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Coat of Arms of Creuse
Location of Creuse in France
Department number: 23
Region: Limousin
Prefecture: Guéret
Subprefectures: Aubusson
Arrondissements: 2
Cantons: 27
Communes: 260
President of the General Council: Jean-Jacques Lozach
Population Ranked 97th
 -1999 124,470
Population density: 22/km2
Land area¹: 5565 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

Creuse (Occitan: Cruesa) is a department in central France named after the Creuse River.



Creuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the former province of La Marche.


Creuse is part of the region of Limousin and is surrounded by the departments of Corrèze, Haute-Vienne, Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cher, and Indre.

It is in the Massif Central and permeated by the Creuse River and its tributaries. The river is dammed at several locations both for water supply and hydroelectricity generation. As is typical for an inland area of continental Europe, Creuse has relatively cold winters with some snowfall into April, but also hot summers. Rain falls throughout the year because of the relatively high elevation.

The topography is principally rolling hills intersected by often steep valleys. The terrestrial ecology is typically cool temperate with a species mix common in the western UK: with oak, ash, chestnut, hazel and Prunus species dominating the woodlands. There are no commercial vineyards. Much of the farming is beef cattle: Charolais and Limousin, and also sheep.


The inhabitants of the department are called Creusois. Over the past two generations Creuse has experienced the greatest proportional population decline of any French department, from 164,000 in 1960 to 124,000 in 1999 - a decrease of 24%.


The President of the General Council is Jean-Jacques Lozach of the Socialist Party.

Party seats
Socialist Party 12
Union for a Popular Movement 8
Miscellaneous Left 5
French Communist Party 1
Left Radical Party 1

Notable Creuseans


The major tourist attractions are the tapestry museum in Aubusson and the castles of Villemonteix, Boussac, and Banizette. The monastery of Moutier-d'Ahun has exceptional wood carvings from the 17th century. (fr:Abbaye de Moutier-d'Ahun).

Guéret, Creuse is also home to a large nearby animal park named "Les Loups de Chabrières" containing some of France's only wolves, held in semi-captivity. It includes 24 European Grey wolves [1], two Canadian White Wolves [2] and two Canadian Black Wolves [3] in five distinct enclosures.

Since the late 1990s, the Creuse has become a tourist destination. The summers are relatively warm, but not as hot as in the southern parts of France. Because of the forested landscape and little pollution, many foreigners (notably British and Dutch, but also German and Belgian) have sought to buy vacation homes in the Creuse.

Creuse Landscape.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 46°035′N 02°03′E / 46.583°N 2.05°E / 46.583; 2.05


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CREUSE, a department of central France, comprising the greater portion of the old province of Marche, together with portions of Berry, Bourbonnais, Auvergne, Limousin and Poitou. Area, 2164 sq. M. Pop. (1906) 274,094. It lies on the north-western border of the central plateau and is bounded N. by the departments of Indre and Cher, E. by Allier and Puy-deDome, S. by Correze and W. by Haute-Vienne. The surface is hilly, with a general inclination north-westward in the direction of the valley of the Creuse, sloping from the mountains of Auvergne and Limousin, branches of which project into the south of the department. The chief of these starts from the Plateau de Gentioux, and under the name of the Mountains of Marche extends along the left bank of the Creuse. The highest point is in the forest of Chateauvert (3050 ft.) in the extreme south-east of the department. Rivers, streams and lakes are numerous, but none are navigable; the principal is the Creuse, which rises on the north side of the mass of Mount Odouze on the border of the department of Correze, and passes through the department, dividing it into two nearly equal portions, receiving the Petite Creuse from the right, and afterwards flowing on to join the Vienne. The valleys of the head-streams of the Cher and of its tributary the Tardes, which near Evaux passes under a fine viaduct 300 ft. in height, occupy the eastern side; those of the heads of the Vienne and its tributary the Thaurion, and of the Gartempe joining the Creuse, are in the west of the department. The climate is in general cold, moist and variable; the rigorous winter covers the higher cantons with snow; rain is abundant in spring, and storms are frequent in summer, but the autumn is fine. Except in the valleys the soil is poor and infertile, and agriculture is also handicapped by the dearness of labour, due to the annual emigration of from 15,000 to 20,000 of the inhabitants to other parts of France, where they serve as stonemasons, &c. The produce of cereals, chiefly rye, wheat, oats and buckwheat, is not sufficient for home consumption. The chestnut abounds in the north and west; hemp and potatoes are also grown. Cattle-rearing and sheepbreeding are the chief industries of the department, which supplies Poitou and Vendee with draught oxen. Coal is mined to some extent, chiefly in the basin of Ahun. There are thermal springs at Evaux in the east of the department, where remains of Roman baths are preserved. The chief industrial establishments are the manufactories of carpets and hangings and the dyeworks of Aubusson and Felletin. Sa,w-mills and the manufacture of wooden shoes and hats have some importance. Exports include carpets, coal, live-stock and hats; imports comprise raw materials for the manufactures and food-supplies. The department is served by the Orleans railway company, whose line from Montlugon to Perigueux traverses it from east to west. It is divided into the four arrondissements of Gueret, the capital Aubusson, Bourganeuf, and Boussac, and further into 25 cantons and 266 communes. With Haute-Vienne, Creuse forms the diocese of Limoges, where also is its court of appeal. It forms part of the academic (educational division) of Clermont and of the region of the XII. army corps. The principal towns are Gueret and Aubusson. La Souterraine, Chambon-sur-Voueize and Benevent-l'Abbaye possess fine churches of the r2th century. At Moutier-d'Ahun there is a church, which has survived from a Benedictine abbey. The nave of the r 5th century with a fine portal, and the choir with its carved stalls of the r7th century, are of considerable interest. The small industrial town of Bourganeuf has remains of a priory, including a tower (r 5th century) in which Zizim, brother of the sultan Bajazet II., is said to have been imprisoned.

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