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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 45°50′07″N 1°15′45″E / 45.8353°N 1.2625°E / 45.8353; 1.2625

Limoges bridge Saint Etienne.JPG
Bridge Saint-Étienne over the Vienne River
Limoges is located in France
Country France
Region Limousin
Department Haute-Vienne
Arrondissement Limoges
Canton Chief town of 16 cantons[1]
Intercommunality Limoges Métropole
Mayor Alain Rodet
Elevation 209–431 m (690–1,410 ft)
(avg. 294 m/960 ft)
Land area1 77.45 km2 (29.90 sq mi)
Population2 139,026  (2006)
 - Density 1,795 /km2 (4,650 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 87085/ 87000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Limoges (Lemòtges / Limòtges in the Limousin dialect of Occitan) is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and the administrative capital of the Limousin région in west-central France.

Limoges is known for its medieval enamels (Limoges enamels) on copper, for its 19th century porcelain (Limoges porcelain) and for its oak barrels (Limousin oak), which are used for Cognac production.




Ancient and medieval history

Scarce remains of pre-urban settlements have been found in the area of Limoges. The capital of the Gaulish people of the Lemovices, who lived in the area, was probably some kilometres south-east of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.

The city proper was founded as Augustoritum by the Romans, around 10 BC. The foundation was part of the reorganization of the province by the emperor Augustus, hence the new name. The Roman city included an amphitheater measuring 136 x 115 meters, a theater, a forum, baths and several sanctuaries. According to tradition, a temple consecrated to Venus, Diana, Minerva and Jupiter was located near the modern cathedral. The city was on the typical Roman square plan, with two main streets crossing in the centre. It had a Senate and a currency of its own, a sign of its importance in the imperial age.

Limoges was evangelized by Saint Martial, who came to the city around 250 with two companions, Alpinianus and Austriclinienus. However, in the late 3rd century it was increasingly abandoned, due to unsafe conditions created by German invasions. The population concentrated instead on a more easily fortifiable site, the modern Puy Saint-Étienne, which is the centre of the modern Limoges. Starting from the construction of the Abbey of St. Martial (9th century), another settlement grew around the tomb of the saint, while a third area, next to the residence of the viscount (the future Castle of Saint Martial), seems to have been populated from the tenth century.

Starting from the eleventh century, thanks to the presence of the Abbey of St. Martial and its large library, Limoges became a flourishing artistic centre. It also was the home to an important school of medieval music composition, which is usually called the St. Martial School; its most famous member was the thirteenth century troubadour Bertran de Born.

In the 13th century, at the peak of its splendour, central Limoges was constituted by two different fortified settlements.

  • The town proper, with a new line of walls encompassing the Vienne River, inhabited mainly by clerks and the connected workers. It has a bridge named after Saint-Étienne, built by the bishops, and a developed port. Sacked in 1370, it never recovered entirely.
  • The castle, with 12 m-high walls, including the abbey and controlled by the abbot, sometimes in contrast with the bishop-ruled town. Traces of the walls can still be seen in the city's centre.

Outside the lines of walls were the popular quarters.

In 1370 Limoges was occupied by Edward, the Black Prince, who massacred some 3,000 residents, according to Froissart. See Massacre of Limoges

Modern history

The city and castle were united in 1792 to form the single city of Limoges. During the French Revolution several religious edifices, considered symbols of the Ancien Régime, were destroyed by the population: these included the Abbey of St. Martial itself.

Some years later the porcelain industry started to develop, favoured by the presence of kaolinite which was discovered near Limoges in 1768 [2] . Many of the inhabitants became employed in the new sector or in connected activities (including the lumbering of wood needed for firing the porcelain).

In the 19th century Limoges saw strong construction activity, which included the destruction and rebuilding of much of the city centre. This was necessary as the town was regarded as unhealthy because of local chicken eating contests and as a nest for prostitution. The unsafe conditions of the poorer population is highlighted by the outbreak of several riots, including that of July-November 1830; April 1848 and early 1905. The first French confederation of workers, Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), was created in Limoges in 1895.

During the Holocaust, many Jews from Alsace were evacuated to Limoges.


Limoges experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) common to most of France, falling just short of a humid subtropical climate. Most precipitation occurs between October and February when strong European windstorms strike the city. On December 27, 1999, winds reached 148 km/h. On average, the city receives 41 days of frost and seven days of snow each winter.

Limoges is one of the hottest and driest cities in France (aside from those on the Mediterranean coast) during the summer months. In June, July and August, precipitation tends to come only from violent thunderstorms which are formed over the Bay of Biscay.

