Limousin is the name of the old province surrounding the town of Limoges. The region is world renowned for Limoges porcelain and enamels.In the countryside you will find utter peace and tranquillity, spectacular plunging wooded hills and valleys, wild open spaces, and lakes rivers and streams which tumble through picturesque valleys.
The Limousin region of France borders the Dordogne to the south west and the Loire Valley to the north. It takes its name from the capital Limoges, which is known for its exquisite enamel and porcelain. The city lies in hilly country on the River Vienne, dominated by a great Gothic cathedral. It is a pleasant prosperous town with many parks and gardens, the Boucherie is the old quarter with narrow mediaeval streets and houses.
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 where the River Creuse flows through wild gorges.
Still relatively unknown, Limousin lies roughly in the centre of France and has preserved much of its natural beauty. It is a region of hills, river valleys and lakes, high plateaux and forest, great feudal fortresses, Renaissance chateaux and mediaeval towns and villages.
The Corrèze, in the southern half of the county, 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, Madam de Pompadour.
Excellent organic beef and lamb, hams, duck and goose, from which patés and fois gras are 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, fermented 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.
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.
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.