à SAINT JUNIEN
’Gate town’ to the Millevaches Regional Natural Park in Limousin, Saint Junien is the second most important town in the département. Built around the tombs of the hermits Armand and Junien, this interesting town is internationally renowned for its glove makers’ and tawers’ (a process of tanning leathers not using tannin and used for luxury gloves) ’know-how". This town has specialised in working with hides since the Middle Ages and the gloves made in the Saint Junien workshops were highly sort after by the Royal Courts. Today, three companies perpetuate this tradition in supplying the biggest names in haute couture amongst which can be found Hermès, Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent. But Saint Junien has many more riches to offer and notably architectural: in the streets of this glove makers’ town you can admire the Consuls’ house (14th century) with its mullioned windows and its human-faced modillons (brackets). Along the River Vienne at the end of a charming Roman bridge can be found the Chapel of Notre Dame du Pont (15th century). In flamboyant Gothic style it possesses an exceptionally beautiful entrance. A little further on the side of the hill are the ruins of Saint Amand abbey. Built on the saint’s tomb all that remains is the north transept, two low, vaulted rooms and half of the east wall. For 10 years, the painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot found his inspiration from the enchanting landscapes along the banks of the River Glane during his regular stays in Saint Junien. While walking through the site that now bears his name and discovering the enormous granite blocks that decorate the floor of this magic forest one can easily understand how he was seduced. Every 7 years, Saint Junien venerates its two hermits during the ostension (religious celebration) ceremonies. In this town of gloves the ceremonies include a procession of 1500 costumed people. Furthermore, Saint Junien is one of the only ostension (religious celebration) towns where the Swiss guard are present.