Limoges is synonymous with Limoges porcelain:
For many people Limoges is synonymous with Limoges porcelain and china. When we travelled through the Limousin region, our visit to Le Pavillon de la Porcelaine of the Haviland Limoges showroom was exciting for many in our group as this was the opportunity to buy the real Limoges porcelain from the place of origin.
For those who are souvenir-fatigued, the showroom contains interesting replicas of work that were commissioned for the rich, the royal and the famous including this one for Dali.
You can also read the interesting story about the State Dinner Service ordered during the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes which is probably the best documented of any service of White House china. According to the records at the Limoges showroom, it certainly is the most spectacular service ever to have been ordered for the White House. The contract called for a large dinner service consisting of 10 dozen dinner plates and 5 dozen of the other major pieces of the service totalling 628 pieces in all. It cost the Executive mansion $2,996.50 and delivery was specified as within six months of the start of the work.
Limoges’ association with porcelain began in 1771 when kaolin was discovered near the town. Kaoline is a rock rich in fine white clay which is used for making porcelain. Under the direction of Baron de Laune, a progressive economist who was appointed to oversee the region, a porcelain industry was established which culminated in Limoges being famous for its porcelain in the 19th century. If you’re keen on Limoges porcelain, the Musée National Adrien-Dubouch has 10,000 pieces of ceramic works and the most beautiful collection of porcelain made in Limoges. At the Musée de l’Evch there is a collection of Limoges enamels.
Limoges is the capital of the Limousin region and is today an industrial city. The city was founded by the Romans around 10 BC, so there are many historical sites to visit during your Limoges holiday including:
- The 10th century Crypt of Saint Martial which includes the tomb of the bishop who evangelized the city.
- Remains of the Gallo-Roman amphitheater, one of the largest in the ancient Gaul.
- The Gothic cathedral of St-Etienne
- The Chapelle of Saint-Aurélien (14th-17th centuries) 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
- 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 meter-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 remains. It is the seat of the Musée de l’Émail, with a large collection of old enamels.
- The modern Gare de Limoges Bénédictins, inaugurated in 1929.
- The city’s botanical gardens include the Jardin Botanique de l’Evêché and the Jardin Botanique Alpin “Daniella”.