Limousin’s idyllic pastoral landscape, its honey coloured hamlets and glittering lakes belie its past, one of fierce battles and sieges. Its countryside expresses an ‘off the beaten track’ feel – deciduous forests give way to grazing lands, uplands form the north western edge of the Massif Central, and the River Dordogne cuts through the south west, which is peppered with small villages.
Limoges is the best known of the region’s towns and recognised for its porcelain, the production of which brought employment alongside international renown for dinnerware and other porcelain products. A few miles west is the quiet, unassuming town of Aixe-sur-Vienne, situated on a pilgrimage route and gateway to the National Park of the Périgord-Limousin, a natural haven laced with walking paths that lead around peat bogs, glassy lakes and limestone beds. Limousin’s castles such as the Château de Crozant and Château de Boussac are a reminder of a troubled past, now serving as an interesting way to explore the area’s history.
The appeal of Limousin lies in the innate sense of the undiscovered that pervades every contour of the landscape. Walking and cycling here produces a feeling of freedom that is both profoundly energising and utterly intoxicating.