Sub-prefecture of Puy-de-Dôme Stage town for the 4th time
Population: 15,300 (16,200 in the agglomeration).
Specialities: suprême d'Issoire (macaroon). Truffade, Auvergne potée. Wine from Boudes.
Personalities: Jean Prouvé (architect). Jean-Claude Brialy (actor). Gérard Lenorman (singer). Louis Kosec (cyclist).
Sport: US Issoire (multi-sports club, rugby, basketball, volleyball - women's hope centre). Events : Grand Prix d'Issoire (cycling). French summer cross-country skiing championship, Ailes et Volcans, Trans'Yssoirienne.
Culture: Issoire International Festival of World Dance and Music (July). Vendred'Issoire (every Friday in summer).
Economy: metallurgy (Constellium, Aubert & Duval), aeronautics (Issoire Aviation), automotive (Valéo), food processing (Rochias, Limagrain). Data analysis (Braincube). Large-scale distribution.
Labels: Most Beautiful Detours in France, Via75, WHO Healthy City, Flower City (***).
Websites and social networks:
https://www.issoire.fr/ / https://www.capissoire.fr/ / https://www.issoire-tourisme.com/ / https://www.puy-de-dome.fr / https://www.auvergnerhonealpes.fr
ISSOIRE AND CYCLING
The Tour de France has visited Issoire three times, but only one finish took place here, in 1983, when Pierre Le Bigaut raised his arms. The Breton rider led a long breakaway to win his only stage in four participations and to do as well as his godfather, Jean Gainche, who had won a stage in 1958. Pierre Le Bigaut's father, Emile, was also a professional cyclist. In 1992, Pierre Le Bigaut founded an association organising an annual Gran Fondo race to fight against cystic fibrosis. Since then, Issoire has been used as a starting point for stages to Saint-Étienne (after Le Bigaut's victory, where Michel Laurent won), to Le Puy-en-Velay (2005, victory by Giuseppe Guerini) and to Saint-Flour (2011, victory by Luis Leon Sanchez). Issoire also hosted a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2021, won by Brent van Moer. The town has also held the Grand Prix d'Issoire every year since 1927, with winners like André Darrigade, Rudi Altig, Tom Simpson, and more recently Romain Bardet, who won twice in 2009 and 2011. Among the riders born in Issoire, Marcel Mazeyrat should be mentioned, as he took part in four Tours de France between 1929 and 1932. Louis Kosec, who was born in Yugoslavia, lived in Issoire and was a professional for three seasons with Peugeot in the mid-1950s. Very talented, his career was cut short by a crash in the 1959 Tour of Lombardy.
Abbey of Saint Austromoine
Construction: 12th century.
History: a former Benedictine abbey church, it was built from various arkoses and limestones. Ransacked by the Huguenot Captain Merle during the Wars of Religion, it was restored several times in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Characteristics: the chevet is the most valued part of the building and is typical of the mid-12th century with its rectangular axial chapel. Inside, the striking feature is the colouring, which dates from 1859. The capitals of the roundabout are historiated and focus on the Passion of Christ. They tell the story of the Last Supper, the visit of the women to the tomb, and the apparitions of Christ to Mary Magdalene.
Special features: Under the choir is a magnificent crypt, which has escaped being "daubed". There is a beautiful 13th century shrine of Limoges enamel. It was bought by Abbot Daguillon in 1853 to house the relics of Saint Austromoine. Its sides depict the visit of the Holy Women to the Tomb and the appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene. Stolen in 1963, the shrine was recovered in Hawaii in 1990 after a worldwide journey. It has been back in the crypt since 1992.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1840.
Construction: 15th century
History: it was commissioned in the 15th century by Austremoine Bohier and his brother Antoine, both merchants and consuls of Issoire. The Tower had several functions: watchtower, communal house, while its bell organised the daily life of the people of Issoire.
Characteristics: its current shape dates from its restoration in 1830. Its recent renovation and that of the neighbouring building, the former Sévigné boarding school, make it a surprising place. Its resolutely contemporary architecture encourages discovery and astonishment.
Special features: a storyboard telling the adventures of Austremoine Tissandier, son of a watchmaker from Issoire, told in three episodes, invites you to go back in time to the heart of the Renaissance, the time of the great discoveries...
The Green Lane
This circuit links the town centre to the leisure sector of Le Mas for pedestrians and cyclists, taking advantage of the existing paths along the Couze and thus avoiding the passage through the Listes industrial zone. Starting from the René-Cassin square, near the Saint-Austremoine abbey church, you can join the "green corridor" to access Lake Mas on the outskirts of the town in just fifteen minutes. A place for walking and relaxation, Lake Mas is very popular with fishermen. Its water supply from the Allier river and its variable depth provide a very welcoming environment for many species of calm water fish.
Georges Duby Romanesque Art Centre
Located a stone's throw from the town centre, in the shadow of the Romanesque abbey church of Saint-Austremoine, this centre contains the remains of the old Benedictine abbey which, in the Middle Ages, adjoined the church. Open during the summer from May to October, its mission is to promote the knowledge and development of the Romanesque heritage, with its reception, documentation, exhibition and activity areas aimed at the widest possible audience.
Jean Prouvé Art Centre
Formerly a convent for Benedictine nuns and then a commercial court, the Jean-Prouvé Art Centre is now dedicated to contemporary art. It bears the name of the great architect (1901-1984), an innovator in industrial construction and the use of aluminium who worked in Issoire. An exhibition was dedicated to him here in 2015.
Art in the city
Each year, throughout the summer, an original tour of the town centre is proposed around a theme. visitors are led along the streets, boulevards and squares of Issyria to discover an artist. Ten works by artist Jordi will be on display from 3 June to 1 October 2023. The artist's research and all the works exhibited can be summed up in a sign in 2 and 3 D, which has become a language and a signature over time. It is a geometric form stylized to the extreme - a pictogram always composed of the same two straight lines and the same two curved lines running parallel to each other - which he wanted to draw in this way as allowing for multiple interpretations. His aim was to create an original, uncluttered form with a universal character. His concept with this recurring sign is to create, through different artistic expressions, works that allow him to deal with themes and symbolism that are close to his heart: Nature, the environmental question and anthropocene art. For the sculptures of Art dans la Ville, this pictogram is declined in 10 works in steel or thermo-lacquered aluminium, figurative or abstract, sometimes very brightly coloured and sometimes more "natural".
Supreme of Issoire
Suprême d'Issoire is a meringue-macaroon biscuit, containing a praline cream, developed in 1950 and exclusively produced by the Couronne d'Arthur pastry shop in Issoire. The brand was registered by its creator, Pierre-Henry Stéphane Mazzerole, who passed it on to his successor, Julien Dussère, in 1973. The latter recently entrusted it to Christophe Gignac, the last custodian of this recipe, which is particularly appreciated by the town's gourmets.