Averoigne is a fictional counterpart of a historical province in France, detailed in a series of short stories by the American writer Clark Ashton Smith. Smith may have based Averoigne on the actual province of Auvergne,[1] but its name was probably influenced by the French department of Aveyron, immediately south of Auvergne, due to the similarity in pronunciation. Sixteen of Smith's stories take place in Averoigne.[2] In Smith's fiction, the Southern French province is considered "the most witch-ridden in the entire country."[3] The most well-known citizen is Gaspard du Nord of Vyones, a wizard who translated The Book of Eibon into Norman French.[3][1]

Map drawn by Tim Kirk.

Fictional historyEdit

In ancient times, Smith depicts Averoigne as having been settled by the fictional Gallic tribe called the Averones. They established a number of settlements in the region, many of which were fortified when the Roman Empire absorbed the region. When Christianity spread through the Empire, many churches and monasteries were established among the ruins of Druidic temples. Greatest among these was a great cathedral constructed in Vyones, completed in 1138.

Fictional geographyEdit

Averoigne is depicted by Smith as being located in the southern half of France. The northern half of the territory is dominated by the walled city of Vyones, site of an impressive cathedral. In the southern half is located the town of Ximes; the main road of Averoigne runs between Ximes and Vyones, straight through the thick, dark forest that blankets the province. A river called Isoile flows from the mountains in the northern part of the province to feed into a swamp in the south.

Other towns and villages depicted by Smith as being located in Averoigne include: Moulins, Les Hiboux, La Frenâie, Touraine, Sainte Zenobie, and Périgon. In the forest can be found haunted ruins, such as the Château of Fausseflammes and the stronghold of Ylourgne. (It was from that abandoned abode of evil robber barons, that the horrific events of The Colossus of Ylourgne had their start.)


In 1993, Stefan Dziemianowicz wrote in Dark Eidolon: The Journal of Smith Studies that "The Colossus of Ylourgne, with its series of increasingly bizarre events culminating in the rampage of the most awesome monster to appear in Smith's fiction, comes closest of any of the Averoigne tales to evoking the sense of wonder in Smith's otherworldly fantasies... Smith appears to be saying that even the sorcerors of Averoigne are unable to transcend their flawed humanity."[4]


Smith based the following stories in the Averoigne setting:

All these stories have recently been collected in the ebook The Averoigne Archives: The Complete Averoigne Tales of Clark Ashton Smith (Pickman's Press, 2019).


A number of other Averoigne stories exist in outline form, incomplete at the time of Smith's death. These include:

Other writersEdit

Other writers have set stories in Averoigne, including:

In Other MediaEdit

Averoigne appears in several other works, including:

  • In the novel A Case of Conscience, James Blish includes a character named "Lucien le Comte des Bois d'Averoigne." This name means, "Lucien, the Count of the Woods of Averoigne."
  • In the manga The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 1, the protagonist Noé Archiviste is said to come from Averoigne.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Rahman, Glenn. "The History of Averoigne?". Pickman's Press. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  2. ^ Bleiler, Richard (2013). "Visionary Star-Treader: The Speculative Writings of Clark Ashton Smith". In Hoppenstand, Gary (ed.). Critical Insights: Pulp Fiction of the '20s and '30s. Salem Press. pp. 68–71. ISBN 9781429838436. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Harms, Daniel (1998). Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror (2nd ed.). Chaosium Publications. p. 15. ISBN 1568821190. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Bloom, Harold (1995). Modern Fantasy Writers. Chelsea House Publications. p. 163. ISBN 0791022234. Retrieved August 20, 2020.

External linksEdit