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Limousin France

Updated on October 24, 2014
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The Limousin Region is Often Called 'Hidden France'

Limousin is one of France's best kept secrets, and because few people know about the beauty of the landscape, richness of culture, depth of history and strength of traditions of Limousin, it has retained a welcoming authenticity and charm. This collection of articles seeks to spread the word a little (but not too much) about the joys of visiting and living in Limousin.

As well as being one of the least visited of areas by tourists, it is also sparsely populated so the tiny hamlets, woodlands and meadows have remained quet, peaceful and unspoilt.

There's also a great deal of variety throughout the region of Limousin. It is a large area and made up of three departments, the Haute-Vienne, Correze and the Creuse. Each have their own distinctive characters and even differing climates. Les Trois Chenes Bed and Breakfast, holiday cottage - or gite and painting holidays is situated in the west of the Haute-Vienne and right on the borders of the Charente and the Dordogne. It is this area that most of the articles below describe.

A visit to Limousin is like stepping back half a century - in all the best senses. Imagine an vast, green area with almost no traffic, no parking problems, no crime, no litter, no graffiti ....

Sounds like heaven? Come to Limousin and see just how close to heaven you can be....

Image: Lac Lavaud - about five minutes from Les Trois Chenes and one of the lakes of the Haute-Charente

The Limousin Region

Limousin is the Lake District of France

A land of lakes and forests

Mile after mile of gently undulating landscape is covered sweet chestnut and oak woodland, opening out onto wild flower meadows that nourish the beautiful, rich-brown Limousin cattle.

The area is rich in clear, clean rivers, sparkling lakes and ponds full of fish. A fisherman's delight. These lakes are wonderful for outdoor sports - boating, swimming, wind surfing - and for playing.

Limousin is studded with castles and chateaux and ancient history. As you travel from sleepy village to sleepy village, you'll pass neolithic standing stones and burial sites rather casually strewn along the roadsides or hidden within fields and copses. The Romans left their mark and the middle ages seem close here. Of course, the scars from the two world wars have barely healed and Limousin played a valiant part and suffered greatly in those troubled times.

Now all is peace and tranquility. Much of the area has been included in the Natural Park of Perigord-Limousin. A reserve designed to guard and cherish the natural and man-made treasures that are so abundant here.

Limousin is indeed a green and pleasant land.

Limoges is the Main City of France - The railway station is the most memorable landmark

Limoges-station
Limoges-station | Source

In most cities the cathedral is the most imposing and the most beautiful building in the city, but I feel that Limoges cathedral is a bit of a let down (on the other hand I come from York and nothing could be more spectacular than York Minster). The railway station, Benedictins, which was designed by architect Roger Gonthier, is very special. So special that it's called the most beautiful station in Europe.

The first railway line came to the city in the 1850s and the first railway station was opened on the 16th June 1856 and was made from wood. It was replaced by a stone-built station which opened in 1860.

The present station was opened on 2 July 1929. It took from November 1918, when the agreement to build was signed to 1924 to begin the work.

The station has been restored twice: the Great Hall was finished in in 1979 and again the dome was rebuilt after a fire in 1998.

An Hilarious Book About Living in France - Not in Limousin but just over the border!

This is a special book for me because it is written by my online friend Tottie Limejuice. I first 'met' Tottie on Twitter and then migrated to Facebook too. Tottie Limejuice is a journalist with a background in publishing and I always looked forward to her intelligent and quirky tweets and quips on Facebook. There's never a dull moment 'chez Tottie'. She lives over in the Auverge, but the lifestyle is much the same - except that it's much warmer here on the Charente side of Limousin!

I would just like to say a public 'thank you' to Tottie, who took the trouble to give me good advice about my website and has given me information about how to set about becoming 'French'.

Get this book if you're thinking of moving to France - or get it if you would like a light read and a good laugh.

Sell the Pig
Sell the Pig

Find out why one woman moved to France. This is an hilarious book about Tottie Limejuice (find out how this name came about), her family and her life in France.

Lesley - her real name, loves wildlife, loves her dogs, loves France, the French countryside and all things French.

To show just how much she loves her adopted land, Tottie has begun the process to become 'officially French'.

 

Where is Limousin? - Roughly, the south west of France

A markerLimousin -
Limousin
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Limousin Facts and Figures - A few interesting statistics

  • The old language of the Limousin is Occitan and Lemosin is Limousin in the 'langue d'Oc'
  • There are 740,743 inhabitants in Limousin (2008)
  • Limousin covers almost 17,000 square km
  • It's the second least populated region of France after Corsica
  • The Creuse has the oldest population of any in France
  • Since 1999 the population has been slowly rising
  • The following famous people were born or live in Limousin: Geoff Bunn - British artist, Jacques Chirac - President of France, Franois Hollande - President-elect of France, Pierre-Auguste Renoir - painter Wreckless Eric - punk musician

Videix

Les Trois Chenes in just on the edge of this tiny hamlet and so, like a pebble thrown into a pool, I'll start in the centre and follow the ripples out as I describe, in a rather random way, the delights and assets of Limousin and the area surrounding our B&B

Videix is a Tiny Hamlet in South West Limousin - Les Trois Chenes is situated in Videix, right on the Charente and Dordogne borders

Videix is tiny now, but it used to be much bigger and more important. It's one of the smaller communes in France with just c; 200 voters, but we still boast a Mairie, which also used to be the local school.

