SAINT-LEONARD-DE-NOBLAT – LIMOGE
By crossing the river Vienne on the 13th century bridge Pont de Noblat, we left the city and came into the rural area again – a hilly countryside with fields of wheat, forests with blooming sweet chestnut trees, mills and stonewalls overgrown with moss. We left the town together and I continued later at my own speed – a pattern that developed until we departed a few days later in Périgueux.
The Way was not always a clear line to the west and twice I thought I got lost – only to discover that I was on the right way anyway. Like so often on the Way, I passed ancient stone crosses, a sign of the pilgrimage route in the past.
I arrived Limoge on a Sunday afternoon and entered the old town of Limoge via the oldest bridge of the whole Via Lemovicensis, the Roman bridge Saint Martial. Limoge is known for the highly sophisticated medieval enamel production, for the music school St. Martial founded in the 11th century and for the Limoge porcelain.
The town was pretty empty at the weekend. All the people seemed to have gathered along the river Vienne where a festival was going on.
For the night, I stayed in the convent of the order of the Franciscan sisters, which was a very beautiful place. I was especially intrigued by the spiral stairway leading up to my room.
Looking out from my window of the convent, I had a perfect view to the 13th century Gothic Cathedral Saint-Etienne. Because of a heavy thunderstorm, the gargoyles surrounding the roofline were spitting water out of their big mouths.
When I entered the Gothic Cathedral, the huge space was filled with organ music. I loved to just listen to these powerful tones. A row of little angles over the west portal and a modern sculpture of the Black Madonna were especially catching my attention.