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Accueil Municipal and civil life International Relations Twin cities

Twin cities

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Pilsen, Czech Republic: an economic and cultural hub

- Geographical situation
: Western Bohemia,100km from Prague

- Population : 173 000

Founded in 1295 at the confluence of four rivers by King Wenceslas II, Pilsen, or “Plzeň” in Czech is the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic.

As well as being home to the famous car manufacturer “Skoda”, and the brewery (“Pilner Urquell” whose beer is considered by many experts to be the best in the world), Pilsen is keen to be considered as a European cultural centre. It will be "European Capital of Culture" in 2015.


Twinned since 1987, the cities of Pilsen and Limoges are in frequent contact.

In 2011, the Czech Days were held in Limoges, providing an opportunity for local residents to discover the culture of their twin city:  
- A Czech market held in the city centre showcased gastronomy, arts and crafts and music, alongside demonstrations of traditional trades and musical interludes which brought Place de la Motte to life over the course of 3 days.
- Jazz band the "Pilsen Trio" gave two concerts during the Eclats d’Email Jazz Edition 2011 festival.
- A day was devoted specially to allowing children to take part in the festivities, and was held at Jean Gagnant municipal cultural centre.  

The 2011 Toques et Porcelaine (Chefs and Porcelain) event played host to a native Pilsen chef, who was invited to display a Czech gastronomy speciality. In partnership with the Arquié production plant, the dish was presented using a Limoges porcelain dinner service.   

Each year in October, the city of Pilsen organises the "Bonjour Pilsen" event with support from Limoges city council. The city of Limoges is represented by an apprentice pastry chef from Le Moulin Rabaud apprentice training centre, who reveals the secrets of his recipes to Czech students. A variety of regional gastronomic specialities are also sent over to be enjoyed during an evening of tasting accompanied by a presentation of Limousin.  

Lastly, a local music group travels to Pilsen every other year, to enable the Czech public to experience French music.



In addition to the performance of the Limoges group "les Sourds Doués" (see Fürth page), Pilsen also benefited from the help of the City of Limoges in organising the yearly festival "Bonjour Pilsen". A trainee pastry chef from Limoges was thus invited to introduce students and locals from Pilsen to French baking. Many gastronomical specialities typical of Limousin were also sent over to put on a tasting night based around a presentation on the Limousin region.

As for Pilsen, the city was represented in Limoges by the Pilsen children's choir, who came to Limoges in March. The young singers gave a performance at the Roussillon EHPAD retirement home, which was very much appreciated by its residents and those from other specialised establishments in the city who came to listen. The young Czechs' stay ended with a second performance in the Saint Michel des Lions church, which was a great success with the audience being won over by the grace of these voices.

Don't miss

  • Saint Bartholomew’s Cathedral, built in the Gothic style, dominates the city skyline with its 102.6 m tower.
  • The Great Synagogue of Pilsen is Europe’s second-biggest synagogue in terms of size, after Budapest Synagogue.
  • The Křivoklát natural area in the outskirts of Pilsen is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Famous people born in Pilsen

  • Josef Skupa (1892 – 1957) :
    Creator of puppets, including Spejbl and Hurvinek, who are as famous throughout Central Europe as Punch and Judy are in Britain. He gave his name to Pilsen’s “Skupova” puppet festival, which is held every two years.
  • Bedrich Smetana (1824 – 1884): This famous composer was the main exponent of Bohemia’s Romantic music. The composer of the opera The Bartered Bride and many symphonic poems, including My Fatherland, featuring “Vltlava”, was born not far from Pilsen. The "Smetana Days” cultural festival is held every spring to commemorate his life and works.

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Seto, Japan: Japanese capital of ceramics

- Twinning date
: 18 novembre 2003

- Geographical situation : Aïchi Province-20km from Nagoya

- Population : 135 000

The history of ceramics in Seto goes back 1,300 years. What is more, Seto has such a close association with ceramics that the modern Japanese word for all ceramics is seto-mono (meaning object from Seto).

