Welcome to La Creuse

Nov 03, 2011Posted by Chris

 

The Departement of Creuse 

Click on the old coat of arms for the Wikipedia entry.

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.

Demographics 

The inhabitants of the department are called Creusois. The population peaked at 287,075 in 1851, after which it declined gently until the First World War. During and after the war, the decline in population became much more rapid both because of the death and disruption that characterised the war years and because of the higher wages available to any workers with marketable skills in the economically more dynamic towns and cities outside Creuse. By 1921 the registered population had slumped by almost 38,000 (approximately 14%) in ten years to 228,244, and the decline continued throughout the twentieth century. Over the last four decades of the twentieth century Creuse 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 Limousin

Click on the Limousin Crestfor the Wikipedia entry

Limousin 

is one of the 27 regions of France. It is composed of three départements: Corrèze, Creuse and the Haute-Vienne. Situated largely in the Massif Central, as of January 1st 2008, the Limousin comprised 740,743 inhabitants on nearly 17 000 km2, making it the second least populated region of France after Corsica. Forming part of the South-West of France, Limousin is bordered by the regions Centre to the north, Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine to the west, Midi-Pyrénées to the south and Auvergne to the east. Limousin also forms part of Occitania.

Formation 

The modern region of Limousin is essentially composed of two historical French provinces:

Limousin 

The Corrèze department in its entirety and the central and south-eastern part of Haute-Vienne. The old province of Limousin is entirely contained inside the modern Limousin region.

Marche 

most of the Creuse department and the north of the Haute-Vienne. The old province of Marche is almost entirely contained inside the current Limousin region, with only a small part of Marche being now in the Centre region. Beside these two main provinces, Limousin is also composed of small parts of other former provinces: Angoumois: extreme south-west of Haute-Vienne Poitou: extreme west of Haute-Vienne Auvergne: extreme east of Creuse Berry: extreme north of Creuse Today the province of Limousin is the most populous part of the Limousin region. Limoges, the historical capital and largest city of the province of Limousin is the capital of the Limousin administrative region.

Population 

With a slowly rising population of just under 750,000, Limousin is the second least populous French region in Metropolitan France after Corsica. There are fewer inhabitants in Limousin than in the city of Marseille. The population of Limousin is aging and, until 1999, it was declining. The Creuse department has the oldest population of any in France. Between 1999 and 2004 the population of Limousin increased slightly, reversing a decline for the first time in decades.[2]

Major communities 

Brive-la-Gaillarde Guéret Limoges Saint-Junien Tulle Ussel

Economy 

Limousin is an essentially rural region. Famed for some of the best beef farming in the world, herds of Limousin cattle—a distinctive chestnut red—are a common sight in the region. In addition to cattle, the region is also a major timber producing area. Due to its rural locality it is also famed for its French Oak orchards, so prized for its distinct characters and flavors in wine fermentation that only vintner Rémy Martin has exclusive rights to their oak orchards. It is a partnership that is over 100 years old. The regional capital, Limoges, was once an industrial power-base, world-renowned for its porcelain and is still a leader and innovator in electric equipment factories (which used porcelain as an insulator originally). However, large factories are now few in number.

Geography and climate 

Bodies of Water Some of the rivers belonging to the Loire basin run through the North, the West and the East of the region, waterways belonging to that of the Dordogne through the South. The region is crossed by two major rivers: the Dordogne and the Charente (which has its source in Haute-Vienne). The Limousin region is almost entirely an upland area. The lowest land is in the northwest of the region (approximately 250 m above sea level) and the highest land is roughly in the southeast (approximately 1000 m above sea level). However, the greater part of the region is above 350 m. There are numerous important rivers in the Limousin such as the Dordogne, Vienne, Creuse and Cher. The region is well known for the high quality of its water and for offering first rate fishing. Although summer temperatures often exceed 32 °C – and have even reached 42 °C – the Limousin region has a damper and milder climate than its neighbours. Winters are often long and cold, especially in the higher areas, and snow is not at all uncommon. Shepherds working in Limousin needed protection from the cool damp winters and traditionally wore a cloak with a large hood, which lent its name to the Limousine in which early drivers wore a similar protective cape. The area around Brive in the Corrèze has more than 2000 hours per year of sunshine, the same as the southern city of Toulouse.

Language 

Until the 1970s, Occitan was the primary language of rural areas. There remain several different Occitan dialects in use in Limousin, although their use is rapidly declining: Limousin Auvergnat in the East/North-East Languedocien in the Southern fringe of Corrèze in the North, the Crescent transition area is sometimes considered as a separate dialect called Marchois

posted by Chris October 16, 2013