In the past Videix had a bar tabac, auberge, grocers shop and a bycle repair shop. Our church dates from the 12th century and is a listed building, but really, not much of its past worth exists now, sadly.

Just five minutes drive, or a pleasant thirty minute walk away for Videix is the lake of Lavaud. It's not a natural lake but an artificially constructed reservoir or 'plan d'eau'. It has a beach with swimming and pedalos in the summer, a play area and a little restaurant.

Just over the border, on the Charente side of the lake, they also have a beach, a very nice snack bar, and a beautiful, glass-fronted restaurante, the 'Cotes de Boeuf'. During the summer the nautical centre is open and you can hire canoes, kayaks, wind surf boards and sailing boats at excellent prices.

The local riding stables, (normally located at Pressignac, just five minutes drive away), operate from the nautical centre during the summer, so you can book a poney ride around the lake side.

Why Holiday in Limousin?

France Limousin is Just Great for Vacations - And a super place for families and children

France Limousin is just such a great place for outdoor pursuits and activities, sporting holidays, families and family holidays.

Limoges Porcelain

Limousin Beef Cattle

Towns and Villages in Limousin

Places to Visit in Limousin - There are just so many things to see and do

This picture of an old, derelict car was taken at Oradour-sur-Glane - a martyr village destroyed by the Nazi's and now preserved as an monument to the waste of war. This is a sad sight, but an important and powerful site too. You must see this but you should also see our wonderful markets, the Roman site Cassinomagus, the porcelain factories and shops, the local festivals and .... well - there's just so much!

Get Married in a French Chateau

A Wedding in France

Have you thought about getting married in France? I suppose you think it's too expensive! Think again. Think of the glorious sunshine, the empty roads, the wonderful food and wine. Think of accommodation for your guests at very reasonable prices, and think of this wonderful chateau and lake-side venue.

Wouldn't it be unforgettable?

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Food and Drink in Limousin

Traditional French Recipes and All Things Gourmet - The French take food very seriously indeed

The French are very proud of their cusine and are fully convinced that it's the best in the world. I expect they have a point. Limousin has it's own traditional, local recipes and the area is famous for its beef, chestnuts, pears, cherries and apples.

Where to Eat in Limousin

(Actually, it's more where to eat around and about Les Trois Chenes)

Les Trois Chenes

B & B and holiday cottage in Limousin

Les Trois Chenes

Painting holidays in Limousin

How to Get to Limousin

Ryanair really is good value

How to Book Your Ryanair Flight - With ryanair.com you get great bargains, but you've got to have your wits about you!

I'm not saying they're out to get you but ....

Places to Visit from Limousin

Castles and History

Moving to Limousin?

Limousin on the Silver Screen

The War of the Buttons - Made in Limousin

There are a whole lot of movies that have been set or filmed in the Limousin, but one of the most recent must be The War of the Buttons. I also must declare a personal interest in this film as some of the film crew stayed in our holiday cottage and I auditioned, without success, to be an 'extra' - clearly I didn't look sufficiently like a '50's French person!

The New War of the Buttons is set in Limousin - Unfortuantely it's only available in French

And even then not on Amazon.com - you'll have to go to Amazon.fr for that.

War Of The Buttons
War Of The Buttons

This is the Irish version of the film and it does give you a good idea of the story - you are just missing the Limousin landscape.

 

Legends and Stories of Limousin

Walking and Rambling in Limousin

There are Superb Long and Short Footpaths for Walkers and Ramblers - Great bridleways too!

the Limousin region has invested heavily in its footpath and bridleway systems recently with a view to creating a network of short and long distance paths. In conjunction with this they have produced a series of excellent walks. These walks begin at a central village or town and form a circular route that would take a short day - including picnics etc. Within this walk, though, you can make shorter circular paths, and even then there are lots of shortcuts if you find that the walk you've chosen is too long.

The pamphlets guide you along the walk and point out interesting features or draw your attention to the local plant and wildlife. I love these walks!

Limousin Markets

Seasonal Celebrations

Where Did I Get My Information?

List of Sources

This is all my own work! Yes, after ten years I know enough about Limousin not to need Wikipedia! (Ooops, stats came from Wikipedia!)

Where in the World Are We? - In Limousin, a hidden corner of South West France

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Videix
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Do You Love Limousin Too? - I'd love to hear from you

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      rajatwilightdream 3 years ago

      What a great lens about Limousin! Yes. I do love Limousin after reading this longgggggggggggggg and sweet lens. Keep writing!

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      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      @tomoxby: Thank you for your message, tomoxby. It is great cycling country here and there are lots of cyclists who take advantage of the peaceful roads and wonderful countryside. We have cyclists who stay with us at Les Trois Chenes. I will post some pictures of them. The reason that I haven't written an article about it is that I'm not a cyclist and so don't have enough specialist knowledge to write a good article. Perhaps we could write one together?? Do come and see us if you come to Limousin, it would be lovely to meet you.

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      tomoxby 4 years ago

      I see you talked about rambling/hiking in Limousin but I did not see much mention of bicycle touring. I have spent a few weeks of cycling in the nearby Dordogne region and it was amazing and I noticed some of the routes continued north to the Limousin. Some the countryside appears similar. Maybe on my next visit to France.