Limoges is the capital of the Haute-Vienne department of the Limousin region of France.
If you are staying in the vicinity, Limoges is well worth a visit. There are various sights of interest here, although it doesn’t usually feature highly on the tourist ‘to visit’ list.
Dating back from the Middle Ages the town has a long history. The early prosperity of Limoges was closely linked to the porcelain industry. When you explore Limoges there are some very fine buildings to visit. Most notable includes the train station, town hall and most impressive of all would be the magnificent Gothic style cathedral of Saint-Etienne. Constructed over an extensive period from the 13th century and carrying on right through to the 19th century.
A heritage to the rich past of Limoges are the grand half-timbered houses, which you can see in the Cour du Temple.
Centered in two main areas are the main sites of Limoges at the tourist office on Boulevard de Fleurus, then first explore the ‘Quartier Historique du Chateau’ with the church of Saint Michel and the Village de la Boucherie, then more on to the surrounding area of the Cathedrale Saint Etienne.
The Quartier Historique du Chateau is named strangely as there is no Chateau, however they are various other places you can visit. In this part of Limoges, the most important monument is the Church of Saint Michel des Lions. This church is distinctive with two stone lions from Gallo Roman times guarding the door and a copper ball on the top of the bell tower. The stained-glass windows are in rich jewel colours.
The Place de la Motte is near the church of Saint Michel and is where you can visit the covered market in Limoges. Its an attractive building with red brick markings and blue tiles. On the edge of the Village de la Boucherie is the market.
Families belonging to the brotherhood of the butchers lived in this district in the 14th century. This is a quarry area with half-timbered buildings and interesting shops. Number 36 can be visited and still has its original furniture.
The Saint Aurelien’s chapel is situated in the middle of the Boucherie area. It’s a tiny chapel built in the 15th century which housed the relics of the Patron Saint of Butchers. The chapel has an unusual steeple with wooden tiles. The church of Saint Pierre and the Verdurier Pavilion is placed at the opposite side of this area of Limoges. Back in the day the Verdurier Pavilion was originally built as a cold storage room for meat imported from Argentina. Now it’s a wonderful building decorated with floral decorations and stoneware mosaics and is used for art exhibitions.
The Place Denis Dussoubs is on the eastern edge of the quarter. This square is not your average one, as its round and is a lively ‘square’ The ochre coloured buildings are now home to cafes and restaurants.
You can explore the Quartier Historique de la Cite and the Cathedral of Saint Etienne on the other side of the Boulevard de Fleurus. The Cathedral was started in 1273 and took six centuries to complete. Usually large gothic style cathedrals are only ever found on the north of the Loire.
Next to the cathedral are the beautiful bishops’ gardens which are large formal gardens with lawns and ponds which lead to a viewpoint over much of Limoges.
Limoges is also very proud of its train station. Its an impressive building with a 61-metre-high dome both of which are topped with copper. It also has amazing Art Deco stained glass windows.
Displayed in museums in Limoges are the fine porcelain works, such as enamel and china. The National Porcelain museum has some impressive examples, produced by local companies and other examples
from around the world.
More important historical examples of the enamel and porcelains for which Limoges is famous for can be viewed in Bishops Palace Museum (the Musee de l’Eveche) a large 18th century building.
You can also see a collection of Impressionist paintings including some by Limoges born artist Renoir.
Limoges has a lovely atmosphere and definitely not one to be missed.