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Situated largely in the Massif Central, as of January 1st 2008, the Limousin comprised 740,743 inhabitants on nearly 17 000 km2, making it the second least populated region of France after Corsica.
Forming part of the South-West of France, Limousin is bordered by the regions Centre to the north, Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine to the west, Midi-Pyrénées to the south and Auvergne to the east. Limousin also forms part of Occitania.
Some of the rivers belonging to the Loire basin run through the North, the West and the East of the region, waterways belonging to that of the Dordogne through the South. The region is crossed by two major rivers: the Dordogne and the Charente (which has its source in Haute-Vienne).
The Limousin region is almost entirely an upland area. The lowest land is in the northwest of the region (approximately 250 m above sea level) and the highest land is roughly in the southeast (approximately 1000 m above sea level). However, the greater part of the region is above 350 m. There are numerous important rivers in the Limousin such as the Dordogne, Vienne, Creuse and Cher. The region is well known for the high quality of its water and for offering first rate fishing.
Although summer temperatures often exceed 32 °C – and have even reached 42 °C – the Limousin region has a damper and milder climate than its neighbours. Winters are often long and cold, especially in the higher areas, and snow is not at all uncommon.
Shepherds working in Limousin needed protection from the cool damp winters and traditionally wore a cloak with a large hood. which lent its name to the Limousine in which early drivers wore a similar protective cape.
The area around Brive in the Corrèze has more than 2000 hours per year of sunshine, the same as the southern city of Toulouse.