Its name made legendary worldwide for beautiful porcelain, and more locally for the Limousin cattle farmed in the neighbouring countryside, Limoges is a town steeped in history but not afraid to embrace the new.
The trade secret that made Limoges famous is the kaolin found in the rich soil of Limousin which makes up the Limoges porcelain paste. Now the centre of porcelain production in France, many of the porcelain factories are available to visit, along with the National Museum of Porcelain that is another demonstration of pride in their work.
The centre of Limoges dates back to the 14th century with cobble-lined streets lined with various town shops. These streets saw the occupation of Edward, the Black Prince, who in 1370 massacred over 300 residents during the cruel siege, after which he was obliged to leave his post.
Another key historical monument is the gothic style Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, constructed over a long period from the 13th century to 1888. The key feature of the Cathedral is the tomb of the bishop Jean de Langeac engraved with scenes of the Apocalypse.
Limoges Town Hall is a beautiful building surrounded by flourishing gardens, a small taster of the sights to be found in this wonderful city. And across the road is the entrance to Limoges Aquarium, home to sharks, goldfish, and the axolotl, a unique species of salamander from Mexico. Built in 18881, the Aquarium du Limousin was originally used as an underground water reservoir for the town to avoid cholera epidemics. Now, for only 8,50 € per adult, you can discover the multi-coloured creatures that populate our seas.
A key stop on the tour of Limoges is a visit to the Centre Commercial Saint Martial, a massive shopping centre with over 60 boutiques. To stock up on affordable quality clothes, head to C&A. For some of the tastiest desserts around, stop at le Bistrot du Clos. There are many recognisable brands to be found, but there’s also the chance to discover something new.
The evening was spent at the festival of Confolens in a nearby town, enjoying the celebration of traditional folk dancing from countries around the world. I highly recommend this event, if only for the social party atmosphere which affected the entire town.
Our day trip to Limoges was a fascinating experience which we would happily repeat. At a reasonable drive away from the village of Balledent and other villages in the region, and home to a busy airport, Limoges should be a popular destination for any tourist.