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Aurillac: passionate and lively

Beneath the Cantal Mountains, Aurillac spills out like lava flow along the Jordanne River. This capital city of the Haute Auvergne is off the beaten track, but comes alive every summer for the International Street Theatre Festival!

The "Festival d'Aurillac"

The best time to visit Aurillac is the third weekend of August, when the streets come alive for the largest International Street Theatre festival, attracting more than 25,000 visitors! This exciting festival brings performers from around the world to this city in the Cantal. A perfect way to discover the heritage that Aurillac has to offer.

 

Aurillac Street Theatre Festival

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Aurillac Street Theatre Festival

History has left its mark

Take a stroll through the narrow streets and churches of Aurillac. To get the best view, climb up to the Castle of Saint-Étienne, which is where you’ll find the volcano museum.

Back in the city, discover the 9th century Benedictine abbey of Saint-Géraud; its walls can now be seen at the bend of Rue du Collège. This was once the centre of the town, over the years, Aurillac has expanded, reaching Place d’Aurinques and the banks of the Jordanne during the 12th and 13th centuries, before extending even further, right along the river, then opening out onto the chestnut grove, towards the Languedoc and Quercy. The streets of Aurillac retain the traces of these developments, with houses of all eras standing together.

 

What not to miss

Set back from the shopping streets there are hidden secret passages, such as the Impasse de la Barbantelle, where you’ll find the remnants of the old ramparts, and the Cour de Noailles, hidden away in a cranny of Rue Arsène-Vermenouze, with its ancient, half-timbered houses. Aurillac is also home to various curiosities, such as the Black Virgin, who sits imposingly inside the church of Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges, and the Huguenot trumpet, which was collected when the city was under siege in 1581 and which is now kept in a corner of the magnificent chapel of Aurinques.

 

Salers cheese
Salers cheese

Traditional Aurillac food

The inhabitants of Aurillac are fond of their food and wine too, and, in line with mountain town tradition, the dishes served here “tiennent au corps”, which means they “keep you going”. So local dishes comprise things like the famous truffade and equally famous pounti, as well as tripoux, charcuterie and stuffed cabbage. And the Salers ― a breed of cattle with a mahogany-coloured coat which lives in the summer pastures of Cantal ― provides tasty meat that you’ll find on the menus of nearly all the city’s restaurants. And to top it off, in Cantal, which is the only department in France with five protected cheese appellations, it’s hard to ignore the local cheeses, especially Salers and, of course, Cantal.

 

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Tourisme en Auvergne
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