The Creuse

The Creuse is one of the three departments that make up the Limousin region and takes it name from the Creuse river. The department was created after the French Revolution in 1790 and is identified by the number 23. This can most noticeably be seen on vehicle registration or "immatraculation" plates. As with the majority of rural regions, the skilled men (masons, carpenters, plasterers etc ) left to work on elaborate building constructions in the larger towns, and between 1850 and 1950 more than half the population migrated. In french "Creuse" literally translates as hollow and mainly as a result of the migration of it's population,is one of the least populated region France with 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. The countryside therefore is un spoilt and breath-taking.

The department is bordered by the Corrèze, the Haute Vienne, l'Allier, Puy-du-Dome, Cher and Indre. The department is situated in the extreme north-west of the Massif Central. The Plateau des Millevaches occupies the south-east. The Plateau de Millevaches is the first high ground when approaching from the atlantic coast, and not surprisingly has a high rainfall. Snow is a certainty in winter, though the valleys ensure a warm days through the summer.

Archeological finds at Crozant show that the region has evidence of settlements dating as far back as 150,000 BC. There is further evidence of settlement between 450BC to the time of the Roman Occupation at Puy-de-Gaudy near Guéret.

The local population are known as "Creusoise" and the local dialect or patois known as Le Limousin can still be heard in conversation today, certainly amongst the older generation. In fact it was still the official language up until the XIV century, and was still the primary spoken language until the start of the XX century. It was around this time, however, that it was stopped from being taught in schools. The local Creusoise cuisine is simple yet delicious and is adapted to the poor growing conditions of the region. Traditional dishes include Flognarde (batter pudding, usually with fruit), Gateau Creusoise (hazelnut cake baked in a tile/terracotta dish), Gateau de pommes de terre (Potato cake) and Fondu Creusoise.

The region has 2 "arrondisments" or districts. The capital is Guéret and the sous prefecture can be found at Aubusson. Here you will also find the famous tapestry museum which is dedicated to over 600 years of tapestry production.






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