As Japan’s main ceramic-production centre, Seto is home to renowned institutions such as the National Institute for the Chubu Advanced Industrial Sciences and Technologies, the Seto Ceramic Research Institute, the Fine Ceramics Center Foundation and the Industrial University of Nagoya. The Universal Exhibition of 2005 was held in the south-eastern district of Seto. The theme of this event was “The Wisdom of Nature”. Over a period of 185 days, 119 countries were represented and 22 million people visited this event which was covered by the world’s media. The City of Limoges had a stand within the Franco-German Pavillion.



Since the signing of the twinning convention in 2003, there have been a number of exchanges between the two cities: the "Seto Yaki" ceramic exhibition held in Limoges in 2004, "Limoges Month in Seto" held in 2005 followed by the 80th anniversary of the city of Seto in 2009.
The city of Limoges also welcomed a Koto player from Seto during the "Foire Exposition de Limoges" (Limoges Show and Exhibition) in 2010 devoted to Japanese culture.
And each time the United Cities Concert is staged, we are pleased to welcome a delegation of young musicians from Seto to feature amongst the participants.    

2013 :

In 2013, the City of Seto was given particular pride of place. In fact, the City of Limoges and its twin Japanese city celebrated their 10th twinning anniversary and, to mark the occasion, a number of events based on the theme of Japan were organised throughout the year.

At the Foire-Exposition de Limoges (Limoges Fair-Exhibition), the public had the opportunity to discover Japanese gastronomy alongside German culinary specialities, at a stand dedicated to our two twin cities, where a variety of gastronomical specialities from Fürth and Seto were available to try.
Then, in September, to celebrate this twinning anniversary, the City of Limoges dressed up in the colours of Japan, during the "Journées de Seto" (Seto Days) which were packed with discoveries and various exchanges.
Mr Yasuhiko Yanaura, a well-known head chef in Japan, was invited to take part in "Toques et Porcelaine" (Chef’s Hats and Porcelain), where he brought together Japanese gastronomy and Limoges porcelain. With the help of Philippe Redon, head chef from Limoges, he presented one of his recipes, combining Limousin beef and tofu, served in the creations of Cécile Charroy, designer, artist and former pupil at the ENSA in Limoges. This moment of affinity between chefs and designer took place at Philippe Redon's restaurant, at a Franco-Japanese dinner rustled up by four hands.
Moreover, at his demonstration in the "Toques et Porcelaine" marquee, Mr Yanaura gave an insight into the subtle and delicate art of fruit carving, his mastery of which has won him several awards.
The Japanese chef also invited the public to take part in a cooking workshop at the Café République, during which trainee chefs had the opportunity to take on board the techniques and secrets behind his specialities.
All throughout September, the "Journées de Seto" highlighted Japanese culture and invited the people of Limoges to take part in various activities, notably on the theme of Manga. Workshops were put on at the Bfm (Multimedia Francophone Library) and in cultural centres, and several film projections were organised at the Le Lido cinema.
"Journées de Seto" also gave the public an opportunity to make the most of the beauty and serenity offered by the two Japanese gardens in front of the city hall and in the heart of the Saint Martial Centre. Origami and make-up workshops, kendo and judo demonstrations and a bonsai exhibition were also put on in this shopping centre.
An official delegation led by the mayor of Seto was welcomed from 27 to 29 September to attend and take part in these events.

Don't miss

  • The Maneki Neko Museum is the biggest museum dedicated to lucky cat charms in Japan
  • Seto Gura is an entire complex dedicated to ceramics, with an auditorium, exhibition halls, porcelain shop and restaurant.
  • Parti Seto is the most modern building, whose contemporary architecture contrasts with the old town-centre residences.
  • The Fukagawa Sanctuary, the bell of the Houn-ji Temple and the hexagonal monument of Toso Park are all made from…ceramic.

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Charlotte, United States: the Southern beauty

- Twinning date : 6 november 1992

- Geographical situation : North Carolina, Mecklenburg country

- Population : 615 000

Named in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of the British King George III, Charlotte is also nicknamed the “Hornet’s Nest” in reference to its citizens’ resistance to British troops during the War of Independence.

