We may all be obsessed with Made in Chelsea (what is going on with Jamie & Jess please?) but our writer Vanessa, had the pleasure of spending a few days away to experience life as made in Limousin.
Limousin is a region in central France that is home to the city of Limoges, often when we think of France, the mind immediately goes to Paris, then Cannes, then Bordeaux. Yet Limousin is Frances hidden treasure and within it it holds a lot of hidden gems that need to be appreciated. The region itself is becoming more well reknowned for its passion for luxury within every industry and in just three days, it was easy to see why. The French are known for their passion and passion is in every detail in the region and this passion shows. Home to cathedrals, festivals, museums, multiple factories and an incredibly unique history, Limoges has so much to offer.
With beautiful towns and glorious architecture mixed with the gorgeous French countryside, its impossible not to fall in love with Limousin purely on appearance. However we want to tell you about what we loved most in the region and what we think Limousin does best; art, food and fashion.
Limousin is known for its art but most importantly for both its porcelain and enamelling.
Limoges porcelain is unlike any other and its reputation is due to a combination of tradition and modernity. Sought by collectors today and highly prized, the Limoges region produced Limoges Porcelain in several factories from the 1700’s through the mid 1930’s. A visit to one of the porcelain factories is definitely a must. The Adrien Dubouchè Museum holds the worlds largest Limoges porcelain collection. The tours allow you to experience the steps in the history of ceramics and grasp the challenging process; visitors are then able to browse and appreciate the absolutely stunning collections both in the museum and in local stores.
Limoges is also known for its use of enamelling. There are plenty of places in which you can view this craft, the Fine Arts Museum in Limoges, situated in the Saint-Etern Medieval Quarters and is internationally renowned for its enamel collection.
However if you really want to appreciate this fine art, then the Maison De L’email is the place to go. The gallery is home to exhibits by worldwide designers, jewellery, sculptures and even a boutique. The house also offers workshops so you can fully experience the craft, techniques, creativity, patience and attention to detail needed to create your own enamel art. Perfect for both adults and children.
Of course when in France, food and wine are a big deal and Limousin does not disappoint. The region is known for a variety of foods but most famously its apples and cows. The Pomme du Limousin are renowned for being beyond delicious and the Limousin cow is a regular prize winner for being the juiciest and leanest meat. Yet although Limoges prides itself in the tradition and quality of it’s food, the region is extremely environmentally friendly when it comes to their techniques and waste methods.
If you want to truly experience life here and eat like a local then Limousin is overflowing with excellent restaurants and their speciality is often Foie Gras, so it is highly recommended to order the dish at least once.
When it comes to drink, red wine is often the choice and the variety on offer is enough to turn you from a white wine only to a red lover. Restaurants often offer gorgeous aperitifs that are definitely worth trying and there are plenty of distilleries which you can visit to truly develop your palette. When dessert comes in the equation, you’re in for a treat. Whether it’s Macarons or Creme Brûlée, the quality is incredible and if you don’t normally order dessert, we suggest you do.
Chocolate plays a huge part in the French diet and there are some gorgeous stores and factories you can visit. The Eric Lamy chocolate factory in Brive is definitely worth a visit. It’s around an hours drive but the chocolatier offers workshops and tours allowing you to understand and taste the distinct differences in chocolate before entering the shop floor and . The hours drive is well worth it almost acts as a day trip within your trip. The town itself is beautiful and there are plenty of places to stop for coffee or lunch to refuel and indulge in your treats from the chocolatier.
Limousin, although only a small place in France is also known for its fashion and its leather goods. It’s clear that those who live in Limoges love a little bit of luxury, whether it be food, drink, architecture or lifestyle so why should their taste in fashion be any different. Agnelle, is a leather glove factory who’s products are said to be the Rolls Royce of gloves. The factory was founded in 1937 and in 2006 obtained a ‘live heritage company’ label. Agnelle is used by luxury brands such as Dior, Burberry, Guerlain, Givenchy, Lanvin and Louis Vuitton and their designs are worn by stars like Madonna and Sharon Stone. You can have a tour of the workshop and can even purchase your own Agnelle gloves at the end of the tour.
With Limousin being indulged with both luxury and history, it’s no wonder the region was home to the 2009 Chanel No5 campaign andwas the area where Chanel spent a large part of her childhood. The founder of the powerhouse lived in an orphanage at the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary and attended masses at the church of Aubazine. The abbey influenced both her style and the timeless looks she created within the brand and it is said the stained glass windows were the inspiration for the brands famous CC logo. So if you’re a fashion lover, this is definitely a place to add to your itinerary.
Immersed in food, drink, fashion, luxury, art and culture, in Limousin there is definitely something for everyone. So whether you want a relaxing week away to indulge or a quick weekend away to explore Limoges is the place for you. With regular flights from London Stansted and other UK airports, the friendliest locals you will ever meet, activities on every corner, gorgeous food and accommodation and a beautiful French town, what more could you want?