ISSOIRE, chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Puy-de-Di3me, France, situated on the Couze, near its junction with the Allier, 20 miles S.E. of Clermont. It contains a tribunal of the first instance, a tribunal of commerce, and the usual offices appropriate to the capital of a district. The streets ju the older part of the town are narrow, crooked, and dirty, but in the newer part there are several fine tree-shaded promenades, while a handsome boulevard encircles the town. The communal college, a good primary school, several religious institutions, an ancient bridge, the granite town-house, and the church of St Paul are among the most interesting buildings. The last, built on the site of an older chapel raised over the tomb of St Austremoine (Stremonius), who introduced Christianity into Issoire in the 3d century, dates from the 10th century, and affords an excellent specimen of the Romanesque style of early Artvergnese architecture. Issoire has manufactures of agricultural implements, millstones, woollens, and shoes, and trade in cattle, walnut-oil, hemp, apples, and wine. The population in 1876 was 6089.
Issoire, whose name occurs in the Latin forms Icciodurum and Issiodicrum, is said to have been founded by the Arverni, and in Homan times rose to some reputation for its schooL In the 5th entury the Christian community established there by Stremonins 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 Iii fist Issoire, carved on a pillar which was raised on the site of the town. In the eontest of the Leaguers and Henry IV. Issoire, hardly recovered, sustained further sieges, and has never wholly regained its early prosperity.