18 must-do things to do in Limousin

Limousin

It’s time for a breath of fresh air, calm and nature! Discover the 18 must-sees in Limousin!

It’s one of the smallest former regions of France, but also one of the most misunderstood. Travelers know it by name, they know it’s a good place to eat, they may have Limoges porcelain plates, but they’ve never really stopped to visit Limousin. And that’s a shame.

With the exception of Corrèze, it’s not often visited by tourists, but it’s the perfect destination for recharging your batteries. In fact, Limousin lies at the crossroads of Occitania, Auvergne and Centre in the north. This geographical position is reflected in the diversity of its landscapes and heritage. The North is the kingdom of wide open spaces and green meadows.

The relief in the east is reminiscent of theAuvergne mountains, and the Millevaches park has even been dubbed the region’s « water tower ». In the south, you’ll find the accent of Occitania, with the warmer sun reflected in the stone walls of fortified villages.

As you can see, there’s nothing to get bored of in this region. It’s time to make up for your non-visit and discover these 18 must-sees in Limousin.

1. Limoges

Gare de Limoges

Photo credit: Flickr – marydoll1952

Everyone knows it by name, but few have actually walked its streets. And yet, the porcelain capital is the town to visit in Limousin. You’ll discover the Boucherie district with its medieval houses, the national porcelain museum, the bucolic banks of the Vienne river, not forgetting the famous Benedictine railway station, and plenty more.

Food lovers, especially meat eaters, won’t want to miss the famous Frairie des Petits Ventres. Last but not least, sports fans should go and see a CSP match at the Palais des Sports Beaublanc. The basketball club has seen some great players pass through its doors and is the first French club to win European championships.

2. Châlucet

Chalucet

Photo credit: Wikipedia – LucasD

Nestled in the heart of the Ligoure forest, the remains of the fortress are impressive for their size and the height of their walls. In fact, several levels of fortifications were built between the 12th and 16th centuries.

Towers, battlements, the ruins of a fortified palace: archaeological excavations have yet to reveal all the site’s secrets. A visit will give you the opportunity to play Indiana Jones and go back in time.

3. The Haute-Vallée de la Vienne as a driving force

Locomotive Haute-Vienne

Photo credit: Facebook – CFTLP – Train vapeur en Limousin

One of the must-do activities in the Limousin region is to board an old 1932 steam locomotive in Limoges. From there, it’s off for a day of exploring the landscapes of the Vienne Gorge from the railroad line built in the 1880s.

You’ll go on to the town of Eymoutiers, which you can explore before taking the return journey.

4. Vassivière

Vassivières

Photo credit: Shutterstock – ADANT FREDERIC

The largest lake in the region, covering 1,000 hectares, the Lac de Vassivière and Île de Vassivière are a must-see in the Limousin. It’s the perfect place for lovers of wilderness and swimming. Its shores are lined with forests, and its waters are the scene of numerous aquatic activities.

And don’t forget to cross the bridge to stroll around the island and discover the Centre international d’art et du paysage.

5. The ruins of Crozant castle

Chateau de Crozant

Photo credit: Shutterstock – RIRF Stock

This is certainly one of the most beautiful spots to visit in the Limousin. More precisely, it’s situated on a rocky promontory overlooking the bed of the Creuse and Sédelle rivers. Take a stroll between the remains before settling down to admire the view over the wild valley and meandering river.

All the great Impressionist painters succumbed to the panorama, and you certainly will too.

6. The carved village of Masgot

Village Masgot

Photo credit: Facebook –
Masgot Village

The village is well known to tourists, so you won’t be alone. It’s no ordinary village to visit in the Limousin. The village is adorned with hundreds of stone sculptures, the brainchild of 19th-century artist François Michaud.

It’s all there: animals, fantastic creatures, even Napoleon. What’s more, curious visitors can learn about sculpture at various courses.

7. Lake Saint-Pardoux

Lac de Saint-Pardoux

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Lac de Saint-Pardoux

It’s the second most popular lake in the Limousin region for those who want to enjoy a wide range of water activities, but not only that. Although it’s an artificial lake created between the Monts de Blond and Ambazac, the landscape is wild, with irregular wooded banks.

With 2 beaches and an impressive range of outdoor sports, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.

8. Rochechouart castle

chateau de rochechouart

Credit Photo : Pixabay – Banzy2019

Are you passionate about contemporary art? Then you’ve got to visit this château in the Limousin region, which has been converted into the Haute-Vienne Contemporary Art Center. It boasts a permanent collection of over 300 works, as well as the archives of Raoul Hausmann, founder of the Dada movement.

And to bring it all to life, the center organizes numerous themed tours and workshops.

9. Collonges-la-Rouge

Collonges-la-Rouge, l'un des plus beaux villages médiévaux en France

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ivonne Wierink

The Limousin village that the whole world wants to visit. Located in the Corrèze region, it owes its fame to the superb color of its red sandstone houses and the timeless charm of its cobbled streets. It’s a delight to stroll within its walls. Try a visit at the end of the day to admire the sunset. It may be less crowded too.

10. The Millevaches plateau

Parc Millevache Coucher de Soleil

Photo credit: Flickr – Bruno Jargot

Here, calm reigns between the forests, peat bogs and meadows that make up the plateau. The otter, symbol of the Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches, also heralds the omnipresence of water. Indeed, the origins of the name are more likely to come from an expression referring to « a thousand springs » than to the animal itself.

