(Occitan): Nauta Vinhana
Prefecture building in Limoges
Prefecture building in Limoges
Flag of Haute-Vienne
Coat of arms of Haute-Vienne
Location of Haute-Vienne in France
Location of Haute-Vienne in France
Coordinates: 45°50′N 1°16′E / 45.833°N 1.267°E / 45.833; 1.267
 • President of the Departmental CouncilJean-Claude Leblois[1] (PS)
 • Total5,520 km2 (2,130 sq mi)
 • Total371,691
 • Rank65th
 • Density67/km2 (170/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number87
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Haute-Vienne (French pronunciation: [ot vjɛn]; Occitan: Nauta Vinhana, Nauta Viena; 'Upper Vienne') is a département in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwest-central France. Named after the Vienne River, it is one of the twelve départements that together constitute Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The prefecture and largest city in the department is Limoges, the other towns in the department each having fewer than twenty thousand inhabitants. Haute-Vienne had a population of 372,359 in 2019.[3]


Haute-Vienne is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is bordered by six departments; Creuse lies to the east, Corrèze to the south, Dordogne to the southwest, Charente to the west, Vienne to the northwest and Indre to the north. The département has two main rivers which cross it from east to west; the Vienne, on which the two main cities, Limoges and Saint-Junien, are situated, and the Gartempe, a tributary of the Creuse. To the southeast of the department lies the Massif Central, and the highest point in the department is Puy Lagarde, 795 m (2,608 ft). The source of the Charente is in the department, in the commune of Chéronnac, near Rochechouart.[4]

At the west end of the department is the Rochechouart impact structure, an impact crater caused by a meteorite that crashed into the Earth's surface over 200 million years ago; because of subsequent erosion, little sign of the crater is in evidence today apart from the geologic effects on the surrounding rock.[5]

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Limoges, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 5 communes with more than 7,000 inhabitants:[3]

Commune Population (2019)
Limoges 130,876
Saint-Junien 11,254
Panazol 10,900
Couzeix 9,518
Isle 7,847


The three arrondissements of the Haute-Vienne department are:[3]

  1. Arrondissement of Bellac, (subprefecture: Bellac) with 57 communes.
  2. Arrondissement of Limoges, (prefecture of the Haute-Vienne department: Limoges) with 108 communes.
  3. Arrondissement of Rochechouart, (subprefecture: Rochechouart) with 30 communes.

Haute-Vienne consists of 21 cantons.[3]


A few Paleolithic and Mesolithic remains have been found in the department, Neolithic inhabitants are attested to by standing stones and by burial chambers, like the dolmen Chez Boucher in La Croix-sur-Gartempe, and others at Berneuil and Breuilaufa.[6] Artefacts from the Bronze Age include axe heads found at Châlus. With the coming of the Romans, trade was opened up and gold and tin were mined. Agriculture developed and grapes were grown; amphorae for storing wine were found at Saint-Gence. During the reign of Augustus, the city of Augustoritum was founded (later to become Limoges) at a strategic ford across the Vienne. The Romans built roads from here to Brittany, Lyon and the Mediterranean. The city declined in the third century when barbarian invasions of the region took place.

The domination of the Visigoths was short-lived and Clovis I seized control of Limousin after the battle of Vouillé in 507.[7] By 674, the region was attached to the duchy of Aquitaine, and the Viscount of Limoges was created. There followed an unsettled period with various powers vying for control. In 1199, Richard Cœur de Lion was mortally wounded during the siege of the Château de Châlus-Chabrol. The region was much involved in the Hundred Years' War and at the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, France granted England a large area of territory comprising much of Limousin. Limoges city rebelled and gave its allegiance to the French crown, and as a result was sacked in 1370. Further troubled years followed but when peace was restored, the department benefited economically; tanneries sprang up by the Vienne, paper was produced, printing developed and the area became known for fine enamelwork. After a revolt by the peasants, Henri IV brought peace and prosperity to the region of Limousin. He visited Limoges in 1607 and was greeted enthusiastically. The Counter-Reformation led to the creation of numerous convents and religious orders, especially in Limoges. In 1761, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot was appointed intendent (tax collector) of Limoges. He negotiated a reduction in taxes payable by the region and developed fairer methods of collecting taxes, as well as improving the road system and encouraging agricultural development.[8] Around 1765, kaolin was discovered near Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche in the south of the department, and the porcelain industry developed.

The department was created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution, the southern half being a subdivision of the Region of Limousin while the northern half was carved out of the county of Marche, as well as some parts of Angoumois and Poitou. At first it was given the number 81, but in the nineteenth century, the number was changed to the 87th department, when further land to the east and northeast was added. It takes its name from the upper reaches of the Vienne which flows through it. In 1998, the southwest part of the department, together with the northern part of the region of Périgord was designated as the Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin.[9]


In 2013, twenty million euros were earned from agriculture in the province, as against twenty-one million three hundred thousand from Limousin. There were 351,475 cattle in Haute-Vienne, 22,780 pigs, 320,500 sheep and 6,500 goats. 723,340 hectolitres of milk were produced from cows and 30,690 hectolitres from sheep. In the same year, 1,897,800 hectares of cereals were grown and in the previous year, 12,294 hectares of land were producing organic foodstuffs.[10]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.

In 1801, the population of the department was 245,150. It grew steadily over the next century so that in 1901 it was 381,753. It peaked at 385,732 in 1906, fell back slightly in 1911 to 384,736 and fell sharply to 350,235 in 1921, after the Great War. By 1954 it had dwindled to 324,429 but after that it began to rise again, and in 2007 stood at 371,102.[11]


The president of the Departmental Council is Jean-Claude Leblois, first elected in 2015.

Current National Assembly Representatives

Constituency Member[13] Party
Haute-Vienne's 1st constituency Damien Maudet LFI
Haute-Vienne's 2nd constituency Stéphane Delautrette PS
Haute-Vienne's 3rd constituency Manon Meunier LFI

National Assembly Representatives (2017 to 2022)

Constituency Member[13] Party
Haute-Vienne's 1st constituency Sophie Beaudouin-Hubière La République En Marche!
Haute-Vienne's 2nd constituency Pierre Venteau La République En Marche!
Haute-Vienne's 3rd constituency Marie-Ange Magne La République En Marche!


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux". data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Populations légales 2019: 87 Haute-Vienne, INSEE
  4. ^ Philips' Modern School Atlas. George Philip and Son, Ltd. 1973. p. 43. ISBN 0-540-05278-7.
  5. ^ "Rochechouart". Earth impact database. Planetary and Space Science Centre, University of New Brunswick, Canada. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
  6. ^ "Circuit des Mégalithes (CIEUX - Monts de Blond)" (in French). Tourisme Intercommunal du Haut Limousin. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  7. ^ J.A.A. Barny de Romanet; Rougnard; Bibliothèque du Palais des Arts (1821). Histoire de Limoges et du Haut et Bas Limousin, mise en harmonie avec les points les plus curieux de l'histoire de France... H. et P. Barbou Frères. pp. 347–.
  8. ^ Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, 1727-1781: Volume 27 of Short list, Bernard Quaritch (Firma). Bernard Quaritch. 2000.
  9. ^ Abram, David (2003). The Rough Guide to France. Rough Guides. p. 683. ISBN 978-1-84353-056-5.
  10. ^ "Limousin region: Agricultural statistics" (in French). Institut National de la statistique. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  11. ^ a b "Historique de la Haute-Vienne". Le SPLAF.
  12. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  13. ^ a b Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.