In the southwest of the Haute-Vienne, the Limousin Chestnut Grove takes its name from the ancestral chestnut tree, emblematic tree and historic component of local culture and economy. The interaction between man and nature is omnipresent. The richness of the subsoil, the enclosed valleys and the hills covered with chestnut trees have sculpted both the landscape and human activity. A strong homogeneity characterises this territory through a tradition of working the soil and subsoil, local produce and know-how and cultural practices founded on getting the best out of local resources. The preserved traditional habitation is distinguished by curved tile roofs in the west that transforms progressively to steep roofs covered with flat tiles in the east. The south-western region has been given the label ’Périgord-Limousin Regional Natural Park’ because of its ecological diversity.
Between Heaven and Earth
The giant Meteorite that fell 214 million years ago singularised the geological evolution Rochechouart and its surroundings. The traditional dwellings made from impactite and the unique, in France, subsoil interests scientists from across the globe. The Meteorite Space awakens curiosity and imagination in everyone who visits.
The subsoil rich in gold, kaolin and clay and worked for thousand of years, bears the trace of interesting activities and know-how : the Earth (clay) workshop/museum in the Puycheny tilery basin, gold working since Gallic times in St Yriex la Perche, La Roche l’Abeille and nowadays placer mining in Chalard…
The numerous serpentine outcroppings are of a remarkable character. These rocks are the proof that in a long ago era, this area was under an ocean. They’ve made place for moor landscapes protected today for their ecological wealth and you can discover these rare milieus thanks to marked interpretation trails : La Flotte and Cluzeau at Château-Chervix moors and Meuzac, the saint Laurent moor at La Roche l’Abeille.
Globally recognised ’know-how’
The discovery of kaolin in Saint Yriex la Perche in the 17th century was the birth of the Limoges porcelain tradition. The River Vienne has for several centuries, contributed to the development of the traditional industrial economy : production of enamel, porcelain in Axe sur Vienne and also hide tanning and luxury gloves at Saint Junien, the foremost town in France for gloves. The omnipresent chestnut tree also known as ’arbre à pain’ (bread tree) allowed the economy to develop. Its fruit has been used as a basic food element for centuries and even today it’s a prize ingredient in local gastronomy. The tree has generated craft activities and particular know-how such as making hoops for barrels, shingle making, basket weaving…
Between the hills and rivers, swimming areas have been created on numerous lakes allowing summer visitors to refresh themselves. There’s fishing or canoe/kayaking on the River Vienne and in the Monts de Châlus, bike-train, tree climbing and grass cycling.
History and memory
The martyr village of Oradour sur Glane and its Remembrance Centre bear witness to a painful event during the Second World War. The Centre pays homage to all victims of crimes against humanity. The Richard the Lionheart route crosses this land impregnated with its legend and history from east to west and invites you to discover prestigious Romanesque religious monuments : Salles Lavauguyon and its extraordinary 12th century frescoes, collegials as well as numerous châteaux and medieval towns : Rochechouart, Brie, Montbrun, Châlus, les Cars, Lastours, Nexon, Châlucet, Saint Yrieix…
A land of heritage, the Limousin Chestnut Grove will seduce you with its fetes and festivals : the Parc occitane culture fete in June, the traditional games fete in September in Saint Auvent, the fire art fetes, the Saint Yriex la Perche art professions salon, the Parc Chestnut salon, the wood festival early July in La Chapelle Montbrandeix.
When talking gastronomy, local products are in the forefront : chestnut, Limousin pork, plein vent apples, Saint Yriex madeleines (small cakes) and veal… The Chestnut Festival is held in Dournazac at the end of October, the Mushroom and Nature Fete in Bussière-Galant mid-October…
And when talking culture ; the Nexon Circus Route Festival welcomes international troupes - a mixture of circus, theatre and dance. Other festivals of note are : the Lastours Medièvales, the biannual illuminated books festival in Saint Yriex la Perche, the International Enamel Salon in Aixe sue Vienne, the International Watercolour Salon in St Laurent sur Gorre, the Biannual Contemporary Art festival in Aixe sue Vienne, the Music Festival in Saint Yriex, the Chalard summer fetes, the Labyrinth of the Voice at Rochechouart…
You’ll discover the changing exhibitions on the leather professions in Saint Junien and Père Castor publications and youth literature at Meuzac.
The Limousin Ostensions give certain renown to our small villages : Saint Junien, saint Victurnien, Aixe sur Vienne, Nexon, Saint Yrieix la Perche procession during which the population pays homage to the Limousin saints.
Pays La Châtaigneraie Limousine
Site de la Monnerie
87150 ORADOUR SUR VAYRES
Tél : 05 55 70 99 40
Haute-Vienne Tourisme (CDT87)
17 Bis Boulevard Georges Périn, 87000 LIMOGES