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If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track yet with its own particular beauty - rolling wooded landscapes interspersed with streams and rivers and numerous lakes - and the Haute-Vienne department could be just the destination for you The principal industry is porcelain, most of which is manufactured in the famous medieval porcelain town of Limoges which has produced fine enamel work and porcelain since the 12th century.

The department has a number of natural and man-made lakes, such as the Lac de Vassivière and the Lac de St Mathieu, many of which come complete with beaches, fishing, boating and watersports.

Dull rumblings, noises and sulphurous plumes of vapor disturbed the inhabitants, and the roofs of the town of Saint-Pierre were covered with gray ash.

But the commanders of the ships could not imagine the cataclysm that was to strike them at sea.

The arms of Saint-Aubin-Celloville are blazoned : Per pale 1: Gules, a crozier between the letters S and A Or; 2: Azure, the local belltower surmounting another smaller one, argent; on a base ployé Or a pot gules.

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With 33,000 deaths, this natural disaster is one of the most deadly in the history of mankind.

At eight o'clock in the morning, a series of thunderclaps shook Saint-Pierre.

From the flanks of the volcano emerged a fiery cloud, which first rose in the atmosphere, then rolled down the slopes of Mont Pelée.

The character of the department changes again towards the north, with the Massif Central starting to take shape in the form of the Monts d'Ambazac and the Monts de Blond, and the fine views that they offer.

Highlights include the historic town of Le Dorat, where you will find the famous Collégiale Saint-Pierre dating from the 11th century amd the town of Bellac which was recently awarded etape status.

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