Capital of the verdant Limousin region in central France, the city of Limoges sits on the River Vienne, west of the Massif Central mountain range.

Founded in the first century BC as a market town on a crossroads of two popular Roman routes, Limoges separated into two rival fortified towns during the middle ages.

The city’s golden age came with the renaissance and the discovery of kaolin clay (the fine white clay used to make porcelain) in nearby Saint-Yrieix-la-Perchein.

The porcelain industry transformed Limoges, prompting the establishment of factories and Kaolin mines, which brought immense wealth to the area. The 1855 World’s Fair in Paris earned Limoges’ porcelain international acclaim, from which time it has been regarded as the world’s finest. An important part of the industry’s success is its policy of working with the most famous contemporary artists; Limoges’ most famous son, the painter Renoir, quickly saw his talent for painting recognised through his work on porcelain.

A hotbed of resistance during the Second World War, Limoges was liberated by 20,000 resistance members (maquisards).

While there is much to see in Limoges, such as the splendid medieval old-town with its half-timbered buildings, it is the surrounding Limousin countryside which drives its tourist industry. Limoges is an excellent base for visiting the surrounding lakes, medieval towns, rivers and national parks of Millevaches en Limousin and Périgord Limousin. The volume of traffic to Limoges airport is also significantly increased by British passengers visiting the neighbouring region of Dordogne.


Foremost amongst the city’s attractions is its magnificent medieval cathedral, which stands comparison to the other great gothic cathedrals of Chartres, Reims, Yorkminster and Notre-Dame in Paris. Like many buildings in Limoges, it is tinted a faint rose colour by the local granite used in its construction, which began in 1273.

Next to the cathedral is the Evêché Municipal ‘Arts of Fire’ Museum. It documents the industries which made Limoges famous over a 1000-year period, principally medieval enamelling and porcelain making.

Another of the city’s landmarks is the impressive Gare des Benedictins railway station, designed by the architect Roger Gonthier.

Around Limoges, the River Vienne offers many excellent walks and drives, taking in sights such as Rochechouart Châteaux. There are also many interesting attractions within easy reach of the city, such as the medieval town of Soignac with its delightful abbey church and the Roman baths of Chassenon; while weavers in the town of Aubusson have been creating tapestries for 600 years. These sites follow the route of Richard-Coeur-de-Lion, named after King Richard Lionheart who died of his wounds in Limousin.

The countryside is particularly idyllic on the Plateau de Millevaches around Eymoutiers, as well as in Meymac and La Courtine. There is also a mountain railway that offers spectacular views between Limoges and Ussel.


In the workshops of Limoges, porcelain makers practice their trade in front of customers, while shops throughout the city sell new and antique porcelain.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Dining in Limoges is inexpensive and its restaurants serve predominantly traditional French cuisine. The old town offers a varied wealth of dining options, particularly on the rue de la Boucherie, where L'Amphitryon serves such dishes as pigeon baked with dates and its dinner menus start at €25.

Tourist Information

Limoges Tourist Office,12 Boulevard de Fleurus87000 LIMOGES, FranceTelephone: +33 (0)55 534 4687Fax: +33(0)55 534


Located 8km outside of Limoges, the Limoges Bellegarde Airport has daily international services to and from London Stansted, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton. Air France fly daily to many domestic destinations from Limoges and during the holiday seasons, many chartered flights are available to European and North-African destinations.

All car hire locations in France