La Courtine has seen its physiognomy changed with the establishment of a military training camp of the highest order: it is today ranked the 1st national camp for its capacity (4,000 men) and the 5th for its size. Even though military activity no longer generates as much life in the market town as it used to, in 2016, it was still hosting an average of 1,200 men per day.
Another economic activity, the Alsapan factory, specialising in the manufacture of kit furniture, employs 150 people.
The Museum of Remembrance
La Croix de la Mariette
As you go up to the exit of the wood, when you reach the level of a meadow, you will notice a magnificent beech tree. Don’t hesitate to go around it and see the Mariette Cross at its foot.
Mariette Roudeix, from the village of Cro Charpeau, who was rich, very pious and widowed, had lost her son. So she had this stele built (being very Catholic) which moreover delimited her agricultural land. This cross is located near the old château of St Denis of which no trace remains.
The creation of the camp
L’Arbre de l’Empie
The Bardet tree was one of the four points that marked the territory of the Châtelain of La Courtine (château close to the church destroyed by order of Richelieu).
The tree died and the owner of the land, Emile Combas, wanted to replace it but did not do so before his death.
His son Christian, known as the Empie, made this wish come true with the mayor, a priest and the people around, over a simple meal. Later, this new tree was destroyed; the party was repeated for a few years but takes place.
Church of Saint-Denis
The parish of St-Denis was first dominant, then changed its status during the Revolution, becoming a village of La Courtine.
Although the date of construction of the church is not known, it was closed in 1898 for security reasons. Nature took over the place and the building collapsed in 1941-1942.
Since 2003, the Association of the Friends of St-Denis has been working to improve the site, making it possible to maintain the celebration of mass on the 1st Sunday of October in honour of the village saint.
L'étang du Grattadour
Departing from the camper van area. Go up towards the boulodrome, go through this it and go down the steps to find the D982.
- Take it on the right and then follow the first road on the left in the direction of Cros Charpeaud. Turn right after the railway lines.
- After the bridge over the Liege, take a trail on the right that climbs through the fir plantation. When you arrive at the hardwoods, this path is a little more marked and then becomes a track. Leave several paths on the right. After the several-hundred-year-old hardwood that protects the cross of the Mariette, continue to the road. Follow it to the right for 500 m.
- Fork right onto the track which descends through the undergrowth to the road.
- Follow it to the right. Pass the ruins of Saint-Denis, cross the Liege again and then the railway. Follow the RD 982 to the right. Entering La Courtine.
- At the former entrance to the military camp, turn left onto the D25 towards Beissat, then right onto the lane that leads towards the pond. Take the trail around the lake. Return to the starting point via Avenue Jules Tufféry.
Close to the military camp of La Courtine, shooting takes place regularly. Don’t worry; it only happens inside the military compound.
Topo fiche Illustrated map available at the start of the itinerary at the La Courtine camper van area.
Access and parking
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