Aurillac, home to nearly 30,000 inhabitants, is the prefecture of the Cantal department. It is built at an altitude of 630 metres on the banks of the Jordanne, a tributary of the nearby Cère. Aurillac is not really known until 856, the year Count Géraud was born. Count Géraud, patron saint of the town, was born in the castle of Aurillac, of which his father was lord. Around 900, Géraud founded a Benedictine abbey which would later bear his name. The town was initially built around an initial nucleus located in the immediate vicinity of the abbey. It was in the 13th century that municipal customs were organised, despite the opposition of the abbots of the time. The influence of the abbots ended with the victory of the consuls and the taking of the castle of Saint-Etienne in 1255. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Aurillac supported several sieges against the English, and in the 16th century, the town continued to suffer civil and religious wars. In 1569, it was betrayed to the Protestants and horribly ransacked. Before the Revolution, Aurillac was home to a presidial and bore the title of capital of the Haute-Auvergne. In 1790, when the departments were created, after a period of alternation with Saint-Flour, Aurillac became the capital of Cantal for good. The arrival of the railway in 1866 accelerated the development of the town. More than a thousand years old, Aurillac has a rich historical heritage, of which the Saint-Etienne castle, on the heights of the town, is one of the main assets. Markets take place on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. Finally, a renowned festival, the International Street Theatre Festival, brings together several thousand visitors every year in the third week of August.

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