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This article is about the French department. For other uses, see Indre (disambiguation).
Prefecture building of the Indre department, in Châteauroux
Prefecture building of the Indre department, in Châteauroux
Coat of arms of Indre
Coat of arms
Location of Indre in France
Location of Indre in France
Coordinates: 46°46′N 1°36′E / 46.767°N 1.600°E / 46.767; 1.600Coordinates: 46°46′N 1°36′E / 46.767°N 1.600°E / 46.767; 1.600
Country France
Region Centre
Prefecture Châteauroux
Subprefectures Le Blanc
La Châtre
 • President of the general council Louis Pinton
 • Total 6,791 km2 (2,622 sq mi)
Population (1999)
 • Total 231,139
 • Rank 81st
 • Density 34/km2 (88/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 36
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 13
Communes 247
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Indre (French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃dʁ]) is a department in the centre of France named after the river Indre. The inhabitants of the department are called Indriens. Indre is part of the current region of Centre (Val de Loire) and is surrounded by the departments of Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Cher, Creuse, Vienne, and Haute-Vienne. The préfecture (capital) is Châteauroux and there are five districts with subpréfectures at Le Blanc, La Châtre, Issoudun, Argenton-sur-Creuse and Châtillon-sur-Indre.


Indre is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, by order of the National Constituent Assembly.[1] The new departments were to be uniformly administered and approximately equal in size and population to one another. The department was created from part of the former province of Berry.[1]

Before the Roman conquest, the Celtic Bituriges tribe occupied an area that included Indre, Cher, and part of Limousin. Their capital was Avaricum (Bourges), and another important settlement was at Argenton-sur-Creuse. The area then became part of Roman Gaul after its conquest by Julius Caesar around 58 BC, and enjoyed a period of stability. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, the Frankish tribes living in Gaul were united under the Merovingians, and succeeded in conquering most of the country in the sixth century AD. From this time, the Franks controlled most of Gaul and the Carolingian Empire was the last stage of their rule. The Carolingian dynasty reached its peak with the crowning of Charlemagne and after his death in 814, it began to fragment. The Carolingian territories were divided into three sections in 843 at the Treaty of Verdun, and the area that is now the department of Indre, became part of West Francia. In 869, the king of Middle Francia died without leaving a legitimate heir, and eventually part of that kingdom was added to West Francia to effectively form the medieval Kingdom of France.[2]

A castle was built at Châteauroux in the late tenth century. In the eleventh century, the lords of Châteauroux were powerful in the region; their "principality" covered two thirds of the current Department of Indre and they had their own coinage.[3]


Indre is a department in central France and is part of the region of Centre-Val de Loire. The capital and largest town in the department is Châteauroux. To the north of Indre lies Loir-et-Cher, to the east Cher, to the south lies Creuse and Haute-Vienne, to the southwest lies Vienne, and to the northwest lies Indre-et-Loire. Most of the department is relatively level plains in the broad Loire Valley.[4]

The area of the department is 2,269 square miles (5,880 km2) and it is some 60 miles (97 km) from north to south and some 54 miles (87 km) wide. The land is undulating and slopes gently towards the northwest. The main rivers are the Creuse, the Claise and the Indre.[5] The Creuse, a tributary of the Vienne, is 264 kilometres (164 mi) long and has been impounded in several places; at the time it was built in 1926, the Eguzon Dam was the largest dam in Europe.[6] The Claise is 88 kilometres (55 mi) long and is a tributary of the Creuse. The Indre is a longer waterway and flows centrally through the department from south to north, through the major towns of La Châtre, Châteauroux and Loches. It is a tributary of the Loire, joining it at Chinon in the neighbouring department of Loir-et-Cher.[5]

Indre is divided into four natural regions; North Boischaut is undulating land with an altitude between 80 and 215 m (260 and 710 ft) and occupies the northeast of the department, South Boischaut is hilly and lies in the south and southeast, a marshy tract of land known as Brenne is in the southwestern part of the department, and the flat, dry, flinty limestone plateau of Champagne berrichonne is in the east and continues into Cher. The highest point of the department is near the town of Pouligny-Notre-Dame where the land rises to 459 m (1,506 ft) above sea level.[4] The department is made up of 1,682,560 acres (680,910 ha) of land of which 992,214 acres (401,535 ha) are under arable cropping, 210,794 acres (85,305 ha) are grassland, 166,607 acres (67,423 ha) are woodland, 44,751 acres (18,110 ha) are under grapes and 18,273 acres (7,395 ha) are gardens and orchards. The remaining land is heathland, urban land and waterways.[5]

The economy is mostly agricultural. In the past many sheep were raised in the department and woollen yarn was the main manufactured product. There is also a linen industry as well as the manufacture of hosiery and paper. The department has some minerals in the form of coal, iron, stone, marble and clay.[5]


The President of the General Council is Louis Pinton of the Union for a Popular Movement.

Party seats
Miscellaneous Right 9
Union for a Popular Movement 8
Socialist Party 7
New Centre 2


Châteauroux, the capital of the department, is a historic town. It was originally called "Château Raoul", the present day château which now houses the préfecture being built on the site of a castle constructed in the tenth century by Raoul le Large, lord of Déols. In 1188 the castle was held by Philippe Auguste who was concerned in protecting the drapery business centred in the town and along the banks of the River Indre from fraud. From 1612 to 1736 it was a duchy of the House of Condé and from 1742 to 1744 was under the control of the Marquise de la Tournelle.[7] The Indre department has two villages which have been classified among the most beautiful villages of France: Saint-Benoît-du-Sault and Gargilesse-Dampierre.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schama, Simon (1989). Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York: Knopf. 
  2. ^ Nelson, Janet L. (1996). The Frankish World, 750–900. A&C Black. pp. 133–144. ISBN 978-1-85285-105-7. 
  3. ^ Archives départementales de l’Indre, Berry médiéval : à la découverte de l’Indre au Moyen Âge, catalogue d’exposition, Châteauroux, Archives départementales de l’Indre, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Philips' Modern School Atlas. George Philip and Son, Ltd. 1973. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0-540-05278-7. 
  5. ^ a b c d The Encyclopædia Britannica, or, Dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature. Adam & Charles Black. 1856. pp. 376–377. 
  6. ^ "Eguzon: Creuse's River Valley". L'Ecole Buissonniaire. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Scholastic Library Publishing (2005). Encyclopedia Americana: Cathedrals to Civil War. Scholastic Library Pub. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-7172-0138-9. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Indre (department) at Wikimedia Commons