BRIOUDE, a town of France, in the department of Haute Loire, capital of an arrondissement, is situated on the left bank of the Allier, 39 miles N.W. of Puy. The town is but has a fine old Gothic church (St Julien, of the 12th century, with curious mosaic ornamentation), a college, a public library, and beautiful fountains, which date from the 13th century. At Old Brioude, about three miles S.S.E., are the remains of a bridge over the Allier, which consisted of a single arch 60 feet high and 206 feet in span. (See article BRIDGES, p. 332.) This fell in 1822 ; and a new bridge of one arch, 182 feet in span, was built in 1815. Population in 1872, 4524.
Brioude, the ancient Brims, was formerly a place of considerable importance. It was in turn besieged and captured by the Goths (532), the Burgundians, the Saracens (732), and the Normans. In 1181 the viscount of Polignac, who had sacked the town two years previously, made public apology in front of the church, and established a body of twenty-five knights to defend the relies of St Julian. For some time after 1361 the town was the headquarters of the lord of Castelnau, who was at the head of one of those bands of military adventurers which then devastated France. The knights (or canons, as they afterwards became) of St Julian bore the title of counts of Brioude, and for a long time opposed themselves to the civic liberties of tire inhabitants.