July 5, 2022
Auvergne (in Occitan: Auvèrnha, or Euvarnhà) is a historical and cultural region of France located in the heart of the Massif Central. From 1941 to 1946 and from 1956 to 2015, the Auvergne region was also a French administrative region made up of the four departments of Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire and Puy-de-Dôme. Its largest city, Clermont-Ferrand, was its capital. This region was abolished on January 1, 2016 by the law on Act III of decentralization. The departments that made it up are now part of the new Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. With more than 2,600 years of history, Auvergne is one of the oldest regions in France and one of the best identified. However, its territory is perceived in a variable way and the geographer Pierre Bonnaud has four possible definitions for the contours of the region. Thus, in addition to the former administrative region, there are two historic Auvergnes. The first existed until the 11th century and corresponds to the city of Arvernes or Arvernie which continued with the primitive diocese of Clermont. The constitution of the duchy of Bourbon confiscated the north of its territory and left a smaller province in the 18th century. Finally, in the Parisian imagination, Auvergne often appears as a larger region. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a wave of immigration from Auvergne, Aveyron, Lozère and the Limousin mountains overwhelmed the capital. She imposed her folklore there and was identified as that of the “Auvergnats of Paris” or “bougnats”. It is not uncommon for the entire southern part of the Massif Central to be assimilated to Auvergne in this way. A nod to history, this territorial area is reminiscent of that of the vassal peoples of the Arvernes in Antiquity. Even if this region no longer has any administrative concretization, its history and its geography give it a deep coherence. Its metropolis, Clermont-Ferrand, completely polarizes it and confirms this unity.