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Thiers, Puy-de-Dôme

Thiers (pronounced [tjɛːʁ]; Auvergnat: Tièrn) is a commune in the Puy-de-Dôme department in Auvergne in central France. Thiers is a French municipality situated in the department of Puy-de-Dôme in region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.


City of Thiers
City of Thiers
Flag of Thiers
Location of Thiers
Thiers is located in France
Thiers is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Coordinates: 45°51′26″N 3°32′54″E / 45.8572°N 3.5483°E / 45.8572; 3.5483Coordinates: 45°51′26″N 3°32′54″E / 45.8572°N 3.5483°E / 45.8572; 3.5483
IntercommunalityThiers communauté
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Claude Nowotny
44.49 km2 (17.18 sq mi)
 • Density270/km2 (690/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
63430 /63300
Elevation283–793 m (928–2,602 ft)
(avg. 450 m or 1,480 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

It is one of the four sub-prefectures of the department with Ambert, Issoire and Riom. The district of Thiers consists of forty-three municipalities distributed among six cantons. The inhabitants are known as Thiernois or Bitords.

Thiers is the world capital of knife manufacturing, with about one hundred companies in this business and a museum of the cutlery industry; seventy percent of knives produced in France for the pocket, the kitchen or the table are made by companies in Thiers. The know-how of the Thiernois cutlers draws its origins from a continuous tradition over more than seven centuries.

The city is "stretched" across more than 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) on a rocky spur overhanging the nearby mountains and the nearby villages, and is divided into two different parts: the lower city (currently home to many hypermarkets) and the upper city (the medieval city). Its city center, picturesque appearance, and its cutlery industry have made it a popular city with tourists, and it is the sixth most popular tourist destination in Auvergne.[citation needed]


Town planningEdit

The Hôtel du Pirou (15th century).

Urban morphology and neighborhoodsEdit

The geography of Thiers is marked by its staggering along the steep hills overlooking the Durolle valley. The high gradient provides the water-driven force needed for grinding mills. The city is divided into many neighborhoods.

The upper townEdit

The upper town consists of several neighborhoods such as the medieval center, Boulay, the Pontel the Jaiffours. Much of the city's history took place in the hills of the city given the long history of human settlement. In fact, the lower city developed from 50–60 years.

The lower townEdit

The lower city began its development from the 50's. Commonly called the city of hypermarkets, due to the large number of supermarkets and hypermarkets, the lower city is mainly composed of businesses and services.

The MoutierEdit

The city-high view of the city-low. The foreground is the famous bridge of the ship (bridge of the Middle Ages).

Le Moutier is a privileged area for the city of Thiers. It is located between the lower city and the many centre-ville.De passages in the history of the cutlery of Thiers passed. The mouth of Hell and the plants of the valleys are depicted on the church of Saint-Symphorien, near the abbey and Logis du Moutier. Many knife manufacturing workshops are always present.


A Thiers-many places known and propagates parties, Bellevue, belins, Breuil, the end of the world, Chassignol, Château-Gaillard, Spa, Cizolles, Chochat, Courty, Dégoulat, Felet, Gardelle, the garniers, the Great Change, Drop, Granetias the Horts, Jambost, Lamirand, Lombardo, Matussière, Membrun, Molles, Nadal, Nohat, Panthèze, Pigerolles, Pinion, Pisseboeuf, Ravailloux the ribbes the Rigaudie, the Roche Noire, the Salomon, sauvage- Billetoux, Soulon, Les Tavards, Trois Villes, Varenne, Vidalie the round oak, etc.


Thiers is subject to various natural hazards. Thiers had two landslides in 1984 on the north of the city, along the A89 and a landslide in the Valley of the Mills. Earthquakes can occur and Thiers is classified in zone 3 seismic: moderate seismicity.

Thiers has sometimes been flooded, in fact, the city is crossed by the Dore, the Durolle and numerous streams. Exceptional meteorological phenomena occur every few decades over the city. Winds of 150 kilometres per hour (93 miles per hour) were recorded in the city centre in 1999.

In addition to natural hazards, the city is exposed to risks related to human activities. The city is subject to the risk of rupture of the Membrun dam (16 metres or 52 feet high) in the Durolle a kilometer from the city's first buildings. The city of Thiers is concerned about the presence of several "facilities classified for the protection of the environment" (CIEP) and is located in low risk areas. Thiers, with the passage of the A89, national route 106 (D906) and National Route 89 (D2089) is subject to the risk of transport of hazardous materials.

