Limoges, France, has been one of the world's leading producers of porcelain for centuries, and that legacy continues to this day. A handful of factories still create delicate hard-paste ceramics, the best of which now reside in local museums. Beyond the decorative arts, Limoges is a city of history and culture, with multiple architectural landmarks to its name.
One way to appreciate Limoges' prowess in the decorative arts is by taking a tour through its museums. The Musée National de la Porcelaine Adrien-Dubouché is one of the world's largest institutions dedicated to Limoges porcelain and the history of ceramics. Its 18,000-piece collection spans earthen and glassware and displays pieces from other prestigious ceramics brands including Meissen and Royal Doulton. You can admire even more Limoges porcelains at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Limoges, though be sure not to miss its exhibits on fine art and archaeological treasures. Particular highlights include artefacts from ancient Egypt and paintings by former resident Auguste Renoir.
Take a walk through Limoges' medieval quarters and you'll encounter narrow streets dotted with important historic attractions. Saint-Étienne Cathedral, for example, dates back to 1273 and is notable for its Flamboyant-Gothic wooden doors, rose window, Italian Renaissance-style choir screen and tombs. Marked by its Limousin bell tower, the Church of St Michel des Lions is also worth a visit to see its reliquary containing the skull of St Martial – the city's first bishop.