Limousin - Favourite family holiday destination in France 2014
Limousin is great for family holidays
Why put up with all the traffic, exorbitant prices and crowded beaches. Why flock to expensive resorts with all the rest of the sheep when you could relax in Limousin?
Limousin is a little known and unspoilt region of south west France that still retains its own special character. It is perfect for a family holiday because of the open spaces, tranquility, wonderful landscape, fabulous heritage and excellent restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Limousin cuisine. The area is steeped in history and teeming with chateaux and castles.
Limousin is known as "The Lake District of France" because of all its beautiful swimming lakes and beaches. Children can play in the safest of environments. The accommodation is fantastically good value and it's easy to get here. What more could you want for your family holiday in France 2014?
I loved Limousin so much that I moved here
Ever been on holiday to somewhere you liked so much that you just wanted to stay there forever? That happened to me with Limousin. It was love at first sight. I am not well travelled, but in my youth I loved Italy. I've been to Florence and Venice and many sleepy little villages in the south. I've seen Naples and wondered at Rome. I've been to Munich, to Granada and Madrid in Spain, and Paris and Casablanca. I've been to Istanbul, Trabizon and Ankara, to Amsterdam and The Hague in Holland: all marvellous places to visit but only Limousin struck me as a wonderful place to live and bring up a family.
After months of house hunting to find the ideal property, I finally settled in the tiny hamlet of Videix on the borders of Limousin, The Dordogne and The Charente, just ten minutes from the medieval town of Rochechouart, - the perfect place to create our B&B, holiday home and to start our painting courses.
Why? I think the reasons for moving here can be divided into two groups. The practical and the emotional. In the first group lay cheap property prices, close proximity to England where my family live, cheap and easy transport links to England, a strong English community here, a smattering of French to get me going with the language, no traffic to speak of, hardly any crime.
Emotionally Limousin is the dream that many British people are searching for. A Constable Country of oak forests, lakes, stone farm houses, wild flower meadows and corn fields full of blue corn flowers and red poppies. It is a safe and clean place to bring up children; no car pollution, no farming chemicals to worry about, no violence or drugs. And last but not least the weather. Yes, it is cold in winter, but a bright cold with sapphire blue skies and mid-day temperatures that can mean you could sunbathe in January. We do have rain: you don't get all that green grass and miles of lakes and forests without a drop or two, but the summers are generally warm and sunny without being too hot. The Brits do love the sun, but we can't cope with too much!
For all these reasons this was my favourite holiday destination and it has been my home now for almost eight years and for eight years it has lived up to the dream. Could it be your dream holiday too?
Why is Limousin a favourite holiday destination for families?
- Lots of things to do for all the family
- Can be warm and sunny but not too hot
- No traffic
- Lots of great activities for kids
- Lots of things for children to see and do
- Very cheap accommodation and restaurants
- Limousin is a calm, no hassle place
- We are a genuine community so you won't feel ripped off all the time as you often do in more commerialised tourist centres.
What is there to do?
Far from being a well-thought out article, these are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. There are just so many things I could write about. I'm going to leave out great chunks of interesting stuff about arts and crafts, local markets, gold mining, history, super chateaux, villages, quaint towns, things like karting and sport (because I don't know much about this!) and all the other things I haven't yet discovered!
Let us help you to organise your activity holiday
When you visit a new place for holidays or when you don’t speak the language organising activities can be a bit daunting and is certainly time consuming. At Les Trois Chenes we aim to please and to that end we offer to arrange activities for our Bed and Breakfast and gite guests free of charge. You can pick activities from our list or make your own suggestions and we’ll make the bookings for you.
Les Trois Chenes B&B, Holiday home and painting holidays, Videix, Limousin South West France
Where is Videix?
Videix is situated on the borders of the Limousin, the Dordogne and the Charente, ten minutes from Rochechouart and thirty minutes from La Rochefoucauld and Saint Junien. It is about forty minutes from Nontron and lies halfway between Limoges and Angouleme.
There are excellent transport links; you can fly to Limoges or Angouleme and it will take you about forty minutes to drive to Videix. Why not take advantage of cheap flights by Ryanair.
The railway stations are also about the same distance.
