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.
The modern region of Limousin is essentially composed of two historical French provinces:
Beside these two main provinces, Limousin is also composed of small parts of other former provinces:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.