The cliched image of France is all baguettes, garlic, and striped knitwear, but there’s a lot more to this rich culture than those stereotypes. Renowned for fine food, wine, and art, France is well represented in the attractions of Limoges.
Art in Craft
From ancient art to modern architecture, 2,000 years of history have moulded the city of Limoges into a town with a rich heritage, but its biggest claim to fame is as a centre for the manufacture of fine porcelain and enamelware. The discovery of china clay (kaolin) and petuntse deposits at Saint-Yrieix near Limoges in 1771 gave birth to a highly successful porcelain industry that remains France’s strongest performer in the field today. Visit the National Museum of Porcelain
in Limoges to see the most comprehensive collection of Limoges porcelain in the world. The town is full of shops stocked with this exquisite porcelain, in the form of serving pieces, statues, jewellery and the celebrated collectible Limoges boxes
Passion for Pate
Although purists would argue that the best foie gras comes from the Perigord, further south, Limoges is justifiably famous for the standard of its version of this goose or duck liver delicacy. Visit a traditional goose and duck farm, where you can buy foie gras, eggs, and goose- and duck-derived products. Or you could just dine at one of the many fine restaurants that specialise in foie gras. L'Amphitryon,
on Rue Boucherie, is regularly voted diners’ favourite restaurant in Limoges. The cuisine is delectable, and although dinner can be expensive, lunch represents reasonable value, particularly if you go for the set menu.
Cathedral of St Etienne
France is renowned for the quality of its Gothic architecture, and a prime example of this is the iconic cathedral of Limoges, on Rue Port-Panet. Built in the 12th century, this church is pretty awe-inspiring from the outside, but it reserves its real treasures for the interior. Marvel at its soaring arches and countless architectural flourishes, including a rood screen and pipe organs. If you visit in summer, you may even catch one of the magnificent organ recitals. The crypt is also open to the public, and entry is free.
Jardins de L’Eveche
The French invented the term bon vivant, and they certainly know how to relax and enjoy life. Savour the tranquility of your surroundings in the lovely Jardins de L’Eveche
, located between the cathedral and the river bank in Limoges. Quintessentially French, these gardens are the ideal retreat for a lazy afternoon or a delicious picnic. The garden is terraced and spills over with vivid flowers in the spring and summer.
Hire a car and enjoy a traditional French festival in the town of Angouleme, around 50 miles to the west of Limoges, in Charente. Climb the old walls of this fortified city to enjoy panoramic city views, and wander the quaint, quintessentially French alleys and winding streets, filled with historic buildings and inviting boutiques and restaurants. Festivals in Angouleme include the Circuit de Remparts
motor race and the International Comics Festival