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Souvigny
Souvigny (www.xtof.photo)
A panoramic view of Souvigny with the priori
Coat of arms of Souvigny
Coat of arms
Country France
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Department Allier
Arrondissement Moulins
Canton Souvigny
Intercommunality Moulins
Area
1
44.35 km2 (17.12 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)
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Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
03275 /03210
Elevation 224–357 m (735–1,171 ft)
(avg. 242 m or 794 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Souvigny is a commune in the Allier department in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in central France.

Today the main town of a canton of the Allier department, Souvigny has long been one of the major towns in the Bourbonnais (of which it was once the capital), and the royal House of Bourbon was based there. Ties with the nearby Cluny Abbey add to its rich history.

Tourism

Souvigny was nominated “great regional site of Auvergne” in 1993 on the basis of its architectural riches, and subsequently, in 2003, it was made "great Romanesque sanctuary of Auvergne".

Sights

The museums, gardens, annual exhibitions, and excursions to the priory attract a great many tourists every year. The conserved wooded areas add to interest for tourists.

Souvigny Priory houses the remains of two abbots of Cluny who died at Souvigny: Mayeul, the fourth abbot (who died in 994) and his successor Odilon (who died in 1049). Their sepulchres, which had fallen into oblivion after the ravishings of the French Revolution, were rediscovered by archaeologists in 2001 and 2002.

The town has two primary schools and a public nursery school. Public events include:

  • a botanical fair (in April)
  • an antiques fair (in May)
  • a medieval fair (beginning on the last Saturday of July)
  • autumn music days (last weekend of September)
  • regional sale of antiquarian books (in November).

Architecture

Arcature.eglise.Souvigny
Arches in the Abbey Church

The Benedictine Priory and priory church of St Peter and St Paul is outstanding in the Bourbonnais region. Beside a few abbots, the Dukes of Bourbon were buried here. In 2010, the burial chapel was restored to mark the 600th anniversary of the death of Duke Louis II of Bourbon who is buried there.

The region shows a convergence of styles. While Romanesque buildings in the proper sense are not found here, influences from Auvergne, Berry and Bourguignon are combined. The restoration around 1435 exemplifies a more straightforward Gothic style.

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