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For the bird, see great auk. For the European surname, possibly a habitational name for early inhabitants, see Auch (name).
Coat of arms of Auch
Coat of arms
Auch is located in France
Coordinates: 43°38′47″N 0°35′08″E / 43.6465°N 0.5855°E / 43.6465; 0.5855Coordinates: 43°38′47″N 0°35′08″E / 43.6465°N 0.5855°E / 43.6465; 0.5855
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Gers
Arrondissement Auch
Intercommunality Grand Auch
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Franck Montaugé
 • Land1 72.48 km2 (27.98 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • Population2 23,173
 • Population2 density 320/km2 (830/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 32013 / 32000
Elevation 115–281 m (377–922 ft)
(avg. 166 m or 545 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.

Auch (French pronunciation: ​[oʃ]; Gascon: Aush or Aux [aʊʃ]) is a commune in southwestern France. Located in the region of Midi-Pyrénées, it is the capital of the Gers department. Auch is the historical capital of Gascony.


The Ausci[edit]

Auch is a very ancient town. The name of Auch comes from the Aquitanian tribe that inhabited the area at the time of the Roman conquest in the 50s BC. The name of this tribe, as recorded by the Romans, was Ausci (pronounced [awski] in Latin), singular Auscus. Aquitanians spoke a language related to the old Basque language, and a striking fact is that the name Ausci seems related to the native name of the modern Basques, who call themselves Euskal (pronounced [euskal] in Basque).[citation needed]

At the time of the Roman conquest, the native name of Auch, as recorded by the Romans, was Elimberris. Elimberris is itself a variant of Iliberri, where Ili- comes from the Iberian word iltir' or iltur (the "t" is mute) meaning town, city, oppidum, a frequent prefix in names of Iberian cities, and which was probably borrowed into Basque and also Aquitanian (cf. modern Basque hiri, meaning "town"). In modern Basque there is also the word berri which means "new", so Iliberri is often interpreted as meaning "new oppidum" (based on the fact that Aquitanian and old Basque are related). However, this interpretation should be taken with caution. In the south of Spain, near Granada, an area far away from the Basque homeland, there was an Iberian city whose name the Romans also recorded as Iliberi, and here it seems the name recorded by the Romans is the phonetic transcription of Iberian Ilbirir, which comes from the Iberian stem ilbi- (meaning unknown), and not at all from an hypothetical il(t)i- (town) and Basque berri.

The Romans renamed the town Augusta Auscorum (or Augusta Ausciorum), which means "Augusta of the Ausci". Eventually, Augusta was dropped, and the name evolved into modern Gascon Aush, and modern French Auch. Inhabitants of Auch are known in French as Auscitains (pronounced [ositɛ̃])

Capital of Gascony[edit]

During Roman times, Auch was one of the twelve civitates of the province of Novempopulana (Gascony).

In 409, when Eauze, the capital of Novempopulana, was ruined by the Vandals, Auch replaced it as the capital of Gascony. It became the seat of a Catholic archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Auch, covering the whole of Gascony, which lasted until the French Revolution, and whose archbishops claimed the title of Primate of Aquitaine, Novempopulana, and of the kingdom of Navarre.


Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1793 8,444 —    
1800 7,696 −8.9%
1806 8,918 +15.9%
1821 9,670 +8.4%
1831 9,801 +1.4%
1841 10,867 +10.9%
1846 12,323 +13.4%
1851 12,141 −1.5%
1856 12,001 −1.2%
1861 11,899 −0.8%
1866 12,500 +5.1%
1872 13,087 +4.7%
1876 13,785 +5.3%
1881 14,186 +2.9%
1886 15,090 +6.4%
1891 14,782 −2.0%
1896 14,838 +0.4%
1901 13,939 −6.1%
1906 13,526 −3.0%
1911 13,638 +0.8%
1921 11,825 −13.3%
1926 12,272 +3.8%
1931 12,567 +2.4%
1936 13,313 +5.9%
1946 15,253 +14.6%
1954 16,382 +7.4%
1962 18,918 +15.5%
1968 21,462 +13.4%
1975 23,185 +8.0%
1982 23,258 +0.3%
1990 23,136 −0.5%
1999 21,838 −5.6%
2008 21,744 −0.4%


Auch is known for its Renaissance Cathédrale Sainte-Marie with its magnificent organ, carved stalls and rose stained-glass windows, La Tour d'Armagnac – a 14th-century prison, as well as a statue of d'Artagnan who was based on the real life person, Charles de Batz, Comte d'Artagnan born nearby in the château de Castelmore, and written about by Alexandre Dumas.


The River Gers flows through the town.


Auch is well connected to nearby cities and towns such as Agen, Toulouse and Tarbes by Routes Nationales.


Auch was the birthplace of:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]