Limousin lies within the large central plateau of ancient granite and crystalline rock that make up the Massif Central (map) and has become more accessible in recent years due to new autoroutes through the area. It is the least populated area in France actually having fewer inhabitants than the city of Marseille. The regional capital of Limoges has been known as a center for fine porcelain and ceramics since the late 18th-century. Aubusson is famous for its colorful and sophisticated carpets and tapestries which have been coveted by royalty and aristocracy since the 1600's.
Limousin is mostly rural with thinly populated river valleys and forests of beech, chestnut, and birch trees. The French Oak orchards here provide distinctive character and flavour for barrels used in fine wine production.
Limousin Departmental Information
Notable Towns and Sights in the Limousin Region
|Aubusson (Creuse) is well-known for its tapestry and carpets which have been famous throughout the world since the 14th-century. The Musée Départemental de la Tapisserie here exhibits nearly 600 years of tapestry creation and production. This rich collection is composed of 17th, 18th and 19th-century tapestries and carpets. The Maison du Tapissier is a permanent exhibition here housed in an ancient Creusois house showing the history and traditions of tapestry as well as furniture of the period. (photo)|
|Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne (Corrèze) is one of the most beautiful medieval villages along the upper Dordogne river. The Abbatiale Saint-Pierre is a 12th century Romanesque abbey that was a stop on the Santiage de Compostella pilgrimage. The 17-18th century houses in the Faubourg de la Chapelle neighborhood near the Romanesque Chapelle des Pénitents is worth a stroll. Beaulieu|
|Brive-la-Gaillarde (Corrèze) has a medieval center in a commercial district with retail shops and various cafés. It is also the location of the city hall, the main police station, and the Labenche Museum of Art and History. A notable landmark outside the main city is the Pont Cardinal, a bridge which used to be a crossing point for travelers from Paris to Toulouse. Tourisme|
|Collonges-la-Rouge (Corrèze) was founded in the 8th-century and has beautiful and unique bright red sandstone architecture. Many of the village houses have turrets and the 11-15th century Romanesque church was built on the foundations of a 8th-century Benedictine priory and was later fortified with a tower-keep. It is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Mairie|
|Coussac-Bonneval (Haute-Vienne) has one of the region's most spectacular castles which is perched above the town. Coussac|
|Gimel-les-Cascades Corrèze) is a village situated amidst some of the most scenery in Limousin not far from Brive. The 15th-century church, Église Saint-Pardoux, is known for its 12th-century enamel reliquary. The cascades are three waterfalls that drop 470 feet (143m) into a gorge called the Inferno. Nearby are the trails of the Gorges de la Vallée de la Montane|
|Limoges (Haute Vienne) is a quiet town of half-timbered houses and narrow streets after having been ravaged during the Hundred Years War. In the 1770's the town became known for its porcelain. Notable here is the Musée National Adrien-Dubouché with more than 10,000 ceramic exhibits and the Musée Municipal de l'Evêche with 500 enamels and works of Renoir whom was born here. Also the Gothic cathedral of Saint-Etienne (photo), begun in 1273 and finished in 1888. It has a fine rood loft built in 1534 and the unusual partly octagonal bell tower. Saint-Michel-des-Lions, begun in 1364, houses the relics of Saint Martial and has noteworthy stained-glass windows from the 15th-16th centuries. The most striking feature is the 213 foot (65m) high tower, with a spire surmounted by a big bronze ball. Ville Limoges|
|Solignac (Haute Vienne) is a beautiful village south of Limoges on the river Briance. Notable here is the 250 foot long (75m) granite Romanesque abbey which has many interesting interior architectural features. There are also many hiking trails through the surrounding forested countryside. Renaissance de Solignac|
|Turenne (Corrèze) is a beautiful crescent-shaped medieval town known for its height and unique position on top of a cliff. It was the last independent feudal fiefdom in France and Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, a soldier and member of the ruling family here, was a Marshall of France under Louis the XIVth. The remains of the Château de Turenne include the 11th-century Tower of Caesar with a view of the Cantal mountains and the Dordogne valley and the 13th-century Clock Tower.|
|Uzerche (Corrèze) is a prosperous town which sits above the Vézère river. It is known for having withstood the many conflicts during the Middle Ages. Sights here include the Romanesque Église Saint-Pierre which dominates the town. Ville d'Uzerche|