Local area

We've prepared daytrip itineraries based on the sights, views, walks, superb restaurants, events, venues and places of interests that we like best. These give you instant access to the local knowledge we've built up over many years.

But you may not share our tastes, so visit the English language version of the official Haute-Vienne tourism website for ideas and further information. And, once you're here, there are tourist information offices in most towns, even small ones. Here are just a few popular options:

Lac de Saint Pardoux (15 km, 20 mins)

This 330-hectare (800 acres) lake offers a wide range of water sports, including lifeguard-protected swimming, sailing, water skiing, canoeing and pedalo driving.  Check the website for opening dates and hours.

The lake is surrounded by beautiful countryside, much of it wooded, and this provides plenty of paths for walking. You can rent bicycles here, and there are horse-riding facilities.

Monts de Blond (19 km, 22 mins)

This range of hills is a walker's paradise. Its glorious mosaic of forest, moorland and pasture stretches across 10 kilometres, and allows you to follow established paths or ramble at will.

There are also equestrian facilities that allow riders to enjoy this remarkable space on horseback.

Oradour-sur-Glane (31 km, 39 mins)

It may seem sombre for a holiday excursion, but a visit to Oradour-sur-Glane is a moving and unforgettable experience that you may prefer not to miss.

Following the tragic massacre of 640 inhabitants of the village by the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division Das Reich in May 1944, the French post-war government decided to maintain the ruined village as a permanent memorial to the dead martyrs. There is also a modern museum next to the site that tells the story of that fateful day, and places events in a wider context.

Limoges (43 km, 48 mins)

Limoges is the nearest city to Rancon, and is rich in history and things to see. It's probably most famous as a source of fine porcelain, and you can visit factories to see this still being produced. And, of course, it's home to the Musée national Adrien Dubouché Cité de la céramique museum, which contains the largest public collection of Limoges porcelain in the world.

Be sure not to miss the 13th century cathedral, the extraordinary railway station, and the cobbled streets of the old town. Consider having lunch in or near the 19th-century central market hall (Les Halles Centrales), noting its architecturally remarkable ironwork.

Mortemart (24km, 28 mins)

Mortemart is officially designated one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages in France). It has a 10th-century ducal palace, two one-time convents and an old covered market. Don't miss  the 13th-century church with its truly exquisite 15th-century carved stalls.

When you come out of the church, drive the short distance up the hill to Montrol-Senard. More than a dozen of the buildings in this village have been restored and furnished as they would have been in past times, turning them into brilliant mini-museums. You can freely (literally -- no charge) wander in and out of these. There are a couple of decent restaurants here, and it can be a good place for lunch.

Aubusson (114km, 1h 39 mins)

Aubusson tapestries are famous around the world, and the town is listed on UNESCO's list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" sites. There are various tapestry-related museums there, and the ruins of the famous 11th century château are well worth a look.

More possibilities

Another fascinating city suitable for a day trip is beautiful and historic Poitiers (95 km, 1h 35 mins). If you're not keen on unnecessary driving, affordable trains run from Bellac (12 km, 15 mins) 13 times most days to and from both Limoges and Poitiers. Check the timetable to make sure that's still true when you book, and for up-to-date fares and other information.

If you enjoy car boot sales and antiques markets, you'll love vide-greniers (literally "empty attic") where locals and professional dealers sell second-hand goods. Just like with car boot sales, there's plenty of tat, but you may find some amazing bargains that can become treasured artefects. Discover ones being held near Rancon during your visit on the Vide-Greniers website.

You'd have to stay at Maison Dina for months or years to explore everything this area has to offer. So please do research other possibilities online before your trip. Or speak to your hostess and the local tourist information staff in Bellac when you arrive to discover the opportunities that suit you best.

Distances and driving times (in brackets) are approximate, and derived from the viamicheilin.fr online route planner.

Many thanks to Serge Lintignat, for the use of his wonderful photos of the region. To see more of Serge's work, please visit his web site