Weather data for Limoges
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 1.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 79.9
Source: METEO-FRANCE 1961-2006


Population city: 137,502 (limougeauds), urban area: 247,944. At the 1999 census, the population was 133,968.[3]

Main sights

The Cathedral of Limoges.
Bridge of Saint Martial.
Gare des Bénédictins.
  • The Crypt of Saint Martial (10th century), including the tomb of the bishop who evangelized the city.[4] It was discovered in the 1960s.
  • Remains of the Gallo-Roman amphitheater, one of the largest in the ancient Gaul. It was covered with earth in the 1960s.
  • The Gothic cathedral of St-Etienne, begun in 1273 and finished only in 1888. It is noted for a fine rood loft built in 1534 and for the fine, partly octagonal bell tower. The main artistic work are a Renaissance rood screen and the tomb of the bishop Jean de Langeac, with sculpted scenes of the Apocalypse.
  • The Chapelle Saint-Aurélien (14th-17th centuries). It includes the relics of St. Aurelian, the second bishop of Limoges, and has medieval statues and Baroque works of art.
  • The church of St-Pierre-du-Queyroix, begun in the 12th century
  • Church of St-Michel-des-Lions, begun in 1364. It houses the relics of St. Martial and has noteworthy stained-glass windows from the 15th-16th century. The most striking feature is the 65 m-high tower, with a spire surmounted by a big bronze ball.
  • The bridges of Saint Martial (dating from the Roman era) and of St-Etienne (13th century).
  • The Bishops' Palace (Palais de l'Évêché, 17th century). Of the original building, only a chapel remain. It is the seat of the Musée de l'Émail, with a large collection of old enamels. [Palace Exterior:[1]
  • The modern Gare de Limoges Bénédictins, inaugurated in 1929.
  • The Château de La Borie (17th century), at 4 km (2.5 mi) from the city. It is home to the Centre Culturel de Rencontre de La Borie et l'Ensemble Baroque de Limoges.
  • The remains of the 12th century Castle of Chalucet, 10 km (6.2 mi) outside the city. During the Hundred Years' War it was a base of the bands of pillagers which ravaged the country.
  • The city's botanical gardens include the Jardin botanique de l'Evêché and the Jardin botanique alpin "Daniella".


In 1768,[2] kaolin, a rock rich in fine, white clay which is used for making porcelain, was discovered at Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, near Limoges.[5].

Under the impetus of the progressive economist Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, who had been appointed intendant of this impoverished and isolated region, a new ceramics industry was developed, and Limoges porcelain became famous during the 19th century. However, Limoges porcelain is a generic term for porcelain produced in Limoges rather than at a specific factory

More than 50% of all porcelain made in France comes from Limoges [2]


The murder of Thomas Becket, Limoges enamel, 12th century (Louvres Museum)
  • The city is known for its basketball club CSP Limoges which won the European Champions Cup in 1993 against Toni Kukoč, Benetton Treviso.
  • "The Marketplace at Limoges" is the name of section of Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
  • A university was founded at Limoges in 1968 [6].
  • Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) was killed by a crossbow bolt wound to the shoulder just south of Limoges in 1199.
  • The famous painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born at "Place de la Motte" (Place of The Hill), a medieval place in the city center where one can see a huge "trompe l'oeil" on its walls in commemoration of Renoir.
  • British pop group Prefab Sprout debuted in 1982 with their self-released single, "Lions In My Own Garden: Exit Someone" - songwriter Paddy McAloon wanted a song title where the first letters of the words spelled out "LIMOGES" (where his former girlfriend was staying at the time).

Notable people

Limoges was the birthplace of:

Twin towns

See also



  1. ^ Limoges if the chief-town of 16 cantons: Limoges-Beaupuy, Limoges-Carnot, Limoges-Centre, Limoges-Cité, Limoges-Condat, Limoges-Corgnac, Limoges-Couzeix, Limoges-Émailleurs, Limoges-Grand-Treuil, Limoges-Isle, Limoges-La Bastide, Limoges-Landouge, Limoges-Le Palais, Limoges-Panazol, Limoges-Puy-las-Rodas, Limoges-Vigenal
  2. ^ a b c Limoges
  3. ^ Limoges at INSEE (French)
  4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Martial
  5. ^
  6. ^ Université de Limoges Website (English)
  7. ^ Embassy of France in Russia, list of sister cities

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : France : Limoges
For other places with the same name, see Limoges (disambiguation).

