I really enjoyed this new postcard sent by my French friend that combines, at the top; an old view of Bénévent l’Abbaye and the lower portion shows what the street looks like today. Bénévent l’Abbaye community is located in central France in Creuse department, Limousin region.
The church looks basically the same in both views but a closer inspection shows that some slight modifications were made to the steeple during the 100 years or so between the photographs. The clock was removed, as have projections on the steeple sides that I would probably call “dormers.” The buildings along the street no longer have awnings but the iron balcony is unchanged. One of the more noticeable differences is the lack of automobiles in the top picture and all the cars parked along the curbs in the bottom photo.
Creuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution (1790), is named after the Creuse River and was formerly part of the province of La Marche. Marche first appeared as a separate fief in the mid 10th century. It changed hands several times beginning with William III, Duke of Aquitaine gave it to one of his vassals who then took the title of count, through various other families until Philip IV of France seized it in 1308, later in 1327 it passed to the House of Bourbon, then the family of Armagnac and back to the Bourbons. Still later it was seized again, this time by Francis I and became part of the French crown.
As trivia notes, Creuse in 1886 became the third town in France to receive public electricity and a few years later the first to have a telephone line. L'Abbaye is one of those communities along the Way of St. James pilgrimage and is marked by the traditional shell emblem in the pavement.
This region of France is mostly rolling hills and steep valleys with woodlands but no commercial vineyards. The main farming is beef cattle and sheep. The Creuse River has several dams that supply water and also hydroelectricity.
The postcard above, also sent by my friend, shows La Creuse with ground fog and gives a little idea of what the countryside looks like. The photo has been cropped a little because it was a wider than usual postcard.
For more information about L’Abbaye and Creuse, please see: