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A general view of Auzits
A general view of Auzits
Auzits is located in France
Coordinates: 44°30′28″N 2°19′42″E / 44.5078°N 2.3283°E / 44.5078; 2.3283Coordinates: 44°30′28″N 2°19′42″E / 44.5078°N 2.3283°E / 44.5078; 2.3283
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Aveyron
Arrondissement Villefranche-de-Rouergue
Canton Enne et Alzou
Intercommunality Pays Rignacois
 • Mayor (2008–2020) Jean-Louis Francès
Area1 24.34 km2 (9.40 sq mi)
Population (2010)2 832
 • Density 34/km2 (89/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 12016 /12390
Elevation 248–644 m (814–2,113 ft)
(avg. 394 m or 1,293 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.

Auzits is a commune in the Aveyron department in the Occitanie region of southern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Auzitois or Auzitoises.[1]


Auzits is located at the top of a hill with the church dominating the valley some 10 km south-east of Decazeville and 28 km north-west of Rodez. It is a large, green, and hilly commune ranging from the Plateau of Hymes to Ruhle le Haut with many vantage points especially from the highest point in the commune at Hautesserre where there is a 360 degree panorama. Access to the commune can be by many routes: the D840 from Firmi in the north passes down the eastern side of the commune and continues south-east to Saint-Christophe-Vallon; the D87 branches from the D840 in the commune and goes south-west then north to the village then west to Montbazens; the D53 from Cransac in the north passes south through the west of the commune going to Bournazel; the D189 goes south from the village towards Goutrens; the D11 comes from Cransac through the village and continues to Saint-Cristophe-Vallon; and the D631 goes north from the village to join the D840 north of the commune. A railway line passes through the commune from north to south with the Auzits-Aussibal Halt near Aussibel. Apart from the village there are the hamlets of Rulhe, Les Escabes, La Berthoumarie, Le Mas del Bosc, Aussibal, Hymes, Plateau d'Hymes, Le Coustal, and Reyrols. The commune is mixed forest and farmland.[2]

The Riou Viou flows from the south through the village then turns west along the northern border and continues to join the Riou Mort at Viviers. The Riou Mort flows north through the east of the commune and continues north-west to join the Lot at Penchot.[2]

Neighbouring communes and villages[2][edit]


The old railway station
The old Goods Shed

Middle Ages[edit]

In the Middle Ages Auzits was an important step for pilgrims as it lies on the road to Saint Jacques de Compostela (the path from Conques to Villefranchois). Near the present village there was a small chapel called the Chapel of the Hospital which welcomed the sick, tired, or dying. Under the responsibility of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the chapel adjoining the hospice is today still in good condition.

In 1358 the English invaded the commune and stayed for thirty years. In 1398, after the withdrawal of the British, the fortified Chateau of Auzits was abandoned. Its inhabitants did not wish for another Lord so collectively decided to build the new village church on the ruins of this castle. Perched on the rocky outcrop overlooking the valley on massive buttresses, the tower was converted into a bell tower. The stones of the second tower were reused for the central nave of the church, which is the present Church of Saint-Maurice.

Contemporary era[edit]

During the 19th and 20th centuries the commune experienced spectacular development by the coal industry. The many families who lived on coal-mining declined in number due to successive mine closures in Decazeville basin, leaving only remnants that are still visible on the Rulhe road.


List of Successive Mayors[3]

The Town Hall
Mayors from 1938
From To Name Party Position
1938 1944 Emile Boyé
1944 1945 Benjamin Viguier
1945 1947 Adrien Ruffié
1947 1959 Joseph Delsol
1959 1977 Armand Lacombe
1977 1989 Frédéric Bourdoncle
1989 1995 Michel Cantala
1995 2001 Jean Bousquet
2001 2008 Michel Cantala
2008 2020 Jean-Louis Francès

(Not all data is known)


In 2010 the commune had 832 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
455 426 1,655 1,999 1,346 1,236 1,370 1,424 1,407
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
1,471 1,591 1,754 1,832 2,085 1,943 2,083 1,890 1,950
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
1,968 1,980 1,771 1,771 1,680 1,616 1,547 1,359 1,377
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
1,373 1,128 1,011 932 803 812 893 862 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Population of Auzits

Culture and heritage[edit]

Civil heritage[edit]

  • Remains of a Castle. Long before the present church was built a castle dominated the valley. The castle consisted of two towers, buttresses, towering ramparts, a drawbridge, a moat, and a crypt.
  • Picturesque villages in Auzits and upper Rulhe.

Religious heritage[edit]

The Church of Saint Maurice
Church of Saint Maurice Portal

The commune has one religious building that is registered as an historical monument:

  • The Church of Saint Maurice (12th century).Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[4] The church of Saint-Maurice is a curious building because of its architecture. The crypt is oriented east and is part of the old castle chapel. Long abandoned by their inhabitants, these places are now freely available for visits. Decorated with wall paintings dating from the 14th century, this crypt is one of the jewels of Middle Ages Aveyron. Inside the church the altar, made of wood, has sculptures of Saint Maurice. In the centre a painting shows Jacques de Mauleon Labastide, Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Many treasures are no longer present in the church as they were stolen in 2001. Notably a Virgin and Child, dating from the 16th century in polychrome wood and gilded with gold. The Church contains several items that are registered as historical objects:
Other religious sites of interest
  • Church of Saint Étienne de Rulhe.
  • Chapel of Saint John of the Hospital.
  • Chapel of Hautesserre.
  • Cross of Hymes.

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

  • Raoul Follereau, researcher and scientist.
  • Robert Girou, painter.
  • Roger Noyer, resistance fighter.
  • Marcial Pleinecassagne, resistance fighter killed for keeping silent in the face of the Germans in 1944.

See also[edit]


  • Christian-Pierre Bedel, Rinhac: Anglars, Ausits, Bèl Castèl, Bornasèl, Gotrens, Las Candolièiras, Mairanh / Christian-Pierre Bedel and los estatjants del Rinhagués, Rodez, Mission départementale de la culture, coll. Al canton, 1991, ill., cov. ill., 28 cm, 230 p. (ISBN 2-907279-04-1, ISSN 1151-8375, BnF No. FRBNF36652250) (in French)

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ Inhabitants of Aveyron (in French)
  2. ^ a b c Google Maps
  3. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  4. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00093960 Church of Saint Maurice (in French)
  5. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000739 Reliquary-Monstrance (in French)
  6. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000014 Statue: Virgin and child (in French)
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000717 Ciborium (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000738 2 Cruets with plate (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000013 Statue: Virgin and child (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000012 Retable and Painting: Saint Maurice (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000011 Processional Cross (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM12000737 Reliquary-Monstrance (in French)Camera aabb.svg