The former capital of Haute-Auvergne, Aurillac's origins date back to Gallo-Roman times and the town nestles at the foot of the Mounts of Cantal, on the banks of the Jordanne. This small Cantal river brings a very special charm to the town, especially in the Pont Rouge area, where you can enjoy a lovely view of the picturesque old houses by the water.
The thousand-year-old town of Aurillac boasts a rich architectural heritage. There is a historical circuit which you can follow to see the old town's attractions: the Abbey Church of St. Gerald, the remains of an old Benedictine abbey, the Romanesque façade of the Abbey Hospital of St. Gerald with its arcades and small columns, the Renaissance-style Consuls' Mansion, featuring mullioned windows and sculptures, Aurinques Chapel, built during the reign of Henry IV in the 16th century, or the famous Place du Square, an ideal place to take a stroll and unwind, can all be admired along the way.
Near the agreeable Carmes Garden, you can visit the Museum of Art and Archaeology. Based in the old 17th-century Visitandines Convent, as well as its archaeology and fine art collections, it contains a reconstruction of a traditional Cantal interior, a contemporary photographic archive, and a space devoted to the local umbrella industry.
Next, head towards the heights of the town to discover the medieval Saint-Étienne Castle and its Volcano Museum, a fascinating site about the volcanic history of Cantal and the mysteries of Planet Earth, featuring a permanent collection of rocks, minerals and taxidermy. After the visit, don't hesitate to pay a visit to the pretty park downhill from the castle, where you will have a lovely view of the town!
When it comes to events, if you like street arts, don't miss the international street theatre festival, which livens up the town for 4 days in late August.
If you are looking for a souvenir to take home, don't miss the chance to acquire an umbrella, Aurillac's most famous product, which has conquered the luxury goods industry and is exported all over the world!
The beginning of the Ridge Route (Route des Crêtes) begins at the exit from the town. This is a very beautiful itinerary which you can travel along by car, motorbike or bicycle, to enjoy stunning views over the Mounts of Cantal…