In 1999 the whole mountain overlooking the city was the target of arsonists who set fire to the forest not far from the Margerides cliff.

The valley of the factories surrounded by vegetation.


Public parks and gardensEdit

  • The Verdun Square (Rue Grammont, center). A monument to the war of 1914–1918 is installed.
  • Les Jardins de Saint-Jean (collective gardens of St. Jean area). They are located under the bed of the old Thiers hospital until the Durolle. This park is attached and has Durolle street north to the St. Jean area to the south.
  • The Orangerie Park is located in the Moutier district. The host park of a mansion converted into a retirement home, and open to the public, the park has a view of the former Thiers center in the mountains as well as the church of Saint-Symphorien and the abbey of Moutier just in front of the main entrance.
  • Le Breuil park is an old campsite, now a public park. Local locker rooms / showers / camping toilets are still visible at the bottom of the park. The Jo-cognet function room (and bowling) is installed in the park.
  • Castles located in the town of Thiers offer parks with a certain cache. Thus, the Chassaigne Castle offers visitors a beautiful English garden, for example.
  • Field of the fair is a park located between the park of the Orangerie and the park Breuil. It serves, in particular, as the site of a fair on the penultimate weekend in September.
  • The station square is a small green area opposite the Gare de Thiers.
  • The square of Saint-Exupery offers small green spaces and more "space". It is the old 'Forail' Thiers, that is, the cattle market. A street near the place is called "Rue du Forail". The game 'Intercity' 1973 edition was held in the square before the park was built.

The zone of influenceEdit

Several natural areas surrounding the urban area:

  • The plain of the Limagne;
  • The Dore valley, largely classified and protected by the title of the Natura 2000 network;
  • Forez to the east of the city, the highest reliefs of the Thiers mountains;
  • The Noirs Bois (Livradois);
  • The volcanoes, emblematic of the entire park of the Auvergne volcanoes: it is one of the largest volcanic complexes in Europe about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the city, beyond the great plain of Limagne.

Urban renewalEdit

Since 2002, Thiers has launched a vast urban renewal operation, resulting in the rehabilitation of many buildings and roads, including spaces such as the Antonin Chastel place, the San Juan district and the Transvaal streets. The purpose of these actions is to generally revitalize the high city in the old center and the surrounding neighborhoods.



In 2014, the municipality counted 11,588 inhabitants. The growth of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses made in the municipality since 1793. From the 21st century, the censuses of the municipalities of more than 10,000 inhabitants take place every year following a sample survey, unlike the other municipalities which have an actual census every five years.

A first peak of the population was reached in 1911 with 19,837 inhabitants. It began a downward trend until the conclusion of the Second World War, after which it climbed again until reaching its second peak of 16,623 in 1968. Since the 1970s, until 2012, the municipal population has sharply decreased, to increase from 2013.


View of the city center of Thiers 60 years ago.


Thiers is located on the eastern end of the route of the Roman road linking Lezoux to the bottom of the city. This road is now partly occupied by the old national road No. 89, which has become Departmental Road No. 2089 and a secondary road 62, forming a straight line over several kilometres.

Middle AgesEdit

The town fixed its settlement and began its development in the 10th century, when Malfred, granddaughter of the comte d'Auvergne ordered the construction of the castle, then the church which later became Église Saint-Genès de Thiers.

In 1371, the barony of Thiers passed to the lords and then Dukes of Bourbon.

French RevolutionEdit

The repression of the counterrevolutionary activities began very early in Thiers, from the end of June 1791 (after the flight of Louis XVI and arrest in Varennes). It intensified in February 1793 with domiciliary visits against the refractory clergy and in families of French emigration (1789–1815). This precocity in repressive measures resulted in a paradoxically late creation of the Revolutionary Supervisory Committee on 22 May 1793, more than a month after the arrival of the law in the district. However, it was not very active: the prison of arrest opened only in September, by order of the representatives on mission. The commissioner of these representatives, Dulac, ordered 49 arrests in Thiers, mainly in the insulated and noble circles involved in the revolts of Vollore-Ville and Servant (Puy-de-Dôme). It was not active until October 1793.

