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The Limousin region of Central France


Regional Departments
Creuse, Corrèze, Haute Vienne.

Main Towns
Limoges, Brive-la-Gaillarde,Tulle, St-Junien, Aubusson.

The Limousin is the smallest region in France and the least populated. It lies between the Dordogne to the south and the Loire Valley to the north and takes its name from the capital, Limoges, known for centuries for its exquisite enamel and porcelain. Contemporary designs are as stunning as the traditional ones. Renoir began his artistic career in Limoges as a porcelain painter and you can see many of his pieces at the museum in the Bishop's Palace.



Dominated by a great Gothic cathedral, the city lies on the River Vienne and is a pleasant, prosperous town with lovely parks and gardens. The Boucherie is the medieval part of town with a warren of narrow streets and houses.

Unspoiled and still relatively unknown, the Limousin remains an area of outstanding natural beauty natural beauty. This is Richard the Lionheart country, a region of gentle hills and river valleys, lakes, high plateaux and forest, great feudal fortresses, Renaissance chateaux and ancient towns and villages.

The Creuse is known as the Lake District, a haven for country lovers, golfers, cyclists and walkers and a pastoral delight that has largely disappeared from Western Europe. It has some of the finest fishing in Europe; trout, carp, pike, salmon, bream, dace, chub, gudgeon, barbell, perch, black-bass. Quiet country roads make cycling enjoyable, safe and stress free. Large areas of woodland, non-intensive use of agricultural land and unpolluted air provide a thriving habitat for a diverse and fascinating array of bird life.

Aubusson, in the beautiful Creuse valley, has been famous as the centre for weaving fine tapestries and carpets since the 15th century. You can visit the workshops and see a collection at the museum. The valley was a source of inspiration for many painters including Claude Monet, who worked at Fresselines and continues to attract landscape painters, inspired by the beautiful gorges along the River Creuse.

The Corrèze, in the southern half of the region, is great riding country and there are many equestrian farms where you can hire horses by the hour or the day and which cater for families, children, novices and experienced riders. The National Stud and racecourse at Arnac-Pompadour are worth a visit as are the gardens of the chateau, given as a gift by Louis XV to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour.

Food

Excellent organic beef and lamb, hams, duck and goose, from which patés and fois gras are also made. A variety of fresh water fish dishes. A very good potato pie made with smoked ham and herbs and galettes, pancakes made without eggs or milk and eaten mostly as an accompaniment and to mop up juices, or drenched in honey with a dish of summer fruits marinated in a raspberry liqueur.
Chestnuts and mushrooms, cèpe, truffles, morilles, gathered in the forests with the nuts, are used in numerous dishes. The Corrèze is a great fruit growing area and blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and blackcurrant are used to make liqueurs, jams, tarts and pastries.
Small vineyards in Branceilles and Mégénie produce a good country wine. Beer has been seriously produced in Limousin for more than a hundred years. Fine chocolates and violet mustard from Brive.

Activities

Numerous rivers and a number of lakes, unpolluted and uncrowded, provide excellent fishing. Swimming, sailing, canoeing and water-skiing. Good walking, hiking, cycling country. Keen walkers can follow the pilgrim route of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Everywhere is well signposted and topographical maps are available in larger towns and cities. Several golf courses throughout the region.
Fairs and markets in most towns and villages on various days of the week and there are festivals of different kinds throughout the year.

Climate

Spring and autumn is probably the most spectacular time in the countryside, some rain, cooler mornings and evenings, reasonably warm during the day. Good long summers, some thunderstorms, cooler on the higher hills.

Travel

By Air
Ryanair and Flybe both fly to Limoges airport from the UK. Limoges also has daily flights from Paris and other European cities.

By Road
Limoges the Capital of Limousin is 680km from Calais and this should take around 6 hours on the motorway network.

By Train
Trains leave from Paris Gare d'Austerlitz for Limoges.


 
 
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