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An aerial view of Alairac
An aerial view of Alairac
Coat of arms of Alairac
Coat of arms
Location of Alairac
Alairac is located in France
Alairac is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 43°11′06″N 2°14′29″E / 43.185°N 2.2414°E / 43.185; 2.2414Coordinates: 43°11′06″N 2°14′29″E / 43.185°N 2.2414°E / 43.185; 2.2414
IntercommunalityCarcassonne Agglo
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Roger Adiveze
16.37 km2 (6.32 sq mi)
 • Density83/km2 (210/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11005 /11290
Elevation158–422 m (518–1,385 ft)
(avg. 190 m or 620 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Alairac is a commune in the Aude department in the Occitanie region of southern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Alairacois, or Alairacoises.[2]


The commune is in the urban area of Carcassonne and is located on a hillock at the foot of the Malepère mountain range. Alairac is a traditional circulade village dating to 1000AD. The commune has been part of the agglomeration community called Carcassonne Agglo since 1 January 2010.

The commune is located some 80 km south-east of Toulouse and only 6 km south-west of Carcassonne. The Motorway E80 (A61) passes across the northern tip of the commune but has no exit. The commune can be reached by Road D18 from Carcassonne which passes in a south-westerly direction through the heart of the commune towards Cailhau. Road D211 also passes through the commune from Arzens in the west to Lavalette in the east passing to the north of Alairac village. The village can be reached by a number of local roads from both the D211 and the D18. The commune is both farmland and forest with a two small hamlets: Galet and Les Rougeats.[3]

Several streams pass through the commune. In the east the Ruisseau Saint Pierre forms the eastern border of the commune, the Ruisseau de Bonne Mere forms the southern boundary, and the Ruisseau du Sout forms the western boundary. Inside the commune there are several streams with the Ruisseau de Celule Ou Gautel passing near the village. All the streams eventually flow into the Aude river which continues east into the Mediterranean Sea.[3]

Neighbouring communes and towns[3][edit]

Geology, topography and hydrography[edit]

The village overlooks the plain where the Canal du Midi to the north of the commune towards Carcassonne and the view extends over a panorama limited to the north by the Montagne Noire (Black Mountain). To the north-east is the city of Carcassonne and to the south the Malepère mountain range covered in oak forest, the domain of wild boar and mushroom collectors.


The village has an oceanic climate with a strong Mediterranean influence. This area is dominated by Holly Oak forests which makes it suitable for the cultivation of the grapevines. The summers are temperate and the winters mild.


The first written record of the castle appeared in 1063: the time of the probable construction of the circulade. The area belonged to the Count of Foix, the first of which was Roger I de Foix who was the second son of Bernard-Roger, Count of Bigorre. Over the years, he exchanged the County of Foix with the Viscount of Carcassonne several times to the Trencavel family.

From the 11th century, the village was traversed by one of the paths to Saint Jacques de Compostela called "Path of the Pyrenean Piedmont". This pilgrimage continued until the 18th century.

During the Albigensian Crusade at Easter 1210, Simon de Montfort besieged the castle at Alairac for eleven days at which the people, fearing they may have to surrender, fled by night. In 1309, the last known Cathar perfect, Guillaume Bélibaste, fled Catalonia with Philippe of Alayrac. The latter, on his return home after ten years of exile, was probably captured and burned.

Sign at the entrance of the village

On hearing the sound of an approaching large company from Routiers in 1366, the officers of the Bailiwick of Carcassonne ordered the inhabitants of the castle at Alairac — which belonged to Jean d'Armagnac — to fortify it and destroy the surrounding area. Having failed to execute the order, the Viscount angrily set fire to the castle which was completely burned. Later, the Count of Armagnac ceded the land of Alairac to the Marquis of Mirepoix in 1404.

The lordship was sold at the beginning of the 18th century to a citizen of Carcassonne. This lordship was extinguished by the Revolution in 1789.

During the First World War from 1914–18, the village lost nineteen people whose names are inscribed on the memorial. Every year on 11 November, this sacrifice is remembered by reading their names during a ceremony attended by schoolchildren.

During the Algerian War, many young people from Alairac were called to fight. One of them was killed. Every 19 March the laying of wreaths takes place to commemorate the date the Évian Accords came into force.


Arms of Alairac
Or means a gold background, pale, in heraldry is a vertical band in the middle of the shield and bounded by two lines, tapering: indicates the tapering of the pale, Vert: means the colour green

Or, a pale tapering of Vert.


List of Successive Mayors of Alairac[4]

From To Name Party Position
1862 1871 Louis Guilhem
1871 1871 Guilhem benoit
1871 1900 Jean Fages
1900 1919 Guilhem Achilles
1919 1929 Fages Irenaeus
1929 1935 Gaston Vidal
1935 1945 Fages Irenaeus
1945 1952 Urban Marcerou
1952 1953 André Mouls
1953 1971 Carrie Antonin
1971 Current Roger Adiveze PS

(Not all data is known)


Historical population


Viticulture: Malepère (AOC)

Culture and heritage[edit]

A milestone on the Way of Saint James

Civil heritage[edit]

  • The Circulade of Alairac with its circular boulevard called Rond Saint-Germain: the heart of the village
  • The War memorial surmounted by a Gallic rooster on which is inscribed the names of the twenty young men of the village who were killed during the wars of the 20th century
  • A Courtyard shaded by acacias at the primary school dating from 1935
  • The village is crossed by one of the roads of the Way of Saint James leading to Saint-Jacques de Compostela

Religious heritage[edit]

The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:

  • The Parish Church of Saint Germain (14th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[5] with an octagonal bell tower which originally served as a Fortified tower. The Church contains two items that are registered as historical objects:
  • The Catuffe Cross (1645)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[8] on the Chamin des Castelles.
  • The Alairac Cross (17th century),Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[9] a Saint Germain style round cross.


Culture and festivals[edit]

  • The Alain Cazalis Library is associated with the library of the Aude
  • In March there is Printemps de notes (Spring notes), an artistic and musical festival of Alairac in Malepère
  • In May De circulade en circulade is hosted, comprising plays, lectures, and local bands together with fourteen other circulade villages of Aude.
  • On the first Sunday of June there is a hunting feast with a Mass for Saint Hubert to bless the packs of dogs
  • In the last weekend of July there is the village fete

Children's activities[edit]

There is a hall for teenagers (12–17 years old) organised by the CIAS of Carcassonne. This activity is supervised by Mathieu Bruno the organiser.



  • In total one hundred and fifty children were enrolled in the Alairac public school in 2012 which has both a primary school[10] built in 1935 and a kindergarten which was built in 2002
  • From eleven years old most of the children go to the Varsovie College at Carcassonne.


Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

  • Philippe of Alayrac, companion of the last Cathar Perfect, Guillaume Bélibaste
  • André Mouls, playwright and Occitan poet
  • Alain Cazalis (1950-2012), Deputy Mayor, Deputy for Culture, defender of "rural culture", including the creator of the Spring notes festival and initiator of the association De circulade en circulade
  • Roger Adivèze former regional councilor, officer of the Legion of Honour, mayor since 1971 and vice president of the Carcassonne Agglo since January 2010, and also Chairman of the management centre of the territorial public service of Aude.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]



  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Inhabitants of Aude (in French)
  3. ^ a b c Google Maps
  4. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  5. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00102513 Parish Church of Saint Germain (in French)
  6. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11000591 Chalice with Paten (in French)
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM11000590 Chalice with Paten (in French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00102512 Catuffe Cross (in French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00102511 Alairac Cross (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  10. ^ Alairac School (in French)