The province of Auvergne is bounded on the north by Bourbonnais, on the east by Lyonnais, on the south by the Cévennes in Languedoc and Gascony, and on the west by Limousin and Marche, approximately forty leagues from north to south and thirty leagues east to west. The province takes its name from the Averni , a fierce tribe of Gauls who resisted Roman conquest, led by their legendary chieftain, Vercingetorix. After the rebellion was put down by Julius Caesar, the region became a prosperous Roman province, Christianized in the third century by Saint Austremoine, the first bishop of Clermont. Subsequently conquered by the Visigoths and the Franks and came to be ruled by its count until joined to the royal domaine of France by King Philippe II Augustus in the thirteenth century. Its capital of Clermont was a rallying point for the First Crusade in the eleventh century.
Basse-Auvergne, largely synonymous with the Limagne, is a rich agricultural region, producing wheat, wine-grapes and other fruit, hemp, and cheese; walnut trees are so abundant they are the primary source of firewood. The frigid, rugged volcanic mountains of Haute-Auvergne are home to herds of cattle; the villages of the mountains are isolated for much of the year due to snow and remain backward and insular. Mineral springs are found throughout the province and proved popular sites for Roman baths.
Many of the common people, particularly in Haute-Auvergne, speak Auvergnat, a dialect of Provençal; in some of the more remote villages and towns, French is rarely heard.
Cities, Towns, and Villages
- Clermont and Montferrand
- Saint Flour
Basse-Auvergne (Lower Auvergne) -
Haute-Auvergne (Upper Auvergne) -
- Haut-Allier and the Gorges de l’Allier
- Chaîne des Puys and Puy de Dôme
- Monts Dore and the Massif du Sancy
- Monts du Cantal
- Plateau de l’Artense
- Plateau du Cézallier