Limousin is a rural region known for its distinctive chestnut red cattle and old oak forests so prized that the house of Remy Martin retains the exclusive right to buy Limousin oak for aging its cognac. In fact, no other vintner in France or the world can buy Limousin oak for such a purpose.
It's a pretty region of fields, rivers and farmland, with an aging population, some of whom still speak the ancient dialect of Occitan.
Its major city is Limoges, known for china and the decorative arts.
Capital of the Limousin region
This capital of the Limousin region, like many French towns in central France, dates back 2 millennia to the Romans, when it was called Augustorotum, after the Emperor Augustus. The city was among the earliest in France to be evangelized to Christianity, by St. Martial, in the 3rd century. Constant raids by German tribes had the city largely abandoned for centuries, until the Abbey of St. Martial was built, and his remains entombed.
Limoges became a center for music and arts from the 9th to the the 14th centuries, when its fortifications were breached and it was invaded by Edward the Black Prince. Today, Limoges is known worldwide for its porcelain industry. Limoges porcelain is made from kaolin, which is abundant in the area. Les Halles market is packed with a range of local food stuffs such as locally produced fois gras and noisette (a locally produced hazelnut liqueur). Many visitors to the area arrive via train to Limoges original 1920’s era train station.
Perhaps the most unexpected fact about limoges is its famed basketball team. Limoges was the first French city to deliver a 1st place win for France in the European basketball league.