We picked Eldest Son and his washing (grrr!) up from Uni at Limoges yesterday for a brief half-term visit home. And, as usual, since we’re driving all that way, we made the most of the occasion to do some sightseeing in the biggest city in Limousin. Caiti had been staying with her brother for a few days and initiated him in the skills of making pizza, pancakes and omelettes so as to introduce a bit of variety into his pasta-based diet.

First we went to Mini Models model shop to get Ruadhri, blogger extraordinaire and winner of Junior Blogger of the Week at Keith Eckstein’s brilliant A Taste of Garlic site, some Airfix kits. He’s become interested in them, since seeing that great programme on telly last week where James May and some teenagers built a lifesize Spitfire from an Airfix kit! We dug Benj’s outgrown Airfix model planes out of the loft and that gave Rors the bug. Glue and paint fumes are wafting out of the kitchen as we speak. Ruadhri has diversified into tanks as well as planes. Ever the practical one, he’s sussed out that tank kits are cheaper and quicker to assemble than the trickier planes.

A quick refuelling stop at Quick hamburgers and then we hit the L’Aquarium du Limousin in Boulevard de Gambetta. This is one of the relatively few things, apart from hypermarkets, that are open in France over lunchtime. We’d been once before during our house-hunting trip almost six years ago now. And it was as brilliant as we remembered it.

Can you see the gardener eel popping his head up out of the gravel for a look around?

There are over 2,500 fish there, ranging from the colossal catfish Bébert to some miniscule tropical fish a couple of millimetres long.

Bébert

There’s a lungfish, an electric elephant fish, some stupendous sturgeons and carp that we’d love to have in our lakes, and a vast array of exotic creatures. I loved the lion fish.

He's impressive, isn't he?

Now, usually aquariums are in seaside locations, not slap bang in the middle of the country. But it is entirely apt that there is one in central Limousin since this is were Jeanne Villepreux-Power, inventor of the aquarium, was born in 1794. She also did a lot of research on the nautilus, and there is one of these unusual fish at Limoges too.

 

A moray eel and friend

 

Leopard eel

 

The aquarium's filtration system

And finally here’s a video that Chris took there.

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