Nouvelle Aquitaine

Limousin - Nouvelle Aquitaine Region

This page was updated on: Friday, March 31, 2017 at: 4:15 pm

Limousin - Origin

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Coat of arms

Limousin became an administrative region during the territorial reform of 1960.

It is now part of the Nouvelle Aquitaine, along with the former regions of Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes.

Nouvelle Aquitaine is indeed one of the 13 new regions created by the territorial reform that took effect on January 1, 2016.

The historic Limousin includes 3 departments:

Corrèze (19 - Tulle), Creuse (23 - Guéret) and Haute-Vienne (87 - Limoges).

Limoges is the administrative centre or préfecture and attracts nearly 40% of the local population.

However, the region is the second least populated in Metropolitan France after Corsica.

Historical Limousin

Limousin takes its name from the  Lemovices, the Celtic tribe who ruled the region before the Roman conquest.

It was then part of the Aquitania.

Limoges-porcelain-Peony-pattern

Limoges porcelain - Peonies pattern

This ancient region stretched between the Atlantic Ocean and the northern slopes of the Pyrénées; the Romans conquered it in 56BC.

Emperor Augustus created the Province Aquitania in 16BC, and the Visigoths invaded it in 412AD.

In 507AD the Frankish king Clovis defeated the Visigoths King Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé, and integrated Aquitaine in the Kingdom of France.

The Duchy of Aquitaine was founded in 675AD and Limousin consequently organized in viscounties.

Eleanor of Aquitaine brought Limousin in her dowry when she married Henry Plantagenet who was crowned King of England in 1152.

However, Limousin was definitively re-attached to the Crown of France in 1607.

Limousin today

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Collonges la Rouge

Limousin is a beautiful quintessential region.

Indeed, a vast network of rivers crisscrosses its lush green countryside and rolling hills, and forests cover 34% of its total area.

Agriculture, cattle breeding and forestry are the main sectors of its economy.

However, mining was once very active.

Indeed, the Gauls already extracted gold more than 2000 years ago!

Kaolin, the key component of porcelain, has been mined from the 18th century onward, and uranium for a few decades in the second half of the 20th century.

Climate greatly differs according to the region's varied relief.

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La Vienne - Plateau de Millevaches

Mountain areas therefore have a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers.

However, plateaus have a temperate climate while the western valleys enjoy oceanic influences.

Limousin is away from the major roads.

It has not yet been spoiled by excessive tourism and has retained its authenticity.

However, the creation of the Regional Natural Park Périgord Limousin and Millevaches Regional Park initiated the development of cultural tourism and Eco-tourism.

Some of the many tourist sites Limousin has to offer

Limoges, the ancient capital of historical Limousin is worldwide renown for its fine porcelain.

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Lady and the Unicorn tapestry

However, did you know that it was also the birthplace of the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir?

And, did you know that the tapestry 'Lady and the Unicorn' was discovered in the 14th century Chateau de Boussac?

That Saint-Robert and Collonges-la-Rouge were ranked among the Plus Beaux Villages de France?

That Uzerche was known as the Pearl of the Limousin?

That the burial ground of a 45,000 old Neanderthal young adult had been discovered in La Chapelle aux Saints?

That the chateau of the Marquise de Pompadour, Louis XV's favourite, was also a national stud farm where the renown Anglo-Arab breed was created?

Finally, did you know that Richard the Lionheart was fatally wounded at the castle of Chalus-Chabrol, and that Oradour-sur-Glane was a martyr village kept in its war-state?

Area: 16,942 km²
Population: 742,771 (01/01/2013)

Photo via Wikimedia: coat of arms by infofiltrage is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 - Collonges la Rouge by Alertomalibu is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 - Plateau de Millevaches by J Christophe Fauvet is licensed under GFDL

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