Lying between altitudes of 200 metres and 1,000 metres, the Limousin is mostly a region of hills and valleys and low mountains, its highest point is Mont Bessou (977m), near Ussel, in Corrèze, part of a large upland area known as the Plateau de Millevaches. Most of the department is above 350m altitude. Forming part of south-west France, Limousin is bordered by the regions of Centre to the north, Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine to the west, Midi-Pyrénées to the south and Auvergne to the east.
DEPARTMENTS (AND CAPITALS)
87 Haute Vienne (Limoges); 23 Creuse (Guéret)
19 Corrèze (Tulle)
Situated largely in the Massif Central, as of January, 2011, the Limousin had 742,100 inhabitants on nearly 17,000 km2, making it the second-least populated region of France (after Corsica). The region has an imbalance between the west, which embraces most of the population, and the east, where rural characteristics are more pronounced.
The only town of any size in the Limousin region is the city of Limoges; with about 140,000 inhabitants, and an urban area of almost 300,000 inhabitants, greater Limoges provides about half of all the jobs in the region. Until the turn of the millennium, the Limousin had been losing population for a century or so; that decline has now been halted, thanks largely to an influx of people from Britain and Holland, seeking a quiet location in which to settle.
The region's second city, Brive-la-Gaillarde, has just under 50,000 inhabitants; it is the biggest town, but not the capital, of the Corrèze department, the southernmost of the region's three departments. Apart from Limoges and Brive, no town in the Limousin has more than 20,000 inhabitants; towns such as Tulle, Aubusson and Guéret are small market towns that have grown little in the last century.
Limousin is an essentially rural region, famed for some of the best beef farming in the world, herds of Limousin cattle – a distinctive chestnut red – that are a common sight in the region. The region is also a major timber producing area, renowned for its groves of French Oak, so prized for its distinct character and flavour in wine fermentation
In the south west, the region borders the Dordogne; the river Dordogne itself cuts through the south-west of the region, after several kilometers where it forms the border with the neighbouring region of Auvergne.
Maison Régionale du Tourisme , 30, cours Gay-Lussac, C.S. 500 95, 87003 LIMOGES
Tel: 05 55 11 05 90