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Towns, Cities & Villages

What-to-see-Towns-Cities-and-villages-Aubusson

The Limousin is a region typified by open countryside, a third of which is forested. With Limoges as its capital city, the region reaches to the west from the foothills of the Massif Central.



The Haute-Vienne & Limousin possesses an extremely rich architectural heritage. Roman art left us the collegial churches of Dorat and Eymoutiers, the Solignac Monastry Abbey and numerous village churches. There are towns of character, some of the 'most beautiful villages' in France, Chateaux & churches to discover at La Maison de Cromac. Small outdoor markets and charming fetes - some dating back hundreds of years - are typical of the region which jealously guards its traditions.

Highlights of the area.

La Souterraine

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Lively market town and the second largest town in La Creuse after Gueret. The bell tower of the church contains a statue of the "Black Madonna". Part of the old city walls still remain with the city entrance at Porte de St. Jean. The town is on the pilgrim route of St. Jacques de Compostella.

Geuret

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Gueret, a small town with a population of 15,000, is the departmental capital of Creuse. It is located deep in the heart of rural France.

The town caters well for those who enjoy water sports. It's nearby lake, the Lac de Courtille, is popular with the town's residents during summer and is used for swimming and other water activities. The river Creuse flows nearby the town.

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Those wishing to stay dry can enjoy the region's rolling hills, dotted with castles and churches. Gueret remains an interesting and safe town in which to spend a relaxing break. There are lots of places to explore like the Maze & the wolf park, check out the things to do page

Saint Léonard de Noblat - a mediaeval town

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St Léonard de Noblat is a beautiful mediaeval town that lies in the verdant countryside of the Limousin region in southern central France, to the east of the city of Limoges. The town occupies a commanding position on top of a hill looking down onto the River Vienne, and out over the lush pasture land, lovely lakes and pretty woodlands for which the Limousin is so famous. St Léonard is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St Léonard de Noblat is the home town of several famous people, not only of Léonard de Noblat. The bicycle racer Raymond Poulidor came from here as did the chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac. You can discover more about the beautiful porcelain made in the region by visiting one of the three working porcelain factories in the town. Then there is a fascinating museum dedicated to the art of paper making, which is set in a restored 15th century paper mill, le Moulin de Got. Paper manufacture was another traditional economic force in St Léonard. It is also possible to see the tomb of St Léonard himself, at the pretty little 11th century church in the town.

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St Léonard has plenty to offer in terms of town life as well as history. There are excellent shops, supermarkets and services to be found locally, making everyday life relaxing and simple, including a cinema and a library. The town has range of restaurants and bars too, where you can enjoy the acclaimed locally produced specialities such as Limousin beef, apples, chestnuts and mushrooms... the cuisine is traditionally simple, rustic, delicious and hearty.

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There are lots of events, shows, festivals and carnivals held in the town throughout the year, as well as markets, including night markets in the summer and a Christmas market.

Rochechouart

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A scenic french hill village, in the Limousin, Rochechouart is built on a huge meteorite and is famous for its twisted church spire. As well as a selection of shops, banks, bars and restaurants, Rochechouart also has it's own small lake and beach area suitable for sunbathing and fishing. The town and surrounding countryside is overlooked by a picturesque chateau that is now home to a modern art gallery open to the public all year round. There is a magnificent chateau perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Grain and Vayres river valleys. This is the home of the museum of contemporary art.

Mortemart (Haute Vienne)

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Situated 40km north of Limoges and close to the Charente, Mortemart is a pretty mediaeval village officially listed as "one of the most beautiful villages in France" and built around its 10th century castle. The Château des Ducs was the birth place of the Marquise de Montespan, a famous mistress of Louis XIV of France.

Segur le Chateau, (Correze)

Listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France, Segur le Chateau, in the Correze region of Limousin, is dominated by the fortified castle built on a steep rocky outcrop overlooking the Auvezere River. Take a leisurely stroll around the peaceful, tranquil village with its turreted and half-timbered houses, spiral staircases, mullioned windows and narrow streets and alleyways decorated with flowers. Visit the arboretum which forms part of a botanical walk and discover over 60 species of plants.

Le Dorat

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Has a magnificent roman church built between the 9th and 12th centuries and fortified in the 15th century. A lovely medieval town with a market on the 13th of each month. There is an English garden, magnificent architecture, cobbled streets and two convents. Here, you can also visit the famous Limoges pottery factory shop.

Bellac

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Founded in the middle ages with a 12th century church and many 16th to 18th century houses. It's parks and squares are most attractive and pleasant to sit in watching the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets. The playright Jean Giraudoux was born here and Bellac has opened a museum in his memory. Bellac has two weekly markets on a Wednesday and Saturday morning and a trade fair on the 1st of each month. It is a thriving shopping town with many cultural and sporting events taking place throughout the year. In July the Jean Giraudoux Festival attracts a high standard of theatre, music and dance.

Châteauponsac - a lovely historic town

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Châteauponsac is a lovely historic town that is located in the Haute-Vienne department of the Limousin region. With a full complement of interesting sites and monuments, Châteauponsac is also well situated for discovering all the natural beauty of the Limousin, and for visiting all the main attractions of this region.

There's plenty to see and do in Châteauponsac. The old town oozes charm, and many a pleasant hour can be spent simply walking the old streets and enjoying the atmosphere. Sights of interest include the Roman road and bridge over the River Gartempe, the 11th century Church of Saint Thyrse (a listed historical monument), an excellent museum housed in a former Benedictine priory that traces the history of the Limousin back through the ages, the pilgrim Chapel of Our Lady of All Goodness, remains of the ancient town, and the historic district of Châteauponsac Fauberg de Moustier.

