|• President||Gérard Vandenbroucke (PS)|
|• Total||16,942 km2 (6,541 sq mi)|
|• Density||44/km2 (110/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||FR-L|
|GDP (2012)||Ranked 21st|
|Total||€17.3 billion (US$24.2 bn)|
|Per capita||€24,354 (US$34,076)|
Limousin (French pronunciation: [limuzɛ̃] (listen); Occitan: Lemosin) is a former administrative region of southwest-central France. On 1 January 2016, it became part of the new administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprised three departments: Corrèze, Creuse, and Haute-Vienne.
Situated mostly in the west side of south-central French Massif Central, Limousin had (in 2010) 742,770 inhabitants spread out on nearly 17,000 km², making it the least populated region of metropolitan France.
Forming part of the southwest of the country, Limousin is bordered by the regions of Centre-Val de Loire to the north, Auvergne to the east, Midi-Pyrénées to the south, Aquitaine to the southwest, and Poitou-Charentes to the west. Limousin is also part of the larger historical Occitania region.
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.
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. Limousin is the poorest region in Metropolitan France; only the overseas collectivities have a lower GDP per capita.
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.
Limousin is one of the traditional provinces of France. Its name is derived from the name of a Celtic tribe, the Lemovices which capital was in Saint-Denis-des-Murs and which main sanctuary was recently found in Tintignac, a site which became a major site for the Celtics studies thanks to unique objects which were found such as the carnyces, unique in the whole Celtic world.
Aimar V of Limoges was a notable ruler of the region.
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.