Creuse is a department in central France named after the Creuse River
Creuse River
The Creuse is a 264 km long river in western France, a tributary of the river Vienne. Its source is in the Plateau de Millevaches, a north-western extension of the Massif Central...



Creuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 on 4 March 1790. It was created from the former province
Provinces of France
The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the département system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England...

 of La Marche
County of Marche
The County of Marche was a medieval French county, approximately corresponding to the modern département of Creuse.Marche first appeared as a separate fief about the middle of the 10th century, when William III, Duke of Aquitaine, gave it to one of his vassals named Boso, who took the title of...


The County of Marche was a medieval French county
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

, approximately corresponding to the modern département of Creuse. Marche first appeared as a separate fief about the middle of the 10th century, when William III, Duke of Aquitaine, gave it to one of his vassals named Boso, who took the title of count. In the 12th century, the countship passed to the family of Lusignan
The Lusignan family originated in Poitou near Lusignan in western France in the early 10th century. By the end of the 11th century, they had risen to become the most prominent petty lords in the region from their castle at Lusignan...

. They also were sometimes counts of Angoulême
Counts and dukes of Angoulême
Angoulême in western France was part of the Carolingian Empire as the kingdom of Aquitaine. Under Charlemagne's successors, the local Count of Angoulême was independent and was not united with the French crown until 1307. By the terms of the Treaty of Brétigny the Angoumois, then ruled by the...

 and counts of Limousin
Limousin (province)
Limousin is one of the traditional provinces of France around the city of Limoges. Limousin lies in the foothills of the western edge of the Massif Central, with cold weather in the winter...

. With the death of the childless Count Guy in 1308, his possessions in La Marche were seized by Philip IV of France
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

. In 1316 the king made La Marche an appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

for his youngest son the Prince, afterwards Charles IV
Charles IV of France
Charles IV, known as the Fair , was the King of France and of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1322 to his death: he was the last French king of the senior Capetian lineage....

. Several years later in 1327, La Marche passed into the hands of the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

. The family of Armagnac
House of Armagnac
The House of Armagnac, at the end of the thirteenth century, was not yet powerful enough to play a political role beyond its possessions. The House of Toulouse, which ruled over the large southwest of France, was defeated by the Capetians during the Albigensian Crusade, but local dynasties, like...

 held it from 1435 to 1477, when it reverted to the Bourbons. In 1527 La Marche was seized by Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 and became part of the domains of the French crown. It was divided into Haute Marche and Basse Marche, the estates of the former continuing until the 17th century. From 1470 until the Revolution, the province was under the jurisdiction of the parlement of Paris.

In 1886 Bourganeuf ville lumière, located in a remote part of Creuse, became somewhat improbably the third town in France to receive a public electricity supply. Three years later, in 1889, the construction of a primitive hydro-electric factory at Cascade of the Jarrauds (Cascade des Jarrauds) on the little River Maulde at Saint-Martin-Château
Saint-Martin-Château is a commune in the Creuse department in central France.-Population:-References:*...

, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) away, established a more reliable electricity supply for the little town. The creation of a power line from the plant to Bourganeuf was supervised by a pioneering engineer called Marcel Deprez: this was the first time that a power line over such a long distance had been constructed in France. The achievement was crowned with the region's first telephone line, installed in order to permit instant communication between the generating station and the newly illuminated town.


Creuse is part of the region
Régions of France
France is divided into 27 administrative regions , 22 of which are in Metropolitan France, and five of which are overseas. Corsica is a territorial collectivity , but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE website...

 of Limousin
Limousin (région)
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...

 and is surrounded by the departments of Corrèze
Corrèze is a department in south central France, named after the Corrèze River.The inhabitants of the department are called Corréziens or Corréziennes according to gender.-History:...

, Haute-Vienne
Haute-Vienne is a French department named after the Vienne River. It is one of three departments that together constitute the French region of Limousin.The chief and largest city is Limoges...

, Allier
Allier is a department in central France named after the river Allier.- History :Allier is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Auvergne and Bourbonnais.In 1940, the government of Marshal...

, Puy-de-Dôme
Puy-de-Dôme is a department in the centre of France named after the famous dormant volcano, the Puy-de-Dôme.Inhabitants were called Puydedomois until December 2005...

, Cher
Cher (département)
Cher is an administrative department located in the centre of France. It is named after the Cher River.-History:Cher is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. Most of it was created, along with the adjacent department of Indre from the former...

, and Indre
Indre is a department in the center of France named after the river Indre. The inhabitants of the department are called Indriens.-History:Indre is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...


