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Coordinates: 46°20′N 3°10′E / 46.333°N 3.167°E / 46.333; 3.167

Coat of Arms of Allier
Location of Allier in France
Department number: 03
Region: Auvergne
Prefecture: Moulins
Subprefectures: Montluçon
Arrondissements: 3
Cantons: 35
Communes: 320
President of the General Council: Jean-Paul Dufregne
Population Ranked 63rd
 -1999 344,721
Population density: 47/km2
Land area¹: 7340 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

Allier (Occitan: Alèir) is a department in central France named after the Allier River.



Chateau de Billy

Allier is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Auvergne and Bourbonnais.

In 1940, the government of Marshal Philippe Pétain chose the town of Vichy as its capital.


The department belongs to the region Auvergne and is surrounded by the following French departments: Cher, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, and Creuse.

The following rivers run through Allier:


Allier is the most productive agricultural area of the Auvergne. Vichy has long been known for its water, which is exported worldwide.


Montluçon, Vichy, and Moulins are the principal cities. The rest of the department consists of smaller towns, mostly along the rivers. In general, the department is sparsely populated. The population increased until the end of the 19th century because of the growth of industry in Montluçon and Moulins and development of the thermal resources at Vichy. At that time the department had over 420,000 inhabitants. After the losses of World War I, the population stagnated, with a small increase in the 1960s. Since then, it has decreased slightly from 386,533 in 1968 to 344,721 in 1999.

Gastronomy and viticulture

The pâté aux pommes de terre is one of the specialities of the Allier, as well as of the neighboring Limousin region. The Allier River is one of the rare places in Southern Europe where the freshwater grayling (Thymallus thymallus), known in French as ombre des rivières, occurs in a natural habitat.[1] This fish is much valued in French gastronomy for its fine and delicate texture and is best eaten along with a light wine.[2]

Saint-Pourçain AOC wine is produced in Allier and the oak from the Tronçais forest is one of the most favoured in the construction of wine barrels.[3]


The President of the General Council is the Communist Jean-Paul Dufregne. Allier is a stronghold of rural communism; indeed the PCF holds most of its seats in rural or suburban areas, while the right-wing holds most of its seats in urban areas such as Montlucon or Vichy.

Party seats
Miscellaneous Right 11
French Communist Party 9
Socialist Party 7
Union for a Popular Movement 5
Left Radical Party 2
MoDem 1

See also


External links



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