The earliest tapestry workshops in Aubusson were set up in the fourteenth century with wool from local sheep, plus use of the clear water of the River Creuse, creating ideal conditions for the trades of wool dyeing, weaving and tapestry.
Founded in 1981, Aubusson’s museum houses a rich collection of nearly 600 years of tapestry and carpet-making allowing visitors to travel back in time to see how the industry has developed over the centuries.
In the 1920s and 30s, artists such as Dufy and Picasso were invited to design tapestries including the surrealist Jean Lurcat who became a designer. Modern work can be seen in the Jean Lurcat Artistic and Cultural Centre which also has a theatre. Visit the town’s workshops to see craftsmen working at every aspect of their craft.
Originally a Roman settlement, Limoges’ early riches came from tin and lead, and later gold and copper. Renowned for its enamelling since the Middle Ages, Limoges is most famous for the fine porcelain it has produced since the nineteenth century.
See some of the finest china ever produced in the Musee Adrien-Dubouche, plus services made for Napoleon and even Charles and Di. Musee Municipal de l’Eveche displays enamelware going back to the twelfth century.
Visit the Bernardaud china factory and shop for bargains in a variety of factory showrooms. Today, this centre for the decorative arts is a major university town hosting an important September festival of (mainly French-speaking) writers and musicians.
Enjoy the superb botanical gardens, church of St Michel-des-Lions’ impressive towers and spires, and Cathedrale St Etienne’s fine stone carvings.
A park with different levels of trails for children and adults with 5 safe aerial routes through the trees. Bungee jumping for everyone. Located at Centre Touristique du Coiroux, Aubazine.
Wolves roamed the Chabrieres Forest, near Gueret, until the middle of the twentieth century. Observe these shy creatures today in the safety of a secure park. The park is home to several species, including the European wolf, Canadian white wolf and black wolf of Alberta.
Discover more about relationships between man and wolf and the many myths surrounding this predator. Open afternoons off-season and from 1000 May to mid-September with guided tours June, July and August. Feeding time in the afternoons.
Take the summer ‘Train Vapeur’ mountain line 100km from Limoges to Ussels, along the picturesque Vienne valley to Eymoutiers, then climbing through forests to the high altitude Plateau de Millevaches. The gorges and scenery are spectacular.
Trains run in July and August every year and your journey’s length can be shortened by ending at Meymac or Eymoutiers. Consult Limoges Tourist Office for details.
Richard the Lionheart came to the English throne in 1189 having inherited lands in France through his mother - Eleanor of Aquitaine. He and the King of France were allies in the Crusades but Richard later went to war with the King and local barons over lands in the region.
Follow his ‘route’ - a well sign-posted 180km - along a line of fortified towns, chateaux and castles marking episodes in his campaigns. Directions take you along quiet roads through delightful, unspoilt Limousin countryside, stopping at places such as the fortified Chateau of Coussac-Bonneval, and Chateau Feodal near Chalus where Richard received a mortal wound from an arrow.