Limoges is the capital of the Limousin and famous for its 19th Century porcelain, its spectacular medieval architecture and of course, its oak barrel production used in the fermenting of Cognac.
It’s a city of bustling quaint cobbled streets, pavement cafes and bars that stay open into the late hours, plus shows and festivals aplenty.
The old town of Limoges is a sight to behold. Narrow streets characterised by half-timbered buildings. Shops, predominantly independent business’s selling antiques, porcelain, cheese, chocolate, clothing and food. The atmosphere relaxed and tranquil. Unlike other cities of such picturesque beauty Limoges remains very genuine and unspoilt.
The bustling indoor market in Central Limoges sells every type of seasonal food imaginable, all of it delicious and produced locally. Vibrantly coloured flowers, fresh and weird vegetables, an aroma of crepes, chocolates, strawberries and seafood. A walk around this wonderful market is a sensory pleasure and a rainbow of colour accompanied by the calls of traditional French market traders.
Visit the quartier de la boucherie for a glance at the life of the butchers and their meat produce. Located in the historic district of the Château, the Rue de la Boucherie is one of the most picturesque streets of Limoges and owes its name to the many butchers shops that once existed here. The merrymaking (Frairie) small bellies is an annual and traditional gastronomic festival taking place every third Friday of October.
Limoges has become the generic name for the hard paste porcelain that was produced during the 18th, 19th, and into the 20th century in Limoges. It’s considered the finest hard paste porcelain in the world because of three very distinct characteristics. The ingredients, the firing process and the skilled artisans.
You can take in the sights of the city in various ways. At your own pace using maps you can follow the porcelain, its origin and international fame. You can take the petit train, a tourist train that takes you around the main tourist sites of the city, a relaxed one hour tour of the churches, museums, and places of interest. There are guided tours to experience the history of the city and marked paths to guide you around.
Must Sees of Limoges
The impressive Gare des Benedictins railway station was inaugurated in 1929. A magnificent dome of slate, engraved glass, copper, wrought iron and other materials. It was built on land that was once a Benedictines convent, hence, Gare des Benedictins. The inside of the station shows stained glass windows that bear numerous Limousin symbols. The gardens and fountains are truly mesmerising. Best seen on a sunny day!
The former bishop’s palace, The Fine Arts Museum of Limoges is a large 18th-century-style building, erected by the Brousseau brothers, containing some real treasures. Don’t hesitate to enter, they are free to admire: collection of enamels which are unique in the world (medieval champlevé enamel on copper, painted enamels from the Renaissance, as well as Art Deco and contemporary works), Impressionist paintings (including Renoir born in Limoges), and objects steeped in history (from Gallo-Roman Limoges and ancient Egypt). Visit www.museebal.fr
Founded in 1845 The Adrien Dubouché national porcelain museum was managed by Adrien Dubouché from 1865. A cultivated and philanthropic businessman, he dedicated a part of his fortune to enrich the museum to constitute an encyclopaedic collection allowing the recount of the Arts of Fire’s history through objects coming from all over the world. In 1881, it became a national museum and is now rich of about 15,000 objects.
The Museum of the resistance is located in the former convent of the Sisters-of-Providence. Completely renovated, this complex of 1,300 square metres offers a permanent exhibition of ten sequences from the declaration of war till after the Liberation (1939-45). The collections have been enriched with new objects and documents, such as newsreels, and now, thanks to new technologies, bring back the History of the citizens’ everyday life during this period.
Situated in the centre of Limoges Saint Etienne’s Cathedral is surrounded by stunning views, water displays, botanical gardens and street cafes. Constructed between 1273 and the end of the 19th Century, it is one of a few large Gothic monuments south of the River Loire. Saint-John gate is especially enhanced under night lighting. A dig in summer 2005, uncovered an exceptional baptistery, one of the biggest in France, at the foot of the cathedral.