20th centuryEdit

Thiers was one of the few towns, the only one of the Puy-de-Dôme, to be freed by arms on August 25, 1944. The fighting will oppose on the one hand the 400 men of SS-Panzergrenadier-Ausbildungs-Battalion 18. SS Panzergrenadiers Training Battalion 18 "Horst Wessel" was sent to France on 22 June 1944 and reached Vichy on 29 June. The troop was divided between Thiers, Randan, Saint-Yorre, Le Mayet-de-Montagne and the Francs-tireurs and partisans of the 103rd FFI-FTPF battalion led by Major André Rossignol (aka "Pigeon") of the FTP and the United Resistance Movement, joined by the 104th Battalion of Major Roger Beligat (alias "Alain Derval"). The men of the military leader FFI Serge Renaudin d'Yvoir (alias "Victory") were called into question. The mayor appointed by the Vichy regime was, together with sub-prefect Villaret, the intermediary between the FFI And the German troops.


Thiers is famous for its knives, blades and cutlery industry. The town has a museum in the old quarter, portraying the history of knife-making. Further along the valley, the industrial heritage museum, l'Usine du May, opened in 2009. Modern factories include Forges Gorce who make blades for agricultural machinery from hedge trimmers to combine harvesters, part of McConnel Alamo group.[1]

Tourism and accommodationEdit

Thiers has 7 hotels, 6 guest rooms, 3 gites, 2 campsites185 and a camp-site to accommodate the many tourists who come to visit the streets of the city. To guide tourists, a tourist office is located at the foot of the castle of Pirou (half-timbered castle) in the city center of Thiers.

In addition to the various museums and exhibition halls in the city, the valley of the spinning wheels allows the visitors to leave in the footsteps of the handlers, these craftsmen lying on a board above their millstone and giving the edge to the blade. Nowadays, the valley offers the image of a wild nature marked by the patience and tenacity of generations of Thai cutlers. A last spinning wheel remained in operation until 1976 "Chez Lyonnet" and today, the spinning wheel is transformed into a small museum where visitors can see the wheel at dawn, hear slamming the straps on the pulleys and go up to the chamber cutler.

  • The workshop of manufacture of Thiers, specific knife of the protected city form the tourists come to make their own knife "Le Thiers". The manufacturing time of a knife is 1h30 and contrary to what one might think, here the manufacture is not messy.
  • The valley of the factories is a high place of the artisanal and industrial production of the city, from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. The Valley of the Factories is today an emblematic site that leaves no one indifferent. During the night, the ruins of old cutlery are illuminated in red to recall the fire of the knobs.
The lower city seen from the upper town

Museums and Exhibition HallsEdit

  • A knife in the museum of cutlery.
  • In addition to these permanent collections, the Cutlery Museum offers temporary exhibitions and demonstrations of the work of cutlers on various sites190 (about 40,000 entries in 2012).
  • In the "Château du Pirou", on the first floor of the building that houses the tourist office, is the Donation Calamy, a collection of objects from Antiquity (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece ...), Tapestries and antique furniture.
  • Le Creux de l'enfer, center of contemporary art with national and international programming.
  • The "May Factory" presents the history and prospects of the industry in Thiers. It also hosts exhibitions by artists (Sergio Toppi summer 2011, Derib summer 2012).
  • The media library and the hall of the town hall also host temporary exhibitions.
  • The "Château de la Chassaigne" (private property) presents each summer with the association La pomme d'or an exhibition on a different theme (Cluny and the Middle Ages in 2010 or The soul of Thiers in summer 2011).
  • The "Orangerie" (Center of initiation and environmental awareness) in the park of Moûtier proposes an educational walk in a reconstituted tropical biotope.
  • In the vicinity of Thiers, one can also visit the Departmental Museum of Ceramics in Lezoux and the Moulin Richard de Bas in Ambert devoted to stationery.
  • In "Cervières", during the summer, the Maison des Grenadières is open to the public.
  • The regional nature park Livradois-Forez proposes with the circuit of the Route des métiers the discovery of artisanal activities very varied.
  • The "city of cutlers" presents the Thiernoise cutlery production of the 21st century. The museum is divided into three parts: the first is devoted to a general presentation of the cutlery, the second is responsible for presenting the cutlery Thiernoise and the third, cutlery thiernois are presented through showcases installed in a central room.
The Monaco cinema.


  • Espace is a cultural complex of three rooms suitable for all types of shows as well as for public meetings.
  • Le Métro is a concert hall dedicated to contemporary music.
  • The Moulin bleu is a cabaret offering a unique magazine in the region.
  • The Monaco cinema (three cinemas) offers a varied program and is awarded the "Art et Essai" label. The local cinema club presents a film each month.
  • Multi-purpose room Jo-cognet which initially serves as a bowling alley.
  • Salle de la Sapine at the Fau.
  • Salle de la Roussette in Courty.
  • The club house of Iloa.
  • Room Ursulines above the media library.
  • Hall of Garniers.
  • Chapel of the Belins. Thiers benefits from its proximity to larger urban centers and its inhabitants can easily enjoy the cultural programming of these: Clermont-Ferrand and Vichy are about half an hour's drive away, Roanne and Saint-Étienne one hour away.

