Friday, September 5, 2014

Looking around Limoges

Those of us who wandered around France this summer learned to bring along a jacket and umbrella. As expected, we had grey skies, but happily no rain, for our recent visit to Limoges.

Monument au Marechal Jordan, Limoges

The capital of the Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin region, located in the northwest portion of the Massif Central, is known for its porcelain. Alas, my travel companions can muster little enthusiasm for ceramics and enamels, so we explore other options during our visit.

After settling in at our centrally located hotel at Place Jourdan, we stretch our car-weary legs with a walk to the ancient village de la boucherie quartier. This neighborhood dates from the 13th century and is full of half-timbered maisons, narrow streets and lively squares. Here also is the city’s magnificent large covered market.

A narrow street in la village de la boucherie quartier, Limoges

Large covered market, Limoges

We turn in early (no night owls, we) so we are fresh for our morning exploration of the Limoges vast gardens and a visit to Musée de la Résistance. 

Located in the quartier historique de la cité, les Jardins de L’evéche (Botanical Gardens of the Bishopric) were created in the 18th century, redesigned in the 1950s and received their latest makeover in 1976. The 19,000-square-meter terraced gardens, which contain thousands of plants, overlook the Vienne River. The gardens are neatly laid out by type and use of plant: medicinal, dyes, edible, etc.

Les Jardins de L’evéche, Limoges

Les Jardins de L’evéche, Limoges

Les Jardins de L’evéche, Limoges

At the heart of this neighborhood is the enormous Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges, known as Limoges Cathedral. This Gothic church took about 600 years to construct, beginning in 1273 and completed, finally, in 1888. (Keep that in mind when you get impatient with your slow-moving contractor!) 

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges

A gargoyle at Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges

Interior detail at Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges

We arrive at the Musée de la Résistance just when it opens and have the place nearly to ourselves. The museum, (which doesn’t allow photography so I can’t include the pictures I took before I noticed the photographie est interdite sign — oops!) provides a comprehensive look at wartime Limoges and gives us much to discuss on our drive home. 

Monument aux morts in Limoges

For information about visiting Limoges, click here.

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