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Tower and Sainte-Croix church
Tower and Sainte-Croix church
Coat of arms of Cournonterral
Coat of arms
Cournonterral is located in France
Coordinates: 43°33′32″N 3°43′12″E / 43.5589°N 3.72°E / 43.5589; 3.72Coordinates: 43°33′32″N 3°43′12″E / 43.5589°N 3.72°E / 43.5589; 3.72
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Hérault
Arrondissement Montpellier
Canton Pignan
Intercommunality Montpellier
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Thierry Breysse
Area1 28.62 km2 (11.05 sq mi)
Population (2013)2 5,826
 • Density 200/km2 (530/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 34088 /34660
Elevation 29–320 m (95–1,050 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.

Cournonterral is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France.



Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 1,887 —    
1968 2,088 +10.7%
1975 2,460 +17.8%
1982 3,062 +24.5%
1990 4,095 +33.7%
1999 5,069 +23.8%
2008 5,664 +11.7%

Residents are known as Cournonterralais.


The town is known for an annual festival known as Pailhasses. The festival has taken place in Cournonterral every Ash Wednesday since 1346. In that year, residents held off rivals from their neighbouring village, thus putting an end to a long dispute over gathering firewood. Since that time, Cournonterral residents have relived the event every year. The Paillasses (people in straw-stuffed tops) chase 'the white men' through the streets of the town with old rags and tissue soaked in wine sediment. The 'white men' come from the town of Aumelas. [1]

See also[edit]