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Châteauponsac is pretty lively in the summer months and attracts holidaymakers and sightseers. This means that it has become used to supplying the needs of visitors, and offers plenty of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants for your entertainment and everyday needs, including that all important bakery and of course hairdressers! There are also schools, library facilities and a cinema in the town.

Châteauponsac is notable for its traditional arts and crafts and the artisans of the town are happy to help visitors to discover their work and the secrets of their crafts. Many operate an open doors policy which can be a fascinating experience. Châteauponsac also holds various markets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, so be sure to try a bit of authentic French style shopping here. Don't forget your basket!

Bessines-sur-Gartempe

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The picturesque village of Bessines sur Gartempe is found in the lovely Limousin countryside, in the department of the Haute-Vienne. The village is so well equipped with local amenities that you may not feel the need to stray far away for quite some time! Shops include a couple of bakers, a butcher's, a wine cave, a florist's, a post office and a newsagent's, in addition to no less than three supermarkets! Other services offered are several banks, cafés, numerous restaurants, doctors and vets.  Main market day is the 11th day of each month, during the summer months there are markets on Thursday afternoon and Sunday mornings. There's also local markets at the surrounding villages.

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Lake Sagnet: A 24 hectares lake with a sandy beach and life guard during the months of July and August, restaurant, bar and play area for small children again ideal for mountain biking, walking, running, fishing, pedalos, swimming etc.

The village is not just attractive and well equipped, it is also historic. The patrimony boasts a Romanesque church, a Cathar bridge, an 18th century cross and a ruined castle from the Middle Ages.

Montmorillon

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Amust for the scholars amongst you as it is renowned for it's literature. A book lovers paradise. The town spreads out either side of the river Gartempe. There is a lovely restaurant overlooking the river where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Famous for its annual Book Fair, the city houses a magnificent restored medieval quarter with three major buildings of the Romanesque (the Octagon, the Notre-Dame church, the Saint-Laurent and Ste-Catherine crypt). This area hosts since 2000 twenty professionals from the City of Written and Crafts Book: librarians, booksellers, calligraphers, painters, potters.

The territory is also known for its culinary specialties: crushed, stuffed Poitevin and the famous macarons!

St. Junien - Glove Capital

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If you decide to slip your hand into a glove while in France then the chances are it came from the beautiful town of Saint-Junien, set amongst stunning rolling countryside in the Limousin. Seven workshops are responsible for keeping almost half a million French hands warm every year. The town is named after a devoutly religious hermit who would use the waters of a sacred spring to cure those who sought him out.

The hermit's popularity was so immense that when he died his funeral was conducted by the Bishop of Limoges and an impressive tomb was constructed around his body. The religious significance of the site grew until eventually a monastery, and then the town we know today, was created around it. Despite it's spiritual atmosphere, the town became a hotbed of resistance during the Second World War. Troops heading towards the Normandy coast to take on the D-Day invasion found themselves held up here after a railway bridge was destroyed giving the Allies crucial time.

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If you enjoy painting then a short walk will take you to the perfect spot for setting up your canvass. Through the small lane next to the Porcelain factory you'll discover Site Carrot where a number of painters, including of course Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, were inspired to produce some of their most beautiful paintings.

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St-Junien has a fantastic wealth of architectural heritage, chief of which is the Monastery of St-Junien. This impressive building was constructed in the late 11th Century in a typically Romanesque-Limousin style. The main façade was only completed a century later, while the square chevet is from the 13th Century. Once you step inside keep your eyes open for the wonderful frescoes from the 12th and 13th Centuries that are dotted around. St-Junien's tomb, a triumph of 12th Century Limousin sculpting, can be found behind the main alter.

Aubusson

The historic town of Aubusson, built along the valley of the Creuse River near the "Plateau de Millevaches" northeast of Limoges, has been famous worldwide for its tapestries and carpets since the 14th Century. The Aubusson Tapestry trade is still thriving today, with about twenty workshops preserving a range of traditional skills -designing, spinning and dyeing, and the Tapestry Museum has permanent exhibitions.

Confolens

Is a beautiful town with the river Vienne dividing it. For two weeks in August there is a world music festival where participants attend from all over the world. A must do if you are here during that time. Nearby there is a velo track for the energetic amongst you.

Limoges

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Famous for it's pottery and enamel. There are restaurants, lovely old buildings, the butchers quarter with it's own tiny church La Chapelle de St. Aurlian, parks, the famous cathedral, markets, aquarium, nightspots, fantastic shopping and museums. Do visit the market and experience a meal in one of the trader's restaurants.

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There is also a flea market held in the vicinity of the cathedral on the second Sunday of each month. The train station, which was rebuilt after a fire, is well worth a visit. The architecture is magnificent.

For further more detailed information on the Regions capital, its history and things to do there, click here

Curemonte

Curemonte is a mediaeval village near Brive. It is situated in a strategic historical position on a ridge overlooking a valley and boasts three châteaux, a 12th century church, a wheat market (halle à grains), la noble demeure de la Johannie and houses decorated with turrets and shields. It is listed as "one of the most beautiful villages in France" with 3 castles.

Collonges-la-Rouge

This village, which owes its name to its strikingly beautiful red-sandstone buildings, is another of the seven "most beautiful villages in France" to be found in the Limousin. It is situated 23 kilometres southeast of Brive close to two other beautiful villages - Curemonte and Turenne. You will love exploring the winding narrow streets and alleys and turreted grand houses, and you could finish off by a visit to the 11th century Roman church.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

A taste of the Limousin

There are many gastronomic delights to savour in the Limousin region, from Limousin beef to cherry claffouti and chestnuts to the Pomme du Limousin

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