This is a guest post by John Gadbois, a travel-lover who writes about Versailles, France at his Versailles blog. He also blogs about technology at his personal site, JohnGadbois.com.

France is a country of beautiful cities, many of which are known to tourists all over the world (Paris, anyone?). One of these beautiful cities, however, most tourists have never even heard of. What city is this? I’m talking about the city of Limoges, France.

limoges france in winter

I had never heard of Limoges either, until I was assigned there as an English language assistant a couple of years back. I found the city to be charming and wanted to share some of its top attractions with you. Limoges is located about 400 kilometers (~250 miles) south of Paris, in the Limousin region of France. This region contains a lot of beautiful farm country and is most well known for it’s Limousin cattle, which you’ll see dotting fields all around Limoges.

limoges cattle

Limoges is not a large city, with about 250,000 people in the city plus it’s suburbs, so it’s not hard to get to know the city very well, and to see all of it’s sites in a day or two.

4 Sites Not To Miss In Limoges

Ok, enough background. Let’s get down to it. What is there to actually see and do in Limoges? Here are a couple of the more popular attractions in Limoges.

  1. limoges porcelain platePorcelain, Porcelain, Porcelain – If you have heard of Limoges, it’s most likely because of it’s famous porcelain. Limoges is the center of porcelain production in all of France (over 50% of French porcelain is from Limoges), and several of the porcelain producers allow you to tour their factories. Bernardaud is probably the most famous producer, and it is well worth taking a tour of their factory. In addition to factories, check out the National Museum Of Porcelain, as well as the many porcelain shops in the town center. A tip – if you’re looking for less expensive porcelain, check out the many stores that sell seconds, or china with minor defects (many that you can’t even see). These pieces often go for half price or less!
  2. Gare de Limoges-Bénedictins – While a train station might seem like a strange tourist attraction, you don’t want to miss this one. This unique train station has a beautiful rounded ceilings and a stunning clock tower. You may have seen it without knowing it in a recent Chanel ad featuring Audrey Tautou.
  3. Le Hôtel de Ville – The city hall is another site that visitors should check out. It was modeled after the Hotel de Ville in Paris, and contains ornate carvings, an interesting porcelain fountain, and many other interesting features. In the winter, the entire building is decorated with Christmas lights, giving a beautiful, colorful display that you don’t want to miss.
  4. Centre-ville – The town center of Limoges is one of my favorite places to visit. Some of the streets and buildings date all the way back to the 14th century! Much of the town center is walking-only cobblestone streets lined with all kinds of shops and stores. One site to definitely check out downtown is the Chapelle Saint-Aurélien de Limoges, a small 15th century chapel that still stands.
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These are just a few of the many sites and experiences to be had in Limoges. Depending on what time of year you go to Limoges, you can have the opportunity to experience festivals, parades, and carnivals that are unique to Limoges. If you’re unlucky you might encounter a strike that closes the entire city down (of course, this can happen in most cities in France).

There are also beautiful villages, countryside, and historical sites, in the immediate vicinity of Limoges, so next time you’re planning a trip to France, consider the city of Limoges.

Thank you for this personal look of Limoges John. You can learn more about traveling to France on John’s Versailles blog and follow his personal technology site, JohnGadbois.com.

[photos by: Antman (Limoges, France scene in snow), boocal (Limoges cattle), La Petit Poulailler (Limoges porcelain plate)]