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Limousin: a region of natural parks and ancient villages

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Limousin is a small region of central France, after Corsica it is the least populated region of metropolitan France, bordering the French regions of Aquitaine to the southwest, Midi-Pyrenees to the south, Auvergne to the east, of Center to the north, and of Poitou-Charentes to the north-west. The region, whose capital is the city of Limoges, is administratively made up of 3 departments: Corrèze (19), Creuse (23), and Haute-Vienne (87).

Formed by a largely mountainous and hilly territory, part of the Massif Central, it is crossed by important rivers such as the Dordogne, the Vienne, the Vézère, the Cher, and the Creuse. The geography of the Limousin presents some plateaus such as the granite one of Millevaches which is located at heights between 600 and 1,000 meters and which extends over three thousand square kilometers and occupies a good part of the Corrèze department, this plateau is the most highest point in the region, Mont Bessou (976 metres).

The Limousin economy is mainly linked to agriculture, breeding, processing and the exploitation of timber, while Limoges porcelain is famous throughout the world.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: WHAT TO VISIT IN THE LIMOUSIN

Tourism in Limousin is not very developed, and is mainly based on the natural attractions of green tourism, cultural tourism (porcelain, tapestries and carpets) and gastronomy.

The city of Limoges is the main attraction, with a beautiful historic center (districts of La Cité and Château) with a large Gothic cathedral, and famous in the world thanks to the production of its renowned porcelains, for porcelain lovers to visit the museum dedicated to them (Musée national de la porcelaine Adrien Dubouché). The tapestry capital of the region is the town of Aubusson, famous for its carpets and tapestries since the 16th century, to visit the two dedicated museums the Musée départemental de la Tapisserie d’Aubusson and the Maison de Tapissier.

Limousin is rich in parks and nature reserves, about a third of the regional territory is a protected area, there are two regional natural parks, the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches (Parc naturel régional de Millevaches en Limousin) and the Regional Natural Park of Périgord-Limousin (Parc naturel régional de Périgord-Limousin), two National Nature Reserves and four Regional Nature Reserves.

Among the places to visit for nature lovers are also the Gimel waterfalls (Cascades de Gimel), which are located in the municipality of Gimel-les-Cascades, along the Montane river, a tributary of the Corrèze, and which are made up of three waterfalls: the Grand saut (45 meters high), the Redole (27 meters high) and the Queue de cheval, where the water falls for over 60 metres. For those who love animals, visit the wolf reserve (Parc animalier des monts de Guéret) near the capital of the Creuse department, Guéret.

Among the curiosities of Limousin is to visit the town of Rochechouart where 200 million years ago a meteorite fell which formed a crater 20 km wide and 6 km deep, to visit the museum dedicated to meteorites (Espace météoritique Paul Pellas) and to see the rocks created by the impact of the ancient crater, however, nothing visible remains. In the Toulx-Sainte-Croix area, in the Creuse department, a geological curiosity are the granite stones called Pierres Jaumâtres.

Just 20 km from Limoges is Oradour-sur-Glane, sadly famous for being the site of a massacre by the Nazis during the Second World War, the town, left as the Nazis had reduced it, has become an open-air museum open.

Among the other attractions of the region we can mention the medieval village of Solignac with its marvelous Romanesque abbey-church (Église abbatiale Saint-Pierre) and the ruins of the castle of Chalucet (Château de Chalucet). The evocative ruins of the Tours de Merle near Saint-Geniez-ô-Merle and those of the Château de Ventadour near Moustier-Ventadour both in the Corrèze department. The village of Uzerche, 60km south of Limoges, halfway to Brive-le-Gaillarde, is among the prettiest villages in the Limousin. Equally suggestive are the villages of Gimel-les-Cascades, 40 km east of Brive-le-Gaillarde, Collonges-la-Rouge and Turenne, both just 15 km south of Brive-le-Gaillarde, while a few kilometers further south is the beautiful medieval village of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne.

UNESCO has listed the church of Saint-Léonard in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in the World Heritage Sites of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in France (Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France) department of Haute-Vienne.

As for the typical Limousin gastronomy, the Pâté aux pommes de terre is one of the specialties of the region, it is a dish that can be served both as a side dish and as a main course, the dish is formed by a puff pastry crust filled with sliced potatoes and sour cream (Crème fraîche), all cooked in the oven and seasoned with garlic and meat, or parsley and onion. The most famous dessert of the region is the Clafoutis (also called milliard or millard), a dessert prepared in the oven with black cherries (with the stone), sugar, flour, milk and eggs.

The climate of Limousin.

  • LIMOSIN (LIMOUSIN)
  • Area: 16,942 km²
  • Population: 740,743 (2008)
  • Capital: Limoges
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