Trains to and from Limoges Airport (LIG)
The airport is located approximately 6km from the city of Limoges, and is an airport which is mainly served by the airline companies of Flybe, Ryanair and Air France. Although a smaller destination, it is international, with regular flights to the United Kingdom. The airport is often referred to as the Bellegarde, and has the official airport code of LIG. This site is reasonably well equipped with facilities for its passengers, but has limited options for transport. There is no train station on the grounds, and bus services are only available in the summer. There is however, a very large and important train station in the city.
Limoges Airport consists of a single terminal building, which has an area for arrivals and departures, and a taxi rank just outside the exit of the building. A taxi is often the best way to reach the city’s railway station, as no buses are available. There has also been a recent agreement between the airport, the company ‘Allo Artisans Taxis’ and the French Railway Company SNCF for a set taxi fare to be charged for passengers travelling between the airport and the railway station. The fixed rates, regardless of the number of passengers and their luggage items, are now €22.00 from Monday to Saturday, and on bank holidays, during daytime hours, and €30.00 for travel on Sundays and during later evening and earlier morning hours during the weekdays. They also guarantee at least one taxi available for each flight received at the airport. The taxis are found outside the railway station, or in front of the airport terminal.
Although there is no Limoges Airport railway station, the city has a very impressive train station which dates back to 1929. It is known as the Gare Bénédictins, or the Limoges-Benedictine Station, and is found north-east of downtown, about 1,200 metres from the Town Hall. The physical address of the station is the Gare SNCF de Bénédictins, 4 place Maison Dieu, 87036 Limoges. The station is also a landmark of the city, and registered as a historical monument. It is often described as the most beautiful station in Europe, and was listed as the fifth most beautiful station in the world by the magazine ‘Newsweek’ in January 2009.
The first train station was operational by June 1856, and received its first freight train from Argenton-sur-Creuse. The station then was no more than a pile of planks, but work on the station soon made it a more viable building. However, due to increasing traffic demands, the first station was soon deemed as ‘unworthy’ of the city, and far from adequate. A new station was approved, and the first traveller bought his ticket on 8 May 1929. The second station was also inaugurated in July of the same year. Today, the Benedictine Station features a large dome made of many layers of different materials and a bell tower that is 67 metres tall. The bell tower is also the tallest building in Limoges, twelve levels from the ground. From the top floor lovely views of the city can be enjoyed, and many of the most important monuments of the city are within sight, for example, the town hall, the St. Michael and St. Peter churches, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the High School Gay-Lussac and the castle of La Bastide.
Facilities at the Benedictine Railway Station nearby Limoges Airport include two shops and a bar-restaurant known as the Buffet Limoges. Train tickets can also be purchased from the ticket office. For tourists, there are several tours of the building, led by guide-lecturers.
Traffic at the station is estimated at between 7,500 and 9,000 passengers per day, and between two and three million per annum. Approximately 21 destinations are available on the TER network by train from the station, and trains on each route stop at various stations along the way. There are six trains a day from Limoges to Brive, eight trains a day to Saint-Yrieix, ten trains a day to Perigueux and five trains a day to Bordeaux-Saint-Jean. There are also ten trains a day to Poitiers, and many other destinations, including Saint-Junien, Pompadour, Eymoutiers, Ussel, Clermont-Ferrand, Gueret and Chateauroux. Further destinations are served from the Benedictine railway station as well, with ten round-trips per day in the direction of Paris, four in the direction of Toulouse and one trip per day to Lyon. A train also heads for stations in Carcassonne, Narbonne and Perpignan during seasonal times.
Future developments of Benedictine Train Station may include new high-speed TGV lines to Poitiers by 2017, and the station is also part of the POLT project, which involves a tilting train service between Paris and Toulouse, with stops at Orleans and Limoges.
With such an important and busy railway station nearby, the airport passengers will have excellent access to trains, although it is an indirect connection.