Cultural events and festivitiesEdit

  • The Fair in the Meadow is held at the Moûtier, in the lower part of the city, during the second weekend of September (initially on September 14 only). True "national holiday" of Thiers according to the expression of Jean Anglade, it is an appointment almost obligatory for the inhabitants of all the Thiernois country. Its existence dates back eight hundred years, no doubt more. There are all kinds of stands, from souvenirs to clothes, rides to draft horses. The custom is to eat of the tripe at dawn.
  • Every year since 1997, the first weekend of July, La Pamparina, a festival of music takes place in the streets of the city around a theme that changes each year (strings, voices, percussions, dances, etc.). This international festival attracted more than 45,000 people to the streets of Thiers in 2016 and 2017.
  • Each spring, since 1991, takes place Coutellia: Festival of the knife of art. More than 100 exhibitors from all over the world participate. Demonstrations are made and the public can "get the job done". It is also the occasion of a competition of creations, always in a spirit confraternel.
  • The 13-kilometre (8.1-mile) Thiernois took place at the beginning of June for more than 18 years. The steep declivity of the city makes this a delicate race.
  • The Roanne-Thiers march launches, on the first Saturday of December at midnight, its few hundred participants on the road linking the two cities. Length of 56 kilometres (35 miles), it alternately leaves Thiers (the even years) or Roanne (the odd years).
  • Since 2012, the town of Thiers organizes with the association of traders of Thiers a Christmas market. Exhibitors, artisans, musical animations, various workshops, parades of children, stories readings, exhibitions, horse-drawn carriage rides are present every year200. The market generally takes place during the second weekend of December and takes place in the city center. It is divided into three parties: the first is located in A.Chastel Square, the second in the former covered market and the third in the premises of the former Défi-mode.

Gourmet specialtiesEdit

  • The cochonnailles are often honored at Thiers as in the rest of the Massif Central. They are the basis of a popular gastronomy, inexpensive and very "nourishing". The tripe "à la mode de Thiers" are unavoidable at the time of the fair in the Meadow. The rapoutet is prepared from pieces of cooked ham shank, usually accompanied by cabbages and potatoes. The sausage of Arconsat cabbage made from chest of pork and cabbage is the most recognized specialty of the mountain Thiernoise and has his brotherhood.
  • At the time of the cheese, one can hesitate between the gaperon produced in the plain (sector between Thiers, Lezoux and Ris) and the honeysuckle which comes rather from the mountain. If we prefer to stick to the better known cheeses, Thiers is located in the PDO areas of the Fourme d'Ambert and the Auvergne blue.
  • The porridge pie is a dessert of the most typical of the country. As in many mountain areas blueberry is used for tarts or jam. Blue berries are celebrated in mid-August at the Col du Béal (communes of Saint-Pierre-la-Bourlhonne and Chalmazel).
  • The rags are donuts (close to the bugnes lyonnaises) which are eaten, according to Jean Anglade on three occasions: "At the time of the Carnival, for the fair in the Meadow and in any other circumstance. "

Leisure activities and sportsEdit

The city arranges numerous sports and contains several stadiums:[2]

  • The Antonin Chastel stadium, in the city-bass
  • The stadium of Gravels in the high city
  • The stadium of Iloa on the Leisure centre of Iloa

The Leisure centre of Iloa brings numerous sports and leisure activities to the municipality and is the biggest leisure centre of Auvergne with more than 70 hectares of surface (0,7 km ²).[3] The centre opened in the mid 1980s, although construction on several buildings stopped in 1989. The leisure centre is situated between the Dore river on the West, the RD44 in the North and the railroad line of Clermont-Thiers-Boën in the South. The whole site is protected by the European network Natura 2000 and by the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park.[4]

Twin townsEdit

Thiers is twinned with:[5]

Media linksEdit

The town was featured in François Truffaut's 1976 film Small Change. It is the birthplace of journalist Claire Chazal and actor Zinedine Soualem.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Shropshire businessman expanding French operations, Shropshire Star, 2010-11-02
  2. ^ France, Centre. "Iloa profite de sa proximité avec Thiers". Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  3. ^ "Camping d'Iloa". (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  4. ^ "La base de loisirs d'Iloa". (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  5. ^ a b c "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-12-26.

External linksEdit

  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Thiers" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 849–850.