THE HAUTE VIENNE
Being located in the Pérgord Vert , we're just 15kms from the Haute Vienne. This area is well worthy of mention, as the landscape and feel off the countryside is much the same as found in the Dorodgne, with a richness and diversity in its culture, food and people.
From La Coquille, Chalus is just 15kms away and is famous for being the place where Richard the Lion Heart was killed. The town holds a number of pageants in the summer and it takes its historical importance very seriously.
There's a street market every Friday. Also a good Intermarché supermarket on the main RN21.
On 26th March 1199, Richard the Lion Heart, Duke of Aquitaine and King of England, identified the battlements. The garrison of Chalus, consisted of no more than 15 poorly-armed men. One of the knights, a long bowman, locked in the castle, was using a frying pan as a shield. His name was Pierre Basile. He saw a small squadron of horsemen, the crossbow bolt struck one of the horsemen in the left shoulder. The wounded knight stood up in his stirrups and congratulated the soldier on his dexterity. The King was wounded. Eleanor of Aguitaine, his mother, came running to hear his last wishes; "My corpse will be buried in Fontevrault, my heart in my Cathedral of Rouen, and my entrails will stay in Chalus". Richard died 12 days later.
The Château of Chalus-Chabrol is open from 1st April-30th September.
From the battlements some 25 meters high you can admire a breathtaking view of the 3 regions which existed in the Middle Ages; Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou. The King's entrails are buried in the remains of the 11th Century chapel.
Web site: www.chateaudechalus.com
Limoges is the regional capital of the Limousin, a busy, thriving city steeped in history, its lurid past recaptured time and again in the ancient buildings, quaint old streets, museums, gardens and galleries.
Wander around the old quarter with its half-timbered buildings and visit the Maison Traditionnelle de la Boucherie (rue de la Boucherie) a museum dedicated to the legendary situation of the butchers of Limoges. Since the 1200's butchers have been very powerful. The 'company' of butchers built, in 1471, their own tiny chapel (La Chapelle St. Aurélian) with a minute belfry. It's still a private chapel but can be visited. Located in the rue de la Boucherie.
Just a street away from the rue de la Boucherie is the large covered Market Hall, Les Halles, a superb example of 19th Century iron and glass architecture. The variety of food to sample and buy equally match the magnificence of the hall in which they're displayed. Enjoy lunch in one of the restaurants in the market place.
As everyone knows Limoges is famous for its porcelain and enamel. Enamel-making started in the 12th Century and its products were spread over Europe by means of the numerous pilgrim ways. The quality of the clay and the prestige already earned by porcelain production in Limoges, prompted an American, David Haviland to set up a porcelain works there in 1842. The Haviland museum, the Pavilion de la Porcelaine, is well worth a visit.
Sadly, the two crafts are in decline. Before the 2nd World War there were more than 30 porcelain works within the city confines, but this figure has since dwindled as a result of fierce overseas competition. However, there are still many shops selling Limoges porcelain offering a variety of items of traditional styling and decoration, as well as modern oven-to-table ware.
Limoges is a most enjoyable, comfortable town in which to spend some time. Browse around its quality shops, visit the old quarter and the Cathedral. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in the market square or take a picnic down by the river side. Rest and relax in one of the many parks and open spaces. For there is more green space per capita in Limoges than in any other French provincial city.
The Limoges Office de Tourisme on the Boulevard de Fleurus supplies full information of many places of interest and details of city walking tours and will arrange guided visits for individuals or gourps.
Limoges is an important railway and bus terminus. And at Bellegarde, a suburb just outside the city, it is served by an airport with inter-France flights and a daily service to the UK operated by buzz, the low-cost airline. (For more details see Travel Section).
When Oradour was visited by General de Gaulle after the 2nd World War, he declared that it should remain untouched as a reminder of man's inhumanity to man. And so the old village of Oradour-sur-Glane has been left intact, almost exactly as it was on the day that a company of the 2nd SS Panzer Division killed 642 people of the village. The musem, Le Centre de la Mémoire at Oradour documents the tragedy and you can walk through the old village as if time has stood still.
Oradour-sur-Glane is located just outside Limoges and is well signposted.
The Department of the Limousin, of which the Haute Vienne makes up one of the
three areas, although not so well endowed with châteaux and underground
caves and prehistoric sites as the Dordogne, is, nonetheless, well endowed with
the most picturesque countryside, beautiful villages and areas of archaeological
and historical interest.
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