Limoges in South West France
Buy Limoges porcelain bargains in Limousin
Bag those Limoges porcelain bargains! Where better to find bargains than in the porcelain factory shops of Limoges and Limousin. This shopping guide will tell you where to find great porcelain buys.
Most people haven't heard of Limoges, but those who have often know it as a centre for fine porcelain. In the past Limoges was know as 'the red city' because the many porcelain kilns would be fired up twenty four hours a day colouring the night sky with their flames. The history of the porcelain industry goes back to 1766 when a very pure kaolin was found near Saint Yrieix-la-Perche, about 30 km away from Limoges and following this discovery the region enjoyed a golden age.
Today the Industry remains strong. There are so many outlets in and around Limoges that this article is in no way exhaustive. The factories and shops below are those that I visited when looking for local china for my Bed and Breakfast, now passed on and in other safe hands.
The shops do change their opening times and I might not know so please do check their web sites before your visit - I have given links to sites below.
Buying from porcelain factory outlets in Limousin
If you are shopping for that special present, you will have no trouble finding something to suite your taste and your pocket. You can buy beautiful vases three feet high, or tiny thimbles or ornaments barely measuring a centimeter. You can spend thousands, or a euro or two. You can buy one precious item, or buy by the kilo. You can buy from bijoux boutiques in the centre of Limoges or see if you can bag a bargain in one of the many factory outlets both in and around Limoges. In some of these factories you can watch the porcelain being made, visit kilns and see displays of materials and the history of porcelain.
You too can own a Haviland Limoges porcelain teapot
Just off the A20 that bypasses Limoges you'll find the modern little pavilion selling Haviland porcelain. The day that I finally made it there they were closed for stocktaking - next time.
The Haviland porcelain business was begun by the American David Haviland. Dealing porcelain from New York he saw the business potential of porcelain in Limoges, and by 1842, he started shipping Limoges porcelain to the US. The business went from strength to strength - in 1873 a new decoration process was devised and Théodore Haviland, David Haviland's son, took over the business in 1890 and proceeded to build a large factory in Limoges. Innovation continued with new techniques for decoration and firing of the porcelain. Still a family business, Havilands is now run by great-grandson Theodore Haviland II.
Ample parking near the shop
Open Monday - Saturday 10h à 13h - 14h à 18h30
July and August every day 10h00 - 6H30
25, rue Philippe-Lebon Z.I. Nord
87073 Limoges Cedex France
Tél : 33 (0)5 55 04 73 00
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Lys Imperial (Porcelaine Faye) on the outskirts of Limoges
A local family run business where you can buy a range of porcelain goods including lamps, and collection boxes.
The factory and shop are situated 20km from St Yrieix-La-Perche where kaolin was first discovered.
Ample parking near the shop
Open every weekday from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm
Free Guided Tours
You can tour the shop and workshop
3 rue des Lauriers 87800 ST MAURICE LES BROUSSES, Limoges
Tél : 33 (0)5 55 04 73 00
E-mail : email@example.com
Phone : 05 55 35 62 19E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://porcelaines-faye-limoges.com
Maison de la Porcelain: Aix-sur-Vienne
Situated about 15 minutes from Limoges, Aix-sur-Vienne is a pretty town built on the banks of the River Vienne. It consists of a factory which you can visit, and a shop where you can buy Limoges Porcelain.
The porcelain factory shop windows have attractive displays, but it is only as you enter the shop that you can see just how large the shop is, and how extensive the range of pottery on show. They have over 100,000 articles on display in 1000m2 of shop floor arranged on three levels. There are over 200 complete dinner services from which to choose.
The building itself has been beautifully restored and it is a pleasure in itself to admire the magnificent fireplace, the polished wooden doors and floors, the natural materials that complement the pottery so well. In the basement you will find white ware and 'seconds', although it is often difficult to see the faults. On the ground floor the displays are arranged in groups of different colours, designs and styles; every taste is catered for. There are traditionally decorated items and services of course, but there are also very contemporary designs. You will also see glass ware and other kitchen and dining room accessories. Pick up a hand-woven basket and enjoy browsing and choosing, but make sure you set aside plenty of time.