It is in the Massif Central
Massif Central
The Massif Central is an elevated region in south-central France, consisting of mountains and plateaux....

 and permeated by the Creuse River
Creuse River
The Creuse is a 264 km long river in western France, a tributary of the river Vienne. Its source is in the Plateau de Millevaches, a north-western extension of the Massif Central...

 and its tributaries. The river is dammed at several locations both for water supply and hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 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
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 with a species mix common in the western UK: with oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, ash
Ash tree
Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

, chestnut
Chestnut , some species called chinkapin or chinquapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.-Species:The chestnut belongs to the...

, hazel
The hazels are a genus of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate northern hemisphere. The genus is usually placed in the birch family Betulaceae, though some botanists split the hazels into a separate family Corylaceae.They have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins...

 and Prunus
Prunus is a genus of trees and shrubs, which includes the plums, cherries, peaches, apricots and almonds. There are around 430 species spread throughout the northern temperate regions of the globe. Many members of the genus are widely cultivated for fruit and ornament.-Botany:Members of the genus...

species dominating the woodlands. There are no commercial vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s. Much of the farming is beef cattle: Charolais
Charolais cattle
Charolais cattle are a beef breed of cattle which originated in Charolais, around Charolles, in France. They are raised for their meat and are known for their composite qualities when crossed with other breeds, most notably Angus and Hereford cattle...

 and Limousin
Limousin (cattle)
Limousin cattle are a breed of highly muscled beef cattle originating from the Limousin and Marche regions of France. The breed is known as Limousine in France. Limousins were first exported from France in significant numbers in the 1960s and are now present in about 70 countries...

, and also sheep.


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 President of the General Council is Jean-Jacques Lozach
Jean-Jacques Lozach
Jean-Jacques Lozach is a member of the Senate of France, representing the Creuse department. He is a member of the Socialist Party.-References:*...

 of the Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

Party seats
Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

Miscellaneous Left
Miscellaneous Left
Miscellaneous Left in France refers to left-wing candidates that are not member of any large party. They either include small left-wing parties or dissidents expelled from their parties for running against their party's candidate. Numerous DVG candidates are elected at a local level, and a smaller...

French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

Left Radical Party
Left Radical Party
The Radical Party of the Left is a minor social-liberal, and in opposition to its common understanding of its name, a moderate centre-left political party in France advocating radicalism, secularism to its french extend known as laïcité, progressivism, pro-Europeanism, individual freedom and...



  • Jean de Brosse
    Jean de Brosse
    Jean de Brosse , Lord of Boussac, Sainte-Sévère, Huriel, and Perugia, was a councillor and chamberlain to Charles VII of France; he was made a Marshal of France in 1426.-Early life:...

     (1375–1433), Lord of Boussac.
  • Pierre d'Aubusson (1423–1503), Grand Master of the order of St. John of Jerusalem (the Knights Hospitaller
    Knights Hospitaller
    The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

    ) .
  • Pierre Leroux
    Pierre Leroux
    Pierre Henri Leroux , French philosopher and political economist, was born at Bercy, now a part of Paris, the son of an artisan.- Life :...

    (1797–1871), French philosopher and political economist.
  • Martin Nadaud
    Martin Nadaud
    Martin Nadaud rose from being a peasant boy to becoming a revolutionary and Member of Parliament...

     (1815–1898), politician.
  • Léonard-Léopold Forgemol de Bostquénard
    Léonard-Léopold Forgemol de Bostquénard
    Léonard-Léopold Forgemol de Bostquénard was a general in the French Army.He was born on the 17th September 1821 at Azerables, in the Creuse départment and died on the 28th November 1897 at Versailles....

     (1821–1897), general in the French Army.
  • Gustave Caillebotte
    Gustave Caillebotte
    Gustave Caillebotte was a French painter, member and patron of the group of artists known as Impressionists, though he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group...

     (1848–1894)French painter, member and patron of the Impressionists, owned a castle in Creuse.
  • David Feuerwerker
    David Feuerwerker
    - Born in Geneva :He was born on October 2, 1912, at 11 Rue du Mont-Blanc, in Geneva, Switzerland. He was the seventh of eleven children. His father Jacob Feuerwerker was born in Sighet, now Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramureş, then Hungary, now Rumania...

     (1912–1980), rabbi of Creuse.
  • Lucien Le Cam
    Lucien le Cam
    Lucien Marie Le Cam was a mathematician and statistician. He obtained a Ph.D. in 1952 at the University of California, Berkeley, was appointed Assistant Professor in 1953 and continued working there beyond his retirement in 1991 until his death.Le Cam was the major figure during the period 1950...