All that’s left to do is plan your hikes. Don’t forget to include Mont Gargan, home to both natural riches and historic sites such as religious relics and a resistance memorial stone.

11. Aubusson

visiter Limousin - Tapisserie d'Aubusson

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Robert Valette

Aubusson is a discreet, hidden village, but one that has preserved its centuries-old know-how: the famous tapestry. The village is also home to the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie, whose craftsmanship is listed by UNESCO.

In addition to its conservation role, the museum also showcases contemporary art. A must-see in Limousin if you’re in the area.

12. Curemonte

visiter Limousin - Curemonte

Credit Photo : Wikipedia – MOSSOT

Not 1, not 2, but 3 castles watch over the cobbled streets of this village, one of the most beautiful in the country and a must-see in the Limousin, of course. Built on a rocky outcrop, Curemonte is home to some very fine buildings, in addition to its fortresses.

To complete the stroll, don’t forget to take a stroll on the surrounding hill.

13. Uzerche

visiter Limousin - Uzerche

Credit Photo : Shutterstock – Yellowj

There’s an old saying that goes « If you’ve got a house in Uzerche, you’ve got a castle in the Limousin », so unless you’re really fussy, you’ll enjoy the visit. The village has everything you could wish for: turrets, noble houses, an abbey church and winding little streets. As an added bonus, there’s the bucolic charm of the Vézère river below. For photos, it’s said that the best view is from the Turgot bridge.

14. Merle towers

visiter Limousin - Tour de Merle

Credit Photo : Facebook – Tours de Merle

The landscape is worthy of a fantastic fairy tale or cartoon. Imagine a dense forest, gorges and suddenly, perched on a rocky promontory, the ruins of a medieval city.

In all, 7 majestic towers, partly swallowed up by the vegetation, form a sight not to be missed in the Limousin. The site is listed not only for its architectural heritage, but also for its flora and fauna.

15. Les Monts d’Ambazac

visiter Limousin - Mont d'Ambazac

Credit Photo : Wikipedia – Rémi87

They’re not mountains, but they’re close, as you can see if you decide to climb them on foot or by bike. Here, natural spaces are preserved and villages are rare, despite the proximity of Limoges. It’s the ideal playground for visitors in search of wilderness and scenic vistas.

Among the best-known sites are the Tourbière des Dauges and the Sauvagnac wobbly stone.

16. Boussac castle

visiter Limousin - château de Boussac

Credit Photo : Shutterstock – Richard Semik

The château is famous for being the site of the discovery of the famous Lady of the Unicorn tapestries. The tapestries are no longer on display here, but the building is well worth a visit. Its imposing silhouette dominates the Creuse valley, offering visitors a superb panorama.

Inside, the 4 floors house gigantic fireplaces, furniture and objects that have survived the centuries and bear witness to the extraordinary history of the place. It was even frequented by Georges Sand, no mean feat.

17. Oradour sur Glane

visiter Limousin - Maison en ruine et carcasse de voiture à Oradour-sur-Glane

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pierre-Olivier

It’s a must-see memorial site in the Limousin region, but be warned: you’ll need a strong heart. This is a martyred village ravaged by an SS division on June 10, 1944. Everything has remained as it was, thanks to the decision of the Provisional Government of the Republic to keep the ruins as they were.

A Centre de la Mémoire (Remembrance Centre) has been built nearby to shed scientific light on history, particularly on episodes of violence against civilian populations.

18. Turenne

visiter Limousin - Turenne

Credit Photo : Shutterstock – leoks

It’s impossible to miss this village, whose houses climb the hill on which the medieval fortress proudly sits. The fortress is particularly appealing to budding knights. The buildings bear witness to the village’s rich history as the seat of a powerful family, with parts dating from the 13th to the 18th century.

As with any beautiful village, the rule is simply to stroll. In any case, you can’t go at a snail’s pace here, as the alleys are steep!

How to get to Limousin

By plane

The region has one airport, Limoges-Bellegarde, which handles flights from Paris, Lyon and Corsica. However, it’s a small airport and if you want a more regular service, you’ll have to turn to Toulouse international airport, two hours away, or Bordeaux.

It’s also possible to find flights from Brive-la-Gaillarde airport. For a complete overview of the possibilities for visiting the Limousin region, we recommend using a flight comparator such as Skyscanner.

By train

While we wait for the super-train of the future, which will connect Paris to Limoges in record time, it takes around 4 hours to get to Limousin. But the advantage is that the train makes a few stops, notably in Creuse, if you want to see some of the must-sees there. You can also get off at Brive-la-Gaillarde to visit the Corrèze region.

By car

There’s nothing easier than visiting the Limousin region by car: just take theA20 towards Toulouse, and it’s straight ahead. You can also take theA89 through central France from Lyon to Bordeaux. Turn off at Brive-la-Gaillarde, then head for Limoges. All you have to do is find the exits that match your visit schedule.

Where to stay in Limousin?

From Airbnb apartments to hotels and campsites, you’ll find a whole range of accommodations to welcome you to Limousin. For private rentals, towns like Limoges, Guéret, Brive and Tulle are the best places to stay.

Campsites abound near natural areas such as the Vassivière and Saint-Pardoux lakes. Last but not least, the charming villages of Corrèze are brimming with perfectly renovated gîtes full of character. There are also a number of beautiful hotels, especially in Corrèze, where the old manor houses have been beautifully restored. To find the solution that’s right for you, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator.

Full steam ahead to discover this charming part of our beautiful country!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Occitanie