You can see the porcelain being made and meet the staff on a guided tour of the factory. You will be told of its history and the techniques are explained. The factory is run today in much the same way as in the last century. Everything is still made entirely by hand.
There is parking behind the shop and on the opposite side
Open all the year round 9.30am - 7pm. Open Sundays in December.
April 1st - September 30th Open 7 days a week including public holidays. Sundays and public holidays open 10am - 1pm and 3pm - 7pm
Closed May 1st, November 1st, December 25th and January 1st.
Times of guided tours
Free guided tours of the factory all the year round. Monday - Friday 10am and 3pm
July and August additional visits at 11am, 4pm and 5pm
Prior group bookings necessary.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
+33 (0)5 55 70 14 68 e-mail: email@example.com www.maisonporcelaine.com
La Vie en Rose, Saint Junien
La Vie En Rose factory shop is situated on the banks of the River Glane very near the favourite painting spot of the celebrated French artist Camille Corot. One glance at this remarkable river with steep wooded riverbanks, huge, picturesque boulders and level riverside walk and you can see why Corot found it so inspirational.
This makes a visit to the porcelain shop doubly attractive as you can stroll along the river, see Corot's little cabin, recently restored, picnic at one of the many picnic tables and have a pleasant swim. You can then walk back along a path at the top of the banks, arrive back at the start of the walk and then take your car back along the road to Saint Junien, calling in at the porcelain shop on your way back; a perfect day out.
When you enter the shop you walk into a dimly lit room at the foot of the stairs leading into the main display area, and you will be charmed to see a number of lamps made from translucent white porcelain. The porcelain is crafted in such a way that light shines through the thinner areas of the pot and a pattern is revealed. In other lamps the pattern is cut into the clay creating a porcelain lace of light.
From here you walk up the stairs and you arrive in the enormous showrooms filled with a wide selection of porcelain including hand painted Limoges boxes, dinner services, ceramic jewellery and apothecary jars. There is also attractive display of water colour paintings of the river by local artist Patrick Rougier.
There is ample parking opposite the shop, however little parking further down near the river and the Site de Corot.
10am - 6.00pm Monday - Friday
During summer, 1 July - 31 August open every day
Please phone them to confirm opening times
33 (0)5 55 02 36 37 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Piegut-Pluviers has a wonderful Wednesday market
Porcelaine St Mathieu (moving to Piegut-Pluviers)
This is a much smaller factory than the others featured here and, at the time of writing in 2010 was on the point of moving to Piegut-Pluviers in the Dordogne, so I have given details of the Porcelain Land site in Piegut in the details below.
The factory is utilitarian and the display basic but the porcelain itself is just as pretty and sold at factory prices. I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the factory area where the porcelain was being painted by hand.
St Mathieu is an attractive small town with a particularly good swimming lake. You can walk all around the lake, swim, camp at the municipal site and enjoy a small beach or eat in the excellent restaurant there. The autumn colours are especially spectacular.
Good parking in front of the shop.
Piegut is a bustling small town famous for its huge and colourful Wednesday market which should not be missed.
8am - 4pm Tuesday - Friday
Tel: +00 33 (0)5 55 00 38 26 (No e-mail or website)
10.30 - 12.30am and 14.30 - 7pm Tuesday - Friday (No e-mail or website)
24360 PIEGUT PLUVIERS
Tel : 05 53 56 41 76
Royal Limoges: Limoges
Established since 1797, Royal Limoges is one of the oldest manufacturers of porcelain in Limoges. The factory was established at Faubourg des Cassaux (today named rue Donzelot) in 1816 and it still occupies its original site on the banks of the river Vienne. The river was used to transport the wood for its kilns. The factory still makes its own clay.