Auvergne, an old province of France, now forming the departments of Cantal, Puy-de-Dome, and part of Haute-Loire. ' It is divided into two parts, very different in their climate and productions. Upper Auvergne, which includes chiefly the departments of Cantal and Puy-de-Dome, is a mountainous, wild, and picturesque cattle-raising district. The mountains which intersect it are a branch of the Ceven-nes, and lie in confused groups, sending up several summits to the height of 6,000 feet, some of which are extinct volcanoes. Mont Dore, the highest of them, is an almost isolated cone, and has its sides covered with scoriae. Lower Auvergne extends along both banks of the Allier, and presents a continual succession of towns and villages, and of the most fertile hills and valleys of France, which produce abundantly the vine, grains, and fruits. The province takes its name from the ancient Ar-verni, one of the most powerful tribes of Gaul in Caesar's time, of whom the present Auver-gnats are supposed to be the almost unmixed descendants.

Though their province has contributed a number of distinguished names to the history of their country, the Auvergnats are often spoken of as the Boeotians of France.