Le Breuil sur Crouze and La Madone des Treize Vents
Le Breuil sur Crouze, at the crossroads of ancient roads
Le Breuil sur Crouze is located at the extreme southern tip of the Plain of Limagne, in the heart of the Brassac mining basin.
The town's history is closely linked to water.
It indeed developed at the confluence of the Allier and Couze d'Ardes, hence its name of Condède until the 9th century.
The name Breuil evolved from the Occitan Brohl, itself derived from the Gallic Broglium which meant 'small wood surrounding a wall or a hedge'.
Crouze was the local name given to the streams running down the volcanic mountains and flowing into the Allier.
The village also stood at the place where the ancient Roman road that linked Paris to the Languedoc - Le Chemin Francais - traversed the Allier and met the road that connected Lyon to Bordeaux.
Located at a major crossroads, Le Breuil sur Crouze naturally became an important trade centre.
Not only did the town charge a right of passage, but it was also renowned as soon as the 13th century for its fair which attracted people from the whole region.
The current castle was built in the 17th century in order to replace the 13th century fortress.
Once located between the village and the river, it now directly accesses the fortified town's main street.
It is also close to the 11th century parish church which was built with the local golden-pink arkose.
The little church boasts a beautiful Romanesque porch with columns with sculpted capitals, as well as superb interior murals.
Le Breuil sur Crouze mineral water source
In 1908, La Compagnie des Charbonnages du Centre de Brassac discovered a spring during the drilling of coal deposits.
One of the holes, drilled at a depth of 200m, indeed produced water and not coal!
Soon, the inhabitants realized that this water had the peculiarity of accelerating the healing of wounds.
La Compagnie d’Hydroxydase was thus founded in 1912 in order to exploit the source.
This water, still recognized for its therapeutic virtues, is sold only in pharmacy.
The source is known as Source Marie-Christine.
La Madone de la Paix - Madone des Treize Vents
The statue of Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix (Our Lady of Peace) was erected in 1939 on the Colline des Treize Vents (Hill of the Thirteen Winds), hence its other name.
The Virgin with Child stands on the top of a open circular chapel which houses an altar.
It was inaugurated in 1945, and boasts superb views over the surrounding country side where it can be seen from afar.
Le Breuil sur Crouze is one of these many little towns that are worth the detour!
Department of Puy-de-Dôme
Coordinates: Lat 45.470851 - Long 3.263075