Information Office at 10:00am on Fridays to take part in a 1h 30m tour (£4 for adults, £2 for children and students).
The 'Joyaux d'Aurillac' (Jewels of Aurillac) tour takes place every Tuesday and is especially for children. During this tour, they will discover the city's cultural and gastronomic heritage. It includes events, tastings and games (£3 for a 2h tour with snacks).
Discover the 'houses' that have been operating and contributing to the city's economic and commercial dynamism for more than a century. Head to the Tourist Office on Thursdays until 15th September to discover the businesses that have been operating for more than 100 years. £4 for adults, £2 for children and students (the visit is subject to a minimum of four adults).

To better understand the mountain climate and put Aurillac's 'famous' morning temperature into perspective, take a tour behind the scenes at the regional centre of Météo France. On select Wednesdays in July and August you can visit Météo France (Aurillac?Tronquières Airport) at 10:00am to take part in a 2h tour. (£4 for adults, £2 for children and students).

Every Wednesday at 9:30am, you can take a guided tour of the castle tower from which you can enjoy a lovely view of Aurillac (£4 for adults, £2 for children and students).

 Auvergne  Auvergne
Aurillac: the key figures

Surface area : 26013.0 km2

Population : 1379000 inhabitants

  • The setting with the mountains and the nature right nearby.
  • No traffic on the roads.
  • The various sports and cultural facilities.
  • The isolated location.
  • It can sometimes be a little too quiet.
  • The need to have a car to get here and to travel around.

Reminders

Every year since 1986, the Festival International de Théâtre de Rue d'Aurillac (Aurillac International Street Theatre Festival) has been held at the end of August. This four-day event, the largest in Europe in terms of street theatre and performance, offers visitors hundreds of daytime and evening outdoor performances to the sound of fanfares, batucadas and other lively percussion music. The festival's atmosphere is a mixture of enchantment, discovery and self-expression of art and tribal music.

To avoid

Telling somebody from Aurillac that their city is for old people, isolated, or too cold in winter; they are already aware of this and you can be sure they won't find you to be very nice.

Aurillac: what to eat?

In Aurillac, culinary artisans will delight your taste buds with a variety of flavours that can sometimes be surprising. Make sure you taste the famous Cantal cheese made from raw or pasteurised cow's milk,
as well as the well-known pounti. This dish typical from Aveyron and Cantal is the perfect example of a peasant dish that is both sweet and savoury, and is easy to transport as a packed lunch. It is a savoury cake made of flour, eggs, milk, chard, bacon and prunes, and it is usually sliced and eaten cold or lightly fried with a salad.
Another old dish that is just as delicious is Truffarde. This dish is made of potatoes, tome fraîche from Cantal or Laguiole (kinds of cheeses) and grilled bacon.

Until 15th September, the city of Aurillac gives visitors the opportunity to discover the best products of Auvergne. Head to the Tourist Information Office at 9:15am on Thursdays to meet the artisans who will share their stories with you. You will also have the opportunity to taste the local produce of Auvergne. It costs £5 for adults and £2 for children under 16. The tour lasts 3 hours and is limited to fifteen people (a minimum of six adults).

Aurillac: what to buy?

One of the nine Centres Nationaux des Arts de la Rue (CNAR, or national centres for street performance) is located in Aurillac. It is called the Parapluie, the French word for umbrella, which is a speciality of the city. Things you can take home include books of stories and legends of Auvergne, traditional wooden toys, pottery, ceramics, and volcanic rocks.

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