Auvergne former administrative region

This page was updated on: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at: 2:48 pm

Auvergne today

Auvergne was one of the 27 administrative regions of France.

It is today part of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, one of the 13 new regions created by the territorial reform that took effect on January 1, 2016.

It is situated right in the centre of France and is traversed by the Loire and Allier rivers.

It consists of four departments:

Allier (03 - Moulins), Cantal (15 - Aurillac), Haute-Loire (43 - Le Puy-en-Velay) and Puy de Dôme (63 - Clermond-Ferrant).

It was named after the Arverni, one of the most powerful tribes in Gaul.

The Auvergne corresponds to the historical province of Auvergne, plus parts of the ancient provinces of Bourbonnais, Velay, Gévaudan, Vivarais and Forez.

Southern Auvergne is the land of extinct volcanoes, ancient mountains and lakes.

The département of Allier, in the north, is flat.

The vast Limagne and Bourbonnais plains indeed stretch from Moulin to Montluçon and Vichy.

They narrow and end in the Gorges of the Allier farther south near Clermont-Ferrand where they enter the volcanic land.

Clermont-Ferrand is the capital.

The other major cities are Montluçon, Vichy, Moulins, Le Puy-en-Velay and Aurillac.

Auvergne has a continental climate with short and warm summers and long and harsh winters.

It is also one of the least populated regions in Europe.

Volcanoes of Auvergne

Auvergne, an untamed land

Auvergne is indeed a superb region where nature is abundant and green and the landscapes spectacular.

Auvergne, a land of dormant volcanoes

  • Chaîne des Puys and the Puy-de-Dôme, its highest volcano
  • Puy Mary, one of France’s leading natural heritage sites
  • Plomb du Cantal, Europe’s largest volcano, in the Monts du Cantal
  • Vulcania, an educational amusement park  developed in the Parc Naturel des Volcans d’Auvergne

Auvergne, a land of water known as the Water Tower of France

  • rivers Loire and Allier
  • Natural lakes nestled in the deep of the ancient craters
  • 109 natural mineral water springs
  • Impressive diversity of ponds small and large
  • Spectacular waterfalls

Auvergne, a wide range of geological curiosities and historical sites

  • Jonas and Monton Caves and the fairy chimneys
  • Gergovie Plateau, the site of the Battle of Gergovia where Julius Caesar defeated the Gallic leader Vercingetorix in 52 BC.
  • Medieval festivals in the ancient fortress of Murols and the town of Le Puy-en-Velay or street theater in Aurillac.

Arvernes, the people of Auvergne

This land has been inhabited since at least 10,000 BC as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds.

It was named after the Arverni, a powerful Gallic confederation who settled in the region around 3000BC.

Vercingetorix led the resistance against the Roman invaders but had to admit defeat and surrender in 52BC.

This was the end of the Gallic independence and the beginning of the Roman occupation that lasted until the fall of the Roman Empire in 476AD.

The feudal system immediately implemented across the whole of France by the Frankish King Clovis remained effective in Auvergne until 1213 when King Philippe-Auguste annexed the province to the Crown.


The region's geographical location (a mountainous area with no main overland communication), and therefore its inaccessibility, were most detrimental to its economic development.

All changed with the opening of major north-south and east-west lines of communication.

The A71 motorway or L’Arverne connects Clermont-Ferrand to Orléans in the Loire Valley.

It links to the A75 or La Méridienne that links to Béziers on the Mediterranean.

The A89 or La Transeuropéenne links Clermont to Lyon and to Libourne near Bordeaux.

Auvergne is still be predominantly agricultural, and the percentage of the population employed in the industrial sector is only slightly below the national average.

Dairy products (5 AOC cheeses), natural mineral waters (Vichy, St Yorre, Volvic ...), cattle breeding, tires (Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand), cutlery (Thiers), metallurgy (Issoire) and lace (Le Puy) are among the leading industries of Auvergne.

Their reputation has crossed borders and most export abroad.

Finally tourism is in constant development.

Auvergne boasts 11 communes ranked among the Plus Beaux Villages de France .

Auvergne gastronomy

Well-rooted traditions and gastronomy of quality are among the many attractions of the region.

These include many regional specialties such as:

Truffade and aligot, tripoux (tripes), potée Auvergnate (pot-au-feu), pompe aux pommes (apple tart), pachade (pancake), râpée (similar to hash browns), petit salé aux lentilles (salted pork and lentils), local ham and saucisson, bacon, roulé (roll of meat) or andouille (sausage)…

Auvergne is a region of lush pastures growing on the rich volcanic soil and dedicated to cattle breeding.

It therefore produces 5 renowned cheeses that have all been granted AOC and AOP labels:

Cantal, Salers, St-Nectaire, Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert, artisous, goat cheese or Laqueuille…

Holidaying in Auvergne

The country strongly attached to its local rural celebrations such as the transhumance, pig festival, chestnuts or traditional bread making fairs and ancient crafts.

Auvergne is an ideal setting for hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, cycling, vélorails, canoeing or paragliding during summer.

Its medium altitude resorts (such as Mont Dore) are open for most of the winter season.

French people should discover this splendid but little known region that is just on their doorstep.

Foreign tourists should know that beautiful and untamed Auvergne is ideal for relaxing and excellent value for money holidays.

They'll be amazed to discover that France is not only Paris and the crowded Côte d’Azur… it is also Auvergne.

Area: 26,013 km² (nearly 5% of Metropolitan France)
Population: 1,341.000 (01/01/2014)

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Latest content

Ascension of Le Puy Mary

Le Puy Mary, a remnant of Europe’s largest stratovolcano

Le Puy Mary, the remnant of the largest stratovolcano of Europe, is one of the Monts du Cantal, a series of extinct volcanoes part of the Parc Regional des Volcans d'Auvergne
The lumberjack house in Châtel

Châtel resort – Portes du Soleil ski area

Châtel is nestled in the deep of Val d'Abondance, at the border with Switzerland, and is one of the 12 ski resorts of Portes du Soleil
Source Marie Christine in Le Breuil sur Crouze

Le Breuil sur Crouze and La Madone des Treize Vents

Le Breuil sur Crouze, a market town located near Brassac coal mines, developed in the Roman era at the confluence of two rivers and junction of antic roads
Vallée des Saints - hoodoos

Vallée des Saints in Boudes, a natural site known as Colorado Auvergnat

Vallée des Saints in Boudes, a natural geological site of red earth and unusual rock formations, known as Colorado Auvergnat

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Please note: We will not sell or distribute your email address to any third party.