La Porcherie

Pleasantly situated - between 430m and 530m, and within the confines of the Haute-Vienne and the Corrèze - on the plateau of the Haut Limousin, sits La Porcherie. For ‘active types’ there are seventy-eight kms of communal byways; to find by chance, and then become fond of.

Commune de La Porcherie

As well as La Petite Briance running down to the Vienne basin, and the stream of   Piquette flowing towards the Auvézère, there are the lakes of Piquette and Pierres du Mas: both providing pleasure to line-fishers. As for the copses of oak and of chestnut: in season, they are favourite haunts for mushroom hunters.

Covering 3100 hectares, this land of woods and fields is mostly given over to the raising of dairy cattle, and of lamb destined for the table.

La Porcherie’s six hundred inhabitants are found in the town itself, in our many villages, and in some out-of-the-way places. Everywhere, attracting the attention of passers-by, are vestiges of the rural life of yesteryear: wells, bread-ovens, chestnut-dryers, roofs of small brown tiles, and ‘coudercs’ (small, enclosed areas by a house – and often muddy - in which a few animals are kept). Along with place-names in Occitan, they make for a discrete, but very rich heritage.    

There are important traces of the middle-ages.  The high part of the bourg - clustered around the church, of St Julien & St Roch, which dates from the XIIth century. Although reshaped by the vicissitudes of history, it was protected by a still-visible system of defence. A motte-and-bailey castle, now called the Châteauvieux, formed part of that whole.

For the best part of the XIXth century, the Arsonval family played an important part in the life of the commune: two were priests, three others* were doctors, and mayors, but the most eminent was Arsène d’Arsonval (1851 – 1940). He was born in La Borie, into a family home which produced a family of notable people. There’s a small museum dedicated to this man of many facets: a professor (chair of medicine) in the Collège de France ; and a member of two academies – the Académie de Médecine , and the Académie des Sciences. His precursive work in physical biology (bio-physics), on the inter-action between electro-magnetic waves and living organisms, has become an every-day reality.     

Soon, two ‘arrowed’ circuits will highlight remarkable sites (and sights) in the commune: one, a trail across the serpentine heathland of Pierres de Mas ; the other, a walk of discovery through the Bourg.     

The extraction of gold, from Celtique antiquity to the twentieth century - from the mines at Champvertin, has left an enduring mark in the collective memory, as well as in countryside, of the porchariauds .

 

 * Jacques Aubin, Pierre Catherine, et Arsène d'Arsonval