Located in west-central France, Limoges is the capital of the Limousin region. Limoges is best known for making the oak barrels that are used in Cognac production, enamel production dating back to medieval times and as well as the producing fine porcelain.
Served by Air France, Ryanair and Air Linair, Limoges Airport is a short taxi-ride from town. Flights are available from Paris, Nice and Lyon and some cities in the UK. There is no airport shuttle available.
There are 10 daily train services running from Paris to Limoges, with the journey taking approximately three hours at a cost of €41.50. Services from other local and regional destinations are also provided.
Once you arrive in Limoges to take in the sights of the town and surrounding Limousin region hiring a car is necessary as there are only limited public transport services available. Vehicles can be hired through ADA or National-Citer.
Limoges was founded in 10BC by the Romans, and featured all the typical features of a roman town including an amphitheater. The city was evangelized by St Martial around 250 AD, and an abbey dedicated to the saint was constructed in the 9th century. The town flourished into an artistic centre as a result of the large library within the Abbey. In the 13th century the city was divided into two fortified settlements: the castle and the town proper, not uniting as a single city again until 1792. The Abbey of St Martial was destroyed during the French Revolution as a symbol of the Ancien Régime. The discovery of kaolinite near Limoges led to the development of the local porcelain industry at the turn of the 19th century.
With a variety of historical sites and vibrant bar scene thanks to the large local population of college students, there is much to see and do in the small city of Limoges.
- Visit the crypt of St Martial which dates back to the 10th century and was not discovered until the 1960s. Ruins of the Roman amphitheatre were also unearthed at around this time.
- The Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges features a beautiful semi-octagonal bell tower and Renaissance attributes including sculpted scenes of the Apocalypse and a rood screen.
- The 14th century Chapelle Saint-Aurélien is also worth a visit to see the medieval statues and artworks from the Baroque period housed within.
- The church of St-Michel-des-Lion contains stained glass windows dating back to the 15th century, a 65m high tower topped with a bronze ball and relics of St Martial.
- Musée National Adrien Dubouché features collections of ceramics and enamelware for which Limoges is renowned.
- Sample some of the local delicacies at the meat-lover’s restaurant Les Petits Ventres. Or for a cheap hearty feed head to the main market hall diner Le Bistrot d’Olivier. If venturing out after dark and looking for a classically French experience, check out one of the city’s longest standing nightspots, Le Duc Etienne.