Located in the foothills of the Massif Central, Limoges is a dynamic city where life is good. If its fame comes mainly from porcelain, Limoges also has a varied heritage rich in surprises, born from more than 2000 years of history. City of art and history, capital of the arts of fire, creative city of Unesco, Limoges is full of treasures and will not leave anyone indifferent. Let yourself be guided through the streets of the Limousin city thanks to the sports and tourist routes proposed by the city!
Limoges is the second most populated city in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region behind Bordeaux, but it is also a natural city. Situated on the banks of the Vienne River, the city has many green spaces and gardens and is surrounded by a rural area free of intensive farming.
But Limoges is also a city of gastronomy, with a generous and varied local cuisine, starting with the famous Limousin beef. Limoges' specialties are honored each year during a great gastronomic festival: the Frairie des Petits Ventres. A culinary meeting in the image of the inhabitants of the Limousin capital: generous and warm.
The historical hearts
Founded by the Romans around 10 B.C. under the name of Augustoritum, Limoges is based on two historical hearts: the Upper City, the former district of the viscounts and of the Saint-Martial castle, and the City, subject to the bishop and built around the Saint-Etienne cathedral. The castle and the city were reunited after the French Revolution in 1792 to officially form a single commune.
Your stroll through the city center will take you to discover these two historical centers and the remarkable monuments and places that line their streets. In the Upper Town, let yourself be surprised by the Temple courtyard and its magnificent half-timbered mansions as well as its splendid granite arcades. You will also see the paving stones made of shards of "gazettes", the clay "boxes" that were used to protect the porcelain pieces during the firing process. These paving stones are found in the courtyard of the Temple and in other streets in the center of Limoges. The remains of the Middle Ages are mixed with classical and modern buildings, such as the Halles centrales, which you can see during your walk. Built on the site of the former castle of the Viscount of Limoges at the end of the 19th century, the Halles hosts a large market and several restaurants. This majestic building has been listed as a historical monument since 1976.
The Cité district is not to be outdone, since it is home to, among other things, the imposing Saint-Etienne cathedral and the splendid Jardins de l'Évêché. The cathedral, which was built over nearly six centuries, is one of the emblematic monuments of the city of Limoges. During your stroll, take the time to stop and admire the finesse of the Saint-Jean portal or the splendid sculptures that adorn the rood screen. Adjacent to the cathedral, the Jardins de L'Évêché will allow you to enjoy a little moment of serenity and a superb view on the Vienne river and the Saint-Etienne bridge. Your discovery of the city of Limoges would not be complete without a visit to the famous Limoges-Bénédictins train station, one of the most beautiful in France. Its style mixing Art Nouveau and Art Deco, its bell tower, its hall and its dome make it a must-see of the city.
Capital of the arts of fire
It is impossible to talk about Limoges without mentioning its famous porcelain. Born in the 18th century following the discovery of kaolin in the region (a white clay necessary for the manufacture of this hard and translucent ceramic), Limoges porcelain experienced its golden age in the 19th century and today enjoys an international reputation. Many prestigious factories were established in Limoges during this period: Haviland, Bernardaud, Alluaud, Royal Limoges... Some of them are still active. During your walk, you can marvel at the porcelain masterpieces that adorn the facades of the bourgeois houses, the fountains or the Halles centrales. If you are interested in the subject, do not hesitate to stop at the Adrien Dubouché museum which has the richest collection of Limoges porcelain in the world.
Besides porcelain, Limoges is also famous for its enamel and stained glass. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela flocked to admire the Abbey of Saint-Martial and its enamel. If the craze for enamel fades during the Renaissance, it knows a revival during the 19th century, thanks to the Art Deco movement. A must-see during your discovery of the city, the Museum of Fine Arts has an exceptional collection of enamels dating from the Middle Ages to today. The art of stained glass also developed in the medieval period, particularly with religious buildings and the appearance of Gothic art, and found a new lease of life with Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the early 20th century. You can find the work of master glassmakers in the many churches of the city or at the Pavillon du Verdurier and the train station.
Along the vienne river
Rich in historical and cultural heritage, Limoges is also the ideal place for nature lovers. The city has been awarded 4 flowers in the "Villes et villages fleuris de France" competition for its important natural heritage. For a real breath of fresh air, take the Bords de Vienne tour which will take you through the many parks and gardens along the river. Don't miss in particular the pretty Nadalon Garden, part of which is located on the Bird Island, a remnant of the Nadalon and Pénicaut factory, a shoe heel manufacturer.
The city of Limoges being crossed by the Vienne, the inhabitants have been confronted with the crossing of this river for several centuries. Several bridges have been built over the years to link the historic city center and the districts on the left bank. Among them, the Saint-Etienne bridge and the Saint-Martial bridge, the only two medieval bridges in the city, entirely paved and totally pedestrian. The inhabitants of the bridges' district, called the Ponticauds, have been organizing for decades the bridges' festival on the occasion of Saint-Jean.
Find all the routes in the city of Limoges on the JOOKS application.
Run, walk or cycle with JOOKS, from the Boucherie district to the Saint-Etienne cathedral!