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Limousin

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Limousin

Limousin
Region of France
Flag of Limousin
Flag
Coat of arms of Limousin
Coat of arms
Country  France
Prefecture Limoges
Departments
Government
 • President Gérard Vandenbroucke (PS)
AreaINSEE
 • Total 16,942 km2 (6,541 sq mi)
Population (2010-01-01)
 • Total 742,771
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-L
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 21st
Total €17.3 billion (US$22.3 bn)
Per capita €23,354 (US$30,038)
NUTS Region FR6
Website (French)cr-limousin.fr

Limousin (French pronunciation:  ( ); Occitan: Lemosin) is one of the 27 regions of France. It is composed of three departments: Corrèze, Creuse and Haute-Vienne.

Situated largely in the Massif Central, as of January 1, 2010, the Limousin had 742,771 inhabitants on nearly 17,000 km2, making it the second-least populated region of France after Corsica.

Forming part of the southwest of 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. Limousin is also part of Occitania.

Formation

The modern region of Limousin is essentially composed of two historical French provinces:

  • Limousin: the department of Corrèze in its entirety and the central and southeastern part of Haute-Vienne. The entire old province of Limousin is contained within the modern Limousin.
  • Marche: most of the department of Creuse and the north of Haute-Vienne. The old province of Marche is almost entirely contained within the modern region of Limousin, with only a small part of Marche now belonging to the region of Centre.

Beside these two main provinces, Limousin is also composed of small parts of other former provinces:

  • Angoumois: extreme south-west of Haute-Vienne
  • Poitou: extreme west of Haute-Vienne
  • Auvergne: extreme east of Creuse
  • Berry: extreme north of Creuse

Today the province of Limousin is the most populous part of the Limousin region. Limoges, the historical capital and largest city of the province of Limousin, is the capital of the Limousin administrative region.

Population

With a slowly rising population of just under 750,000, Limousin is the second-least populous region in Metropolitan France after Corsica.

The population of Limousin is aging and, until 1999, was declining. The department of Creuse has the oldest population of any in France. Between 1999 and 2004 the population of Limousin increased slightly, reversing a decline for the first time in decades.[2]

Major communities

Limoges, half-timered house by the bridge Saint Martial

Economy

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—are a common sight in the region. The region is also a major timber producing area.

Due to its rural locality, it is also famed for its groves of French Oak, so prized for its distinct characters and flavors in wine fermentation that vintner Rémy Martin has exclusive rights to its oak groves. It is a partnership that is over 100 years old.

The regional capital, Limoges, was once an industrial power base, world-renowned for its porcelain and still a leader and innovator in electric equipment factories (which originally used porcelain as an insulator). However, large factories are now few in number.

Geography and climate

Bodies of water

Some of the rivers belonging to the Loire basin run through the north, west and east of the region, waterways belonging to that of the Dordogne through the south. The region is crossed by three major rivers: the Vienne, the Dordogne and the Charente (which has its source in Haute-Vienne). The region is well known for the high quality of its water and for offering first-rate fishing.

Small river in Creuse, Limousin

Topography

The Limousin region is almost entirely an upland area. The lowest land is in the northwest of the region (approximately 250 m above sea level) and the highest land is roughly in the southeast (approximately 1000 m above sea level). However, the greater part of the region is above 350 m.

Climate

Although summer temperatures often exceed 30 °C – and have even reached as high as 42 °C – the Limousin region has a damper and milder climate than neighbouring regions. Winters are often long and cold, especially in the higher areas, and snow is not at all uncommon.

Shepherds working in Limousin needed protection from the cool damp winters and traditionally wore a cloak with a large hood.[3] which lent its name to the Limousine in which early drivers wore a similar protective cape. Despite that, the area around Brive in the Corrèze has more than 2000 hours per year of sunshine, the same as the southern city of Toulouse.

History

Coat of Arms of Limousin

Limousin is one of the traditional provinces of France. Its name is derived from the name of a Celtic tribe, the Lemovices.

Aimar V of Limoges was a notable ruler of the region.

Culture

Flag of the region Limousin in France.
Until the 1970s, Occitan was the primary language of rural areas. There remain several different Occitan dialects in use in Limousin, although their use is rapidly declining. These are:

Perhaps due to its rural character, Limousin has maintained a strong tradition of traditional music, with ancient instruments such as the bagpipe (called chabrette, Chabreta in occitan) and hurdy gurdy remaining popular.

Gastronomy

Pâté aux pommes de terre is one of the specialties of Limousin, as well as of the neighbouring department of Allier. Clafoutis is a local dessert.

Music

Notables

From Corrèze

From Creuse

From Haute-Vienne

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^  
  2. ^ Yann Leurs, Recensement : rebond démographique confirmé, INSEE, 2006, see online
  3. ^ "History of the Limousine". Lancashirelimos.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 

External links

  • Limousin : the “château d'eau” - Official French website (in English)
  • (French) Limousin regional council website, with a presentation video in English.
  • (French) Art in the Limousin region
  • (French) History and Geography (University of Limoges)
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