In the east of the Haute Vienne, Eymoutiers sits next to
the river Vienne. Once a town of hide-tanners, many of the houses retain the
original tanning lofts. The Romanesque church of St Etienne, the impressive
Mairie and the Library are just some examples of the beautiful architecture of
the town and of this region.
Eymoutiers is well placed for all kinds of recreation. Just 15 minutes’ drive north east of the town is lac de Vassivière, which offers water sports, beaches and swimming. For those who enjoy walking, the Monédières which stretch across the countryside just south east of Eymoutiers, are the ideal destination. There are also a number of marked trails locally of between 9km and 15km.
The unspoilt region of the Limousin comprises three ‘departments’:
Creuse, Corrèze and Haute Vienne. It is the ideal holiday destination for those
who search for peace and quiet. Outdoor fans will enjoy a wealth of activities
such as rambling, cycling, fishing, golf, rock climbing, canoeing and various
other water sports. Although there are few large towns in the region, the
countryside boasts some beautiful ancient villages and stunning architecture.
Founded in 16 BC by the Roman Emperor Augustus, Limoges is
the capital city of the Limousin. The city was originally two neighbouring
cities which grew up separately over the centuries, not united until the French
One of the ancient cities is the area around the Cathedral of St Etienne called the Cité. The cathedral is surrounded by the grounds of the bishop’s palace and boasts some beautiful terraced gardens and a botanical collection overlooking the river Vienne. The ancient cobble-stoned lanes are well worth a visit where half-timbered buildings still stand strong.
The second of the two original cities is much more extensive, although a lot harder to identify. The medieval structure is gradually being restored. This second city was the centre of political power, known as ‘the Château’ or the ‘Royal Town’.
Limoges is famous for its porcelain and enamels. Enamel-making began in the 12th century and still continues today. Since the 19th century, Limoges has been known world-wide for its fine porcelain. Today porcelain is a thriving industry and there are plenty of shops selling a wide range of porcelain in and around Limoges.
Click here to find out more about Limoges and the Limousin:
This beautiful ancient town is set in the Correze department of the
Limousin. The town has some wonderful old buildings dating from the 16th and
17th centuries and is well worth a visit. Head to the centre of the town and
park in the car park outside the tourist office. From here you can take a walk
around the town following a trail taking in 15 buildings of interest.
On Saturday 10th June 1944, a company of 120 SS soldiers sealed off the
exits of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane and moved in. The officer in charge
ordered the mayor of the town to assemble everyone on the Champ de Foire for an
The assembled villagers were separated – the women and children escorted to the church and the men told to stay, sit in three rows and face the wall while the troops continued to search all the buildings in the village. The men were then marched away in groups to stables and barns. The men were killed with machine-gun fire before the barns were set alight –
the SS then moved on to the church to kill the women and children with grenades and machine-gun fire, before setting fire to it. Only one person, a woman, managed to escape through the east window of the church.
Before the troops moved out, they looted the houses of the village
before torching the buildings. They left 642 dead.
Oradour-sur-Glane stands untouched and is a monument to the dead and a memory of the atrocity of 10th June 1944, as well as World War II. A new village was built next to the original village during the 1950s.
The medieval town of St Leonard de Noblat is nearby, with it's colourful
Saturday market. The ancient towns of Brive and Uzerche are well worth a visit.
Brive is best explored on foot – the Tourist Office offers circuits and guided
tours. Uzerche stands proudly on the river bends of the Vézère. Mansions with
turrets, steep narrow streets and beautiful views give Uzerche a special feel.
Visitors are well catered for with good restaurants and services.
As one of the largest of the French lakes at over 1,000 hectares, Vassivière is an amazing site and could be described as a ‘miniature inner sea’. For those who enjoy water sports, Vassivière offers water-skiing, sailing, wind surfing as well as swimming. There are beaches to relax on, lake side walks and lake cruises with food, local music and dancing.