Food and drink
Within ten minutes of Videix there are several excellent and inexpensive restaurants. The lakeside Cotes de Boeuf specialises in the famous Limousin beef but offers a wide range of other regional food. It is only five minutes from us. A little further away you will find farm produce being served in a mini-chateau, haute-cusine cooked by a young local couple who grow their own vegetables, and good French food served in several restaurants in the nearby town of Rochechouart. In less than half an hour you can be in one of three gourmet restaurants in our area offering a really special meal and setting. These are a little more expensive, but everyone agrees that they are worth every penny!
Limousin has a rich culinary heritage stemming from the beef cattle and chestnut forests. Fish is a favourite as our lakes and rivers are teeming with a wide variety of species that are delicious when served up on a plate. Venison and wild boar are hunted here and in spring there are hunt banquets. Or try some of the desserts made with cherries and apples.
Limousin is also great for foie gras, apple juice and cider and in the autumn the locals will collect mushrooms and other edible fungus. Autumn, harvest time, is a great time to visit the Limousin.
For more information on these restaurants and more See Where to eat in France - the lakes of the Haute Charente
Fairytale Castles and Romantic Chateaux
We are on The Route of Richard the Lion Heart (or Richard coeur de Lion). This is a route linking no less than 13 spectacular castles and 15 impressive tourist destinations. There are many, many more castles and chateaux to see that are not on this route. There are also ruined castles, fortified villages and remnants of town walls. Many of the castles are open to the public, though some are limited to the hight of the tourist season.
Here are just a few:
- The Castle of Rochebrune An 11th century fortified house and residence of the Princes of Chabanais.
- Rochechouart Castle Now a major centre for Contemporary Art.
- La Rochefoucauld castle in it's beautiful setting.
- Chateau de Brie An imposing house at Champagnac la Rivière.
- Château de Montbrun A castle reflected in the water of its moat. If you dream of living in a castle like this - the dream could become a reality. This castle is for sale. It was viewed by Angelina Joli and Brad Pitt. Think you might like to buy? Click here.
- Château de Chalus-Maulmont Magnificent ruins and beautiful views
- Chalus-Chabrol Ruined castle. It was here where Richard was killed in 1199. The chateau is the 'symbol of the Limoges Viscounts' resistance against the Plantagenets. Richard the Lionheart's entrails lie in the chapel.’Le Cars The ruins of time!
- Lastours Moats and ruins and a Romanesque keep.
- Nexon Elegant 17th century Chateau and garden.
- Jumilhac This is the fairytale castle of picture books!
- Cussac Bonneval Four massive round towers and a moat.
- Seguire-Le-Chateau Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.Pompadour Fortress started 1026. Famous horse breeding centre and the National Stud farm of France.
History and Culture of Limousin
Limoges is famous for porcelain and St Junien for its leather industry, especially glove-making. Both of these industries offer factory tours as well as opportunities to buy direct from the factories. These are only two of the many historical and cultural highlights of this area:
- The Porcelain Museum at Limoges
- The church of Les Salles -Lavauguyon Impressive 12 & 13th century frescoes.
- The village of Oradour-sur-Glane preserved as an anti-war monument and the impressive visitor centre. The saddest thing you will see, but also the most powerful; a visit you will remember for the rest of your life.
- Limoges Museum of Metiers and the Musée de Beaux-Arts
- Rochechouart Centre of Modern Art
- Cassinomagus, the impressive Roman remains in Chassenon
Art and Artists in Limousin
Monet worked in Limousin along with many of the Barbizon painters. They appreciated the wild and savage landscapes of Limousin. Corot worked on the banks of the Vienne in St Junien, painting the amazing rocks. This is a lovely area to take children. There are picnic tables, shady walks and safe river bathing.
There are Renoirs in the Museum in Limoges; the city is proud that Renoir was born here, and Raoul Hausmann, the Dada artist died in Limoges. There is a permanent exhibition of his work in Rochechouart Castle.
Two other local artists are Jean Tilliet who painted landscapes and lived in St Junien, and Jacques Bleny who died tragically young in a car crash.
Enjoy a relaxing painting holiday and improve your skills. Painting courses are held at Les Trois Chenes - www.lestroischenes.com for absolute beginners and for those with some experience.
Limousin is famous for barrel making, woodland and wood crafts from coppicing, paper-making. Porcelain painting and enameling are also specialties of the area.
There are lots of potters who will welcome you into their studios but these are rather hidden away, and artists take advantage of all the barns and houses going for a song.
