1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Issoire
ISSOIRE, a town of central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Puy-de-Dôme, on the Couze, near its junction with the Allier, 22 m. S.S.E. of Clermont-Ferrand on the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée railway to Nîmes. Pop. (1906) 5274. Issoire is situated in the fertile plain of Limagne. The streets in the older part of the town are narrow and crooked, but in the newer part there are several fine tree-shaded promenades, while a handsome boulevard encircles the town. The church of St Paul or St Austremoine built on the site of an older chapel raised over the tomb of St Austremoine (Stremonius) affords an excellent specimen of the Romanesque architecture of Auvergne. Issoire is the seat of a sub-prefect; its public institutions include tribunals of first instance and commerce and a communal college. Brewing, wool-carding and the manufacture of passementerie, candles, straw hats and woollen goods are carried on. There is trade in lentils and other agricultural products, in fruit and in wine.
Issoire (Iciodurum) is said to have been founded by the Arverni, and in Roman times rose to some reputation for its schools. In the 5th century the Christian community established there by Stremonius in the 3rd century was overthrown by the fury of the Vandals. During the religious wars of the Reformation, Issoire suffered very severely. Merle, the leader of the Protestants, captured the town in 1574, and treated the inhabitants with great cruelty. The Roman Catholics retook it in 1577, and the ferocity of their retaliation may be inferred from the inscription “Ici fut Issoire” carved on a pillar which was raised on the site of the town. In the contest between the Leaguers and Henry IV., Issoire sustained further sieges, and never wholly regained its early prosperity.