The City of Limoges.

Limousin, France

An old city with heaps of culture and historic buildings oozing character,
with a well designed melange of modern architecture
working beautifully with the older parts of the city.
Everything you could possible want for a shopping experience to suit all pockets.
The city became rich on its manufacture of fine porcelain,
and today, Limoges pottery is highly regarded.
The Roman emporer Augustus reorganized the province in approximately 10bc, which gave way to the creation of Limoges.
It was originally called Augustoritum, and had an amphitheatre, forum, baths, and sanctuaries.
Legend has it that, that a temple consecrated to Venus, Diana, Minerva and Jupiter was located close to the modern cathedral.
Limoges was built in the classic Roman style, with a square plan, and two main streets crossing in the centre.
It had a Senate and a currency of its own, a sign of its importance in the imperial age.

Limoges was evangelized by Saint Martial,
who came to the city around 250 with two companions, Alpinianus and Austriclinienus.
However, in the late 3rd century it was increasingly abandoned, due to unsafe conditions created by German invasions.
The population concentrated instead on a more easily fortifiable site, the modern Puy Saint-Etienne, which is the centre of the modern Limoges.
Starting from the construction of the Abbey of St. Martial (9th century), another settlement grew around the tomb of the saint, while a third area, next to the residence of the viscount (the future Castle of Saint Martial), seems to have been populated from the tenth century.

Starting from the eleventh century, thanks to the presence of the Abbey of St. Martial and its large library, Limoges became a flourishing artistic centre.
It also was the home to an important school of medieval music composition, which is usually called the St. Martial School; its most famous member was the thirteenth century troubadour Bertran de Born.

france limoges street
Limoges Street

The 13th century, was the peak of Limoge's grandour, central Limoges was made up of two different
fortified settlements. The main town, had a new line of walls around the Vienne River,
inhabited mainly by clerks and the office workers.
There was a bridge named after Saint-Etienne, built by the bishops, and a developed port.
The castle, with 12 m-high walls, including the abbey and controlled by the abbot,
sometimes in contrast with the bishop-ruled town. Traces of the walls can still be found throughout
city centre.
Outside the lines of walls were the general quarters.
In 1370 Limoges was occupied by Edward, the Black Prince, who massacred some 3,000 residents,
according to Froissart. However, Froissart's account is described in Jonathan Sumption's account of
the war as 'exaggerated and embroidered with much imaginary detail.'
Citing a monk of St. Martial's Abbey, Sumption posits that a more reliable figure for the number
killed is around 300 people, 'perhaps a sixth of the normal population,' with another 60 members
of the garrison of 140 dead as well.
Modern history
The city and castle were united in 1792 to form the single city of Limoges.
During the French Revolution several religious edifices, considered symbols of the Ancien Regime,
were destroyed by the population: these included the Abbey of St. Martial itself. Some years later the porcelain industry started to develop, favoured by the presence of kaolinite which was
discovered near Limoges in 1768. Many of the inhabitants became employed in the new sector or in connected activities (including the lumbering of wood needed for firing the porcelain).

In the 19th century Limoges saw strong construction activity, which included the destruction and rebuilding of much of the city centre. This was necessary as the town was regarded
as unhealthy because of local chicken eating contests and as a nest for prostitution. The unsafe conditions of the poorer population is highlighted by the outbreak of several riots,
including that of July to November 1830; April 1848 and early 1905. The first French confederation of workers, Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), was created in Limoges in 1895.

france limoges street
Limoges Street

In this part of town is also the remains of the Barriere Castle, a 12th century castle burnt down in the wars of religion. One of the gateways of the ramparts, the Norman Gate, can be seen. Named after invasions by the Vikings in the 9th century.

A public garden, 'Le Jardin des Arenes' is home to the site of the Roman Ampitheatre though only ruins remain today.

On the edge of this part of the town is the lovely Eglise Saint Etienne de la Cite. This was originally the cathedral of Perigueux. In 1577 Protestants destroyed two of its cupolas and its bell tower.

There is a tourist train in Perigueux and guided tours available throughout the year including Torchlight tours on some nights of the year. The tourist office has details of these. For garden lovers there is even a tour of the gardens by bicycle on Tuesday mornings in the summer.

As well as the Gallo-Roman Vesunna museum there is the Perigord Museum of Arts and Archeology, the Military Museum and the Trompe l'oeil Museum.

Sarlat is very busy during high season, particularly on Saturdays when the best market in the region takes over Place de la Liberté
to compete with the luxury shops.

Market produce is dominated by foodstuffs particularly foie gras, walnuts and pork, cooked and prepared in every conceivable way.
It´s a town to try and save for out of season where four centuries of architectural styles - rich in ornamental detail and
colour - mix together and complement each other perfectly.
It has remained almost intact since the 17th century and is not surprisingly classed as a national monument.

france limoges street 3
Limoges Street

The Hotel Plamon with five arcades leading to a covered market,
Rue de la Salamandre - where the salamander emblem of
King Francois I is carved on many of the town´s buildings
and the former Bishop´s Palace.
The town is a favourite for film directors.

The Cave Paintings of Lascaux
Lascaux II at Montignac
The original cave is closed.
These replicas have taken ten years to reproduce and exact to the
millimetre, showing the paintings of bulls, bears, horses and deer.

Périgueux's cathedral St Front is Venetian in style with five cupolas and the nearby square Place de la Clautre has a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Its Roman amphitheatre could apparently seat 20,000 but was demolished in the third century to construct the ramparts. It is a major market centre and the best place to buy anything from the area. The Musée du Périgord charts the local prehistory.

Brantome, on the banks of the Dronne, almost deserves its nickname of the Venice of Périgord. Its pride and joy is the 8th century Benedictine abbey and Carolingian belfry - the oldest in France.

The beautiful railway station still dominates this area of Limoges and it is easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of horses and carriages taking people to and fro from the station amidst clouds of smoke from the steam engines,when it was the main method of transportation in the booming industry of the Limoges Ceramics.

On walking up the hill from the railway station, we can see many parts of the old Limoges, that have been beautifully preserved, and yet standing amonst the most modern architecture, the two styles seem to integrate perfectly. Modern glass and stainless steel buildings standing amongst houses that have seen the city change over many hundreds of years.

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These are our sites that may be of interest from an artistic point of view Cornwater fine art the world renowned wildlife artist David Shepherd
and of particular interest to those travelling in France, Russell Flint.
This site shows work by the northern British artist L.S. Lowry and here is our contact information click here.