     (1924-2000), mathematician
    A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

     and statistician
    A statistician is someone who works with theoretical or applied statistics. The profession exists in both the private and public sectors. The core of that work is to measure, interpret, and describe the world and human activity patterns within it...

  • Michael Riffaterre
    Michael Riffaterre
    Michael or Michel Riffaterre was an influential French literary critic and theorist. He pursued a generally structuralist approach. He is well known in particular for his book Semiotics of Poetry, and the concepts of hypogram and syllepsis.He was born in Bourganeuf, in the Limousin region of France...

     (1924–2006), writer and critic.
  • Hubert Védrine
    Hubert Védrine
    Hubert Védrine is a French Socialist politician.Diplomatic adviser of President Mitterrand, he served as secretary-general of the presidency from 1991 to 1995, then as Foreign Minister in the government of Lionel Jospin from 1997 to 2002.After the reelection of Jacques Chirac in May 2002, Védrine...

     (born 31 July 1947), former French Foreign Minister
    Foreign minister
    A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...



A historically rich and traditionally rural rather lighly-populated area with beautiful preserved landscapes, ancient and typical art de vivre, original stone architecture, no major urban center and many heritage site such as castles, abbeys and Celtic stone monuments
A dolmen—also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, dolmain , cromlech , anta , Hünengrab/Hünenbett , Adamra , Ispun , Hunebed , dös , goindol or quoit—is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of...

: the Creuse department has become a Green tourism destination since the late 1990s. Creuse enjoyed a temperate climate with mild springs and autumns, rather cold and snowy but sunny winters, and relatively warm and sunny summers, but not as hot as in the southern parts of France. Thanks to its preserved forested landscape, little pollution and wonderful stone buildings, many foreigners (notably British and Dutch, but also German and Belgian) have sought to buy holiday homes in Creuse.

The major tourist attractions are the tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 museum in Aubusson
Aubusson, Creuse
Aubusson is a commune in the Creuse department in the Limousin region in central France.-Geography:...

 and the many castles, notably those of Villemonteix, Boussac
Boussac, Creuse
Boussac is a commune in the Creuse department in the Limousin region in central France.-Geography:A small light industrial town situated by the banks of the Petite Creuse river, some northeast of Guéret, at the junction of the D11 and the D997 roads....

, and Banizette. The monastery of Moutier-d'Ahun
Moutier-d’Ahun is a commune in the Creuse department in the Limousin region in central France.-Geography:A farming area comprising the village and a couple of hamlets situated some southeast of Guéret at the junction of the D16, D13 and the D942 roads...

 has exceptional wood carvings from the 17th century. (:fr:Abbaye de Moutier-d'Ahun). After World War 1, some towns in France set up pacifist war memorials. Instead of commemorating the glorious dead, these memorials denounce war with figures of grieving widows and children rather than soldiers. Such memorials provoked anger among veterans and the military in general. The most famous is at Gentioux-Pigerolles
Gentioux-Pigerolles is a commune in the Creuse department in the Limousin region in central France.-Geography:An area of lakes, forestry, quarries and farming, comprising three villages and several hamlets situated in the upper valleys of both the Maulde and Thaurion rivers, some southwest of...

 in the department (see picture on the left). Below the column which lists the name of the fallen, stands an orphan in bronze pointing to an inscription ‘Maudite soit la guerre’ (Cursed be war). Feelings ran so high that the memorial was not officially inaugurated until 1990 and soldiers at the nearby army camp were under orders to turn their heads when they walked past.

Guéret is a commune and the prefecture of the Creuse department in the Limousin region in central France.-Geography:A light industrial town, the largest in the department, with a big woodland and a little farming not far from the town centre...

, Creuse is also home to a large nearby animal park named Les Loups de Chabrières containing some of France's few remaining wolves, held in semi-captivity. It includes 24 European Grey Wolves\www\loups-chabrieres_2006\web\Entrez_dans_le_Parc\2.%20Les%20Loups%20de%20Chabri%E8res\1.%20Les%20Loups%20gris%20europ%E9ens.doc|1, two Canadian White Wolves\www\loups-chabrieres_2006\web\Entrez_dans_le_Parc\2.%20Les%20Loups%20de%20Chabri%E8res\2.%20Les%20Loups%20blancs%20canadiens.doc|2 and two Canadian Black Wolves\www\loups-chabrieres_2006\web\Entrez_dans_le_Parc\2.%20Les%20Loups%20de%20Chabri%E8res\3.%20Les%20Loups%20noirs%20canadiens.doc|3 in five distinct enclosures.

See also

  • Cantons of the Creuse department
  • Communes of the Creuse department
  • Arrondissements of the Creuse department

External links

General council website Prefecture website
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