Limoges is a city in France.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LIMOGES, a town of west-central France, capital of the department of Haute-Vienne, formerly capital of the old province of Limousin, 176 m. S. by W. of Orleans on the railway to Toulouse. Pop. (1906) town, 75,906; commune, 88,597. The station is a junction for Poitiers, Angouleme, Perigueux and Clermont-Ferrand. The town occupies a hill on the right bank of the Vienne, and comprises two parts originally distinct, the Cite with narrow streets and old houses occupying the lower slope, and the town proper the summit. In the latter a street known as the Rue de la Boucherie is occupied by a powerful and ancient corporation of butchers. The site of the fortifications which formerly surrounded both quarters is occupied by boulevards, outside which are suburbs with wide streets and spacious squares. The cathedral, the most remarkable building in the Limousin, was begun in 1273. In 1327 the choir was completed, and before the middle of the 16th century the transept, with its fine north portal and the first two bays of the nave; from 1875 to 1890 the construction of the nave was continued, and it was united with the west tower (203 ft. high), the base of which belongs to a previous Romanesque church. In the interior there are a magnificent rood loft of the Renaissance, and the tombs of Jean de Langeac (d. 1541) and other bishops. Of the other churches of Limoges, St Michel des Lions (14th and 15th centuries) and St Pierre du Queyroix (12th and r3th centuries) both contain interesting stained glass. The principal modern buildings are the town hall and the law-courts. The Vienne is crossed by a railway viaduct and four bridges, two of which, the Pont St Etienne and the Pont St Martial, date from the 13th century. Among the chief squares are the Place d'Orsay on the site of a Roman amphitheatre, the Place Jourdan with the statue of Marshal J. B. Jourdan, born at Limoges, and the Place d'Aine with the statue of J. L. Gay-Lussac. President Carnot and Denis Dussoubs, both of whom have statues, were also natives of the town. The museum has a rich ceramic collection and art, numismatic and natural history collections.

Limoges is the headquarters of the army corps and the seat of a bishop, a prefect, a court of appeal and a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. The educational institutions include a lycee for boys, a preparatory school of medicine and pharmacy, a higher theological seminary, a training college, a national school of decorative art and a commercial and industrial school. The manufacture and decoration of porcelain give employment to about 13,000 persons in the town and its vicinity. Shoemaking and the manufacture of clogs occupy over 2000. Other industries are liqueur-distilling, the spinning of wool and clothweaving, printing and the manufacture of paper from straw. Enamelling, which flourished at Limoges in the middle ages and during the Renaissance (see Enamel), but subsequently died out, was revived at the end of the 19th century. There is an extensive trade in wine and spirits, cattle, cereals and wood. The Vienne is navigable for rafts above Limoges, and the logs brought down by the current are stopped at the entrance of the town by the inhabitants of the Naveix quarter, who form a special gild for this purpose.

Limoges was a place of importance at the time of the Roman conquest, and sent a large force to the defence of Alesia: In II B.C. it took the name of Augustus (Augustoritum); but in the 4th century it was anew called by the name of the Lemovices, whose capital it was. It then contained palaces and baths, had its own senate and the right of coinage. Christianity was introduced by St Martial. In the 5th century Limoges was devastated by the Vandals and the Visigoths, and afterwards suffered in the wars between the Franks and Aquitanians and in the invasions of the Normans. Under the Merovingian kings Limoges was celebrated for its mints and its goldsmiths' work. In the middle ages the town was divided into two distinct parts, each surrounded by walls, forming separate fiefs with a separate system of administration, an arrangement which survived till 1792. Of these the more important, known as the Château, which grew up round the tomb of St Martial in the 9th century, and was surrounded with walls in the 10th and again in the r 2th, was under the jurisdiction of the viscounts of Limoges, and contained their castle and the monastery of St Martial; the other, the Cite, which was under the jurisdiction of the bishop, had but a sparse population, the habitable ground being practically covered by the cathedral, the episcopal palace and other churches and religious buildings. In the Hundred Years' War the bishops sided with the French, while the viscounts were unwilling vassals of the English. In 1370 the Cite, which had opened its gates to the French, was taken by the Black Prince and given over to fire and sword.

The religious wars, pestilence and famine desolated Limoges in turn, and the plague of1630-1631carried off more than 20,000 persons. The wise administrations of Henri d'Aguesseau, father of the chancellor, and of Turgot enabled Limoges to recover its former prosperity. There have been several great fires, destroying whole quarters of the city, built, as it then was, of wood. That of 1790 lasted for two months, and destroyed 192 houses; and that of 1864 laid under ashes a large area. Limoges celebrates every seven years a curious religious festival (Fête d'Ostension), during which the relics of St Martial are exposed for seven weeks, attracting large numbers of visitors. It dates from the 10th century, and commemorates a pestilence (mal des ardents) which, after destroying 40,000 persons, is believed to have been stayed by the intercession of the saint.

Limoges was the scene of two ecclesiastical councils, in 1029 and 1031. The first proclaimed the title of St Martial as "apostle of Aquitaine"; the second insisted on the observance of the "truce of God." In 1095 Pope Urban II. held a synod of bishops here in connexion with his efforts to organize a crusade, and on this occasion consecrated the basilica of St Martial (pulled down after 1794).

See Celestin Pore, Limoges, in Joanne's guides, De Paris a Ager (1867); Ducourtieux, Limoges d'apres ses anciens plans (1884) and Limoges et ses environs (3rd ed., 1894). A very full list of works on Limoges, the town, viscounty, bishopric, &c., is given by U. Chevalier in Repertoire des sources hist. du moyen age. Topo-bibliogr. (Mont Celiard, 1903), t. ii. s.v.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also limoges


Proper noun




  1. A city in France, capital of the Limousin region.

Simple English

Limoges is a city in France. It has about 142,000 inhabitants.


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