Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition


(Briegus saltus, from Celtic briek, clay), an agricultural district of northern France, to the E. of Paris, bounded W. and S. by the Seine, N. by the Marne. It has an area of 2400 sq. m., comprising the greater part of the department of Seine-et-Marne, together with portions of the departments of Seine, Seine-et-Oise, Aisne, Marne and Aube. The western portion was known as the Brie française, the eastern portion as the Brie champenoise. The Brie forms a plateau with few eminences, varying in altitude between 300 and 500 ft. in the west, and between 500 and 650 ft. in the east. Its scenery is varied by forests of some size—the chief being the Forêt de Senart, the Forêt de Crécy and the Forêt d'Armainvilliers. The surface soil is clay in which are embedded fragments of siliceous sandstone, used for millstones and constructional purposes; the subsoil is limestone. The Yères, a tributary of the Seine, and the Grand Morin and Petit Morin, tributaries of the Marne, are the chief rivers, but the region is not abundantly watered and the rainfall is only between 20 and 24 in. The Brie is famous for its grain and its dairy products, especially cheeses.