Sports and Outdoor Activities in Limousin and the Charente
Limousin really comes into its own if you enjoy the great outdoors. The outdoor activities are made for family enjoyment and you will adore enjoying the countryside almost free from traffic and noise. Limousin is excellent for
- Fishing, permits are cheap and easy to acquire
- Riding. There are two riding centres within five minutes of Videix.
- Walking: There are local and long distance paths starting right outside our B&B
- Cycling, Limousin is great for cycling and one fabulous annual event is the Tour de Limousin. Of course the Tour de France also springs to mind.
- Outdoor adventure at the Park in Massignac
- Water sports on Videix Lake
- Kayaks and canoes on the rivers
- Quad biking and Karting
- Swimming in the pools at Angouleme and St Junien
- Swimming in the lakes
- Ice skating in Limoges
- Play golf at one of two courses just 30 minutes away.
- Swing through the trees or zip over the lake at Bussier Galante outdoor activity centre
- Aventure Parc Lacs de Haute Charente - Parc attraction Lacs de Haute Charente
Aventure Parc Lacs de Haute Charente, also known as Aventure Parc Massignac.
- Espace Hermeline | Bussière Galant
Zip wire over the lake and lots of physical activities under the tree canopies
- Golf in the Limousin (Haute-Vienne, Corrze & Creuse)
Golf Today's Golf Travel Information, features, reviews and more
Especially for Children
Playing on the beach, swimming in the lake, visiting castles are all adored by kids. They will also love to visit Park Bellevue just outside Limoges. A full day out, this park offers swimming, lots of bouncy castles, a small zoo, a miniature train, lots of huge slides and funfair rides. There is a restaurant or you can take a picnic. The entry fees are modest and the adults will love to have a day to chat to each other while the children amuse themselves.
Futuroscope in the Charente is a bit of a drive, it is about two hours away, but the kids are wild for a really big treat. Worth making the effort.
Much nearer they will enjoy the collection of working models, Féeriland, the world of Insects or the Meteorite Museum in Rochechouart.
The Aquarium in Limoges is great if the weather isn't or take the kids on a tour of Limoges on the little tourist train.
The Zoo Reynou is worth a visit and makes an excellent day out.
There are still more things to do and see
- Visit a vide grenier, (Empty your attic)
- Go on a tour of one of the many open farms and buy straight from the producer
- Enjoy the gardens open to the public
- See the markets, especially the Wednesday market at Piegut
- Watch boules in the parks
- Go to the botanical gardens in Limoges
- Visit the fabulous cities of Angouleme and Perigueux: videix is right in the centre of a triangle formed by these two historic cities and Limoges.
- Pretty villages with churches are everywhere in Limousin. Two of the prettiest village in France, Mortemart and Brantome are within driving distance.
- Discover the wild life. We are within the Parc Naturel du Perigord Limousin, a natural park created to preserve the spectacular wild life and landscape.
- Join one of the meals organised by the communes (parishes) and meet the locals.
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Gifts and Cards from Limousin
For more information about things to do in Limousin
- Vacation in France 2014 - Family Activity Vacations
Why take activity vacations in France? A holiday in France 2014 could be just what you need to unwind, get fit, discover a great and hidden region of France: Limousin, 'The Lake District of France!' If you love outdoor sports, cycling, fishing, ridin
- Gites de France can help you find your ideal holiday home in France
Gites de France, or the 'Federation of Gites de France' is an organisation that promotes tourism in France and labels tourist accommodation to ensure that holiday homes, camp site and guest houses are of a high standard;
- Activity Holidays for Kids and Adults in Limousin, S W France
At our Bed and Breakfast and holiday cottage in Haute-Vienne, Limousin, France, we offer painting and drawing holidays and classes but we can also help to organise the perfect family activity holiday in this most beautiful region of S W France.
- Tips for a Budget-Friendly Holiday in S W France
Budget-friendly holidays in France are good deals. Cut holiday costs with a vacation in Limousin. Economise on accommodation. Prices for hotel b and b accommodation in France are very reasonable. Gites in Limousin are plentiful, excellent and economi
- Chalus Tourist Office
Avenue Franois Mitterrand 87230 Chalus TEL: 09 60 07 30 07
© 2010 Les Trois Chenes
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