Gaillac is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Tarn department in southern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Geography of Gaillac

Gaillac is a town situated between Toulouse, Albi and Monatauban. It has gained a large amount of recognition due to the wines that bear the towns name. The Tarn river runs along the border of the town by the south, east and west. It lies 50 km north-east of Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

. It is a market town and is the commercial centre of the north-west of Tarn.

History of Gaillac

The town was founded in the Second Century AD by the Gauls
The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

 who created a river port where they exported their wine into Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

. When Aquitane was taken by Rome, Gaillac gained prosperity with its wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

. However, great invasions annihilated the town and left nothing behind. It was only until the monks of Saint-Michel gained viticulture privileges from the Bishop of Albi, in 972 that the population stabilised and Gaillac started to become a town. Their wines were at first sent to Bordeaux where they would be exported to England. The Abbey of St.Michel was constructed in the 10th century AD and in 1271, the Abbey was reconstructed. In 1524 the abbey was secularised but the title of abbey was kept.

During the religious wars, the "Gaillacois" refused to change their religion and remained Catholics and were chased out of the town by Protestants. They refugied at Castelnau-de-Montmiral
Castelnau-de-Montmiral is a commune in the Tarn department in southern France.- Demography :-History:While traces of activities dating back to the Bronze Age such as dolmens and oppidums can be seen in the nearby forest La Grésigne, the village was founded as an albigensian bastide in 1222 by...

. After the massacre of Saint-Barthelemy on 24 August 1572 in Paris, the Gaillacois massacred the Protestants, 74 out of the 90 in the town. The abbey was once again reconstructed between 1572-1620. In the seventeenth century the Chateau of Foucaud was built.

It was from the town of Gaillac that Louis-Phillippe I addressed the words:

Nous chercherons à nous tenir dans un juste milieu, également éloigné des excès du pouvoir populaire et des abus du pouvoir royal.

Which translates as: "We search to keep ourselves in proper surroundings, equally distant from the excesses of popular power and the abuses of royal power." This sentence would define the July Monarchy.


The mayors of the town have been:
  • Henry Yrissou 1956-1977
  • André Saux 1977-1983
  • Jacques Dary 1983-1995
  • Charles Pistre 1995-2005
  • Michèle Rieux 2005–present

See also

  • Gaillac AOC
    Gaillac AOC
    Gaillac AOC is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in South West France in the département of Tarn, just north of Toulouse.-History:...

  • Communes of the Tarn department
  • Albi
  • Toulouse
    Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

  • Tourism in Tarn
    Tourism in Tarn
    From the Gaillac Vineyard to the Sidobre, the Montagne Noire and the stunning Gorges du Tarn, the Tarn department, in the southwest of France, offers a great range of sights and tourist attractions.-Statistics:In 2009, there were :...

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