The accordion capital, known as the town on the seven hills, is also famous for its lace. The administrative centre of Corrèze, Tulle and its old neighbourhoods nestling in the hillside welcome you in their verdant setting. The historic heart of the town, the district of Le Trech will delight you with its picturesque atmosphere, old houses, typical stairs and Romano-Gothic cathedral crowned by the highest bell tower in the Limousin. This structure, dedicated to Our Lady and built between the 12th and 14th century, houses church organs dating back to 1839 that are listed Historic Monuments, as well as a large stained glass window by Jean-Jacques Grüber in intense shades of blue, set in the choir window. Adjoining the cathedral, the 13th-century Gothic cloister, the remains of an old Benedictine monastery, reveals its peaceful medieval garden and its beautiful chapterhouse adorned with 14th-century mural paintings. A museum in the cloister’s west gallery invites you to admire its collections relating to the history of Bas-Limousin: religious art, paintings, drawings and watercolours, as well as “poinct de Tulle” lace pieces. To find out more about this elaborate, age-old art form that made the town’s name, head to the Poinct de Tulle studio on Place Émile Zola to learn about needle lace techniques and the six typical stitches.
A walk around the old neighbourhood of Le Trech will also give you an opportunity to admire some remarkable buildings from the medieval and Renaissance eras: the Mazeaux gate, which used to be the entrance to the town; the Loyac house, built in the early 16th century, and its superb and richly decorated façade, adorned with corner turrets; the Lauthonie house and its magnificent Renaissance door; and the Rue de la Tour de Maïsse interspersed with steps and lined by corbelled houses.
On a visit to the unique and fascinating Maison Maugein, France’s oldest accordion manufacturer, you can learn all the secrets of the trade and see its uniquely decorated instruments, which are known all over the world. One of Tulle’s biggest events, the famous Nuits de Nacre festival, is held every September and gets the whole town moving to the sound of the accordion.