Limoges, a small city located in the centre west of France, has a surprisingly rich cultural life. Every year, it hosts a huge number of different fairs and conventions, from the Foire des Saints Innocents, a Christmas market established in 1566 which takes place on 28th December, to Lire à Limoges, a literary festival which attracts 60,000 visitors every year. It also plays host to Le Festival 1001 Notes, which strives to maintain Classical music’s place in the modern world by inviting young musicians to perform and record their work. If music is not your thing, then maybe you would prefer Itinéraires Photographiques en Limousin, or le Marché des Artistes. Although these markets and fairs only take place at certain times of year, it is always possible to appreciate Limoges’ artistic scene, by visiting one of its many glass or ceramic workshops.
As well as this buzzing cultural activity, the city has also conserved a unique and tangible trace of its history. During the town’s Roman period, underground aqueducts were constructed, and in the Middle Ages, to make space for storage, these were extended into a network of tunnels, cellars and wells. This hidden city can still be visited today, and is a great place to go if you want to get a feel for the history of today’s town.
- Did you know that people who come from Limoges are called les Limogeauds?
TO SEE AND DO IN THE CITY
- La Cathédrale Saint-Etienne: the construction of this cathedral lasted from 1273 to 1888, and the six centuries of history which unfurled throughout the project are evident in the style of the building itself. When walking around, you will be able to see features from a variety of architectural movements, including Romanesque and Gothic. (see below)
- Le Quartier de la Boucherie: named after the many Butcher’s Shops that lined its streets in the Middle Ages, this area of the city is full of attractive timber framed house. It is also home to the small museum la Maison de la Bucherie, and la Chapelle St-Aurélien, which was built in 1475 to the patron saint of butchers!
- Le Jardin de l’Evêché: these tranquil botanical gardens are attached to the cathedral, and are laid out in terraces which step down to the river. As well a plethora of pretty flowers, it also contains a collection of different species of fern, a herb garden and a vegetable plot.
- Le Musée National Adrien Dubouché: It would be a shame to visit Limoges and not go to this museum, as it celebrates the city’s artistic tradition with a collection of glass, enamel and ceramic pieces.
- La Gare de Limoges-Bénédictins: recently voted one of the world’s most beautiful stations by Vanity Fair, the station itself is a reason to visit Limoges. French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) certainly felt inspired when he chose it to appear in the Chanel No.5 advert starring Audrey Tautou.
Limoges airport is accessible from a number of UK and French airports with budget airlines, making it a great place to meet up with friends. You can also get there by train in just 3 hours from Paris, to see the world-famous station.
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