Petite Cité de Caractère
Built at the foot of the “Rocher de Bonnevie” rock under the protection of the Madonna and Child, Murat’s beautiful residences and mansions are a sight to behold for passers-by. As a legacy to the great volcano, it has preserved its three emblematic peaks and its characteristic houses built from local stone: basalt and phonolite. Nestled on the slopes of the “Neck” of Bonnevie, you’ll have to climb to be able to see everything!
Nestling on the banks of the River Alagnon, Murat is ideally situated at the crossroads of the main roads in the Cantal region. It connects with the main road RN 122 (Massiac - Aurillac) and the departmental roads RD 3 (towards Riom-Es-Montagnes) and RD 926 (towards Saint-Flour). The town is also serviced by the railway line linking Aurillac to Clermont-Ferrand. This strategic location accounts for Murat’s reputation as a trading hub and makes it a must for anyone planning a holiday in the Cantal region!
Murat, Collegiate church of Notre-Dame
The name Murat could mean “steep rock” in Celtic, but it is impossible to say precisely when the town was built.
The Rocher de Chastel-sur-Murat (Chastel-sur-Murat rock) has proved to be more informative: archaeologist Jean Pagès-Allary has discovered human remains on this site dating back to the Middle Neolithic period, which suggests that the Murat site was inhabited at the same time. It was not until the 11th century that written documents confirming the existence of the town emerged. The invaluable archaeological digs undertaken by Jean Pagès-Allary can be seen at the museum of art and archaeology in Aurillac.
Chapel of Saint-Antoine - Rocher de Chastel-sur-Murat
Conveniently located, the town thrived on its trade, and three trade fairs established it as a household name: the wheat, livestock and cheese markets. This long-standing trading tradition continues to this day with the traditional Friday morning market and the presence of a large number of stallholders in the town centre.
Friday morning market, Halles de Murat
Like many French villages, Murat endured the dark days of the German Occupation. Some residents put their lives at risk to save the lives of others, such as Alice Ferrières and her colleagues, recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations”.
Some chose to join the French Resistance, while others fell victim to Nazi repression. On the 12th of June 1944, Murat was the scene of the death of Captain Hugo Geissler, who was shot dead by a detachment of French Resistance fighters. Following this action, German forces carried out a retaliatory operation against the population and took Murat by storm on the 24th of June. The Mémorial des Déportés de Murat (Murat Memorial to the Deportees) retraces this dark chapter in local history.
Mémorial des Déportés de Murat
Diatoms are microscopic algae that can be found in Murat in fossil form. This white mineral, which has long been known as “Murat’s white gold”, is still rare and can be used in a host of applications. In Murat, the French group Imérys mines part of the quarry and processes diatomaceous earth at its Murat plant as a filtering agent for foodstuffs. Tours are organised regularly during the summer by the tourist office.
Tour of the diatom quarries
The Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne is currently the largest regional nature park in mainland France, spanning almost 400,000 hectares. Its communes, scattered across the Cantal and Puy-de-Dôme departments, have outstanding heritage or landscape features spanning five natural regions: Artense, Cézallier, Monts du Cantal, Monts Dômes and Monts Dore. Murat is home to the offices of the Park’s staff and provides information about its natural areas at the tourist office. Please pay us a visit!
Murat, nature and wide-open spaces
Climb to the summit and see the Madonna and Child overlooking Murat! Be warned: this exceptional view of Murat has to be earned and requires a bit of walking...
About a 30-minute walk from the tourist office to the top of the rock!
The Rocher de Bonnevie - Murat
The medieval town is easy to get to and ideal for hiking without having to get back in your car.
The Aurillac - Clermont-Ferrand SNCF railway line stops at Murat.
With an electric car
Journée Murataise des Véhicules anciens (Murat Vintage Vehicle Day) - June
TER Auvergne regional train