Tulle is the capital, the ‘chief lieu,’ of the Corrèze department and famous for its production of accordions, silk and lace. Built on seven hills above the Corrèze River, it is a typical French town surrounded by fields, forests and waterfalls.
Located in Corrèze , the southernmost department of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, Tulle is easily accessible with nearby airports being Limoges, Bergerac and Rodez. Another option is to take the Eurostar to Paris then the TGV to Limoges.
Tulle was founded by the Romans and named after the temple dedicated to Tutella the goddess. In the 7 th century it expanded, with a monastery being the central point. This monastery was then destroyed by Norman invasions in 846 and though reconstructed, it disappeared again in the the 11 th century. In 1095, Pope Urbain II supported new constructions and these continued until the One Hundred Years War when the English took over the town. In 1369 however, they were defeated and in 1443, Charles VII united the departments of the Limousin.
Originally a Catholic town, Tulle suffered attacks from Huguenots (French Protestants) and in 1585 the latter took over. Fighting was even worse during the Revolution, during which time the Cathedral and the bishop’s buildings were converted into an arms factory. Eventually, in 1803, the church was open for worship once again and in 1823 the Cathedral was reinstated.
The events of the 9 th June 1944 are the most famous in the history of this small town. Having been liberated from the Germans on the 8 th, it was recaptured on the 9 th and 99 men were hung from balconies and lamposts for all to see. Along with the murders in Oradour Sur Glane, this was one of the worst atrocities of the war in France.
Today, Tulle continues to manufacture arms, as well as accordions, silk and lace.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is an immediately noticeable sight to see. Built in the 12 th century, in Gothic style, it is placed at the centre of the old town and has a Benedictine cloister area that houses the Musée du Cloître, a museum with a permanent collection of accordions dating back to 1829 and watercolours by Gaston Vuillier telling the story of 19 th century sorcery in Limousin.
The Maugein accordion factory is also very interesting, being the only place in France where the entire accordion (4,000 – 8,000 parts) can be produced at once (just one of which requires 200 hours of hard labour to make).
Another popular museum is the Musée Départemental de la Résistance et de la Déportation which documents the history of the Résistance in WWII. And the Département des Armes Anciennes shows a variety of early locally manufactured firearms.
Festivals include an annual accordian festival ‘Nuits de Nacre’ which involves an array of accordionists playing on boats and barges, a month-long lace festival ‘Festival Internationale de la dentelle’ which takes place mid-July to mid-August and ‘Fête du sport, de la jeunesse et des associations’ which is part of the town’s efforts to support and encourage sports for all, ‘Vivre le sport ensemble’ being one of their slogans. Along this theme, there is also a large sports centre, a new aqua-recreational centre and an 18-hole golf course.
Every Wednesday and Saturday there is a market in the town square and every evening, plays can be seen at the ‘Theatre of the Seven Hills.’
Local specialities include: Limousin beef (which is low in fat and cholesterol), ‘Pate de pommes de terre limousine’ (potato pie with smoked ham, herbs and galettes), pancakes made without eggs or milk, chestnuts, mushrooms, blackberries, truffles and morilles from the forests, ‘Clafoutis’ (black cherry flan), ‘Cepes Farcis’ (stuffed ceps), ‘Chou Rouge aux Chataignes’ (red cabbage with sweet chestnuts), walnut liqueur, and purple mustard (color produced through the addition of grapes).
Straw wine is a local favourite. It has existed since the 3 rd century AD and was first deported from the Corrèze to Paris by Saint Eloi as a gift to the King Dagobert in 622 AD. It is a sweet wine that can be savoured as an aperitif as well as with cheeses and deserts. There is also ‘le Vin de Mille et Une Pierres’ (wine of a thousand and one stones) which is only produced in Corrèze.
Le Jardin, 12 place Carnot, has delicious French cuisine at only 15 – 30 euros, and La Toque Blanche, 29 rue Jean Jaurès, is renowned. It is a bit more expensive, at 21 euros per head, but it also has a brasserie called L’ Amadeus that offers lunch for 6 euros.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Nouvelle Aquitaine. We have a large network of agents in Limousin. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Limoges matching your requirements. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our selection of properties for sale in Tulle.