In 1799, the discovery of large deposits of gold was the first stage in the economic development of the town. In the 19th century, the mechanisation of cotton harvesting (in the biggest cotton-producing area in the American South) marked the birth of the textile industry. Furthermore, while managing to retain its provincial charm, Charlotte has become the second-biggest financial centre in the United States after New York City, thanks to the numerous banks which have chosen to base their headquarters there.


For the past 20 years, exchanges with our American twin city have developed in all areas.
In June 2011, a famous group of bell ringers originating from Charlotte gave a concert at the Jean Moulin municipal cultural centre, providing the inhabitants of Limoges with an opportunity to discover a unique musical technique from across the Atlantic.
In 2012, the city of Limoges celebrated its 20th anniversary of twinning with Charlotte, organising the "Charlotte Days" from 21st to 23rd June, characterised by a photo exhibition depicting the American city entitled "Regards Croisées" produced by a Limoges photographer in collaboration with the Amis de Charlotte (Friends of Charlotte), several concerts featuring the Presley Brothers who originate from Charlotte and a Harley Davidson parade in the centre of Limoges. A Franco-American meal resulting from a collaboration between a chef from Charlotte and a chef from Limoges, was also held in one of the city’s restaurants.      
The 20th anniversary celebrations continue in November, when a delegation from the city of Limoges will travel to Charlotte accompanied by several young basketball players from the ASPTT and the Limoges band J-Raf. In addition to the array of recreational activities, this action has also led to the re-launch of economic exchanges between the two cities.   

Don't miss

  • The Mint Museum of Art, which exhibits a vast collection of American, European, African and Pre-Columbian art, in addition to one of the largest collections of Mexican pottery.
  • The Red Gold Mine State Historic Site, where you can discover the history of gold prospectors on the very site of their discoveries.
  • A region containing no fewer than 149 parks and a profusion of lakes and forests.
  • The many musical events staged by the Bluementhal Center for the Performing Arts.

Famous person born in Charlotte

  • James Knox Polk (1795-1849) :
    11th President of Mexico, from 1845 to 1849. A democrat by nature, Polk secured the adhesion of Texas to the Union in 1845, triggering the war against Mexico. The City of Charlotte has dedicated a museum - the “James Polk Memorial” - to his memory, in the house of his birth.

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Grodno, Belarus: a UNESCO world heritage site

- Twinning date
: 20 april 1982

- Geographical situation : Lithuanian border

- Population : 320 000

Grodno, or “Hrodna” as it is known in Byelorussian, is one of the oldest and best-conserved cities in Belarus. After becoming independent on 25 August 1991, the country adopted the name “Republic of Belarus” on 19 September 1991.

Situated on the banks of the River Niemen, which divides the city in half, Grodno is a rail junction linking Belarus with Russia, Poland and Lithuania.

Founded at the end of the 10th century, its historic centre is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The 30th anniversary of the twinning of Limoges and Grodno was celebrated in 2012.
For the past 20 years, the Limoges cultural scene has been graced with "Les Rencontres de Limoges avec le Cinéma Russe" (Encounters with Russian film in Limoges), organised every two years by the Droujba Franco-Russian relations organisation and Limoges city council. Highly anticipated by the public, the festival was a huge success once again this year and provided a unique opportunity to discover Russian film. Of the prizes awarded, the public award was given to one of the film makers in recognition of the film which was most popular with the spectators.

Don't miss

  • The historic town centre houses more than 400 architectural and historical monuments.
  • The Saints Boris and Gleb-(Kolojskaya) Orthodox church (the only remaining 12th century church in Belarus).
  • The two castles (16th and 18th centuries)
  • Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral (built by the Jesuits between 1678 and 1705)...

Famous people born in Grodno

  • Lev Samoïlovitch Rosenberg, a.k.a Léon Bakst (1866 - 1924), Russian painter, designer and costumier. In a letter to Reynaldo Hahn in 1911, Marcel Proust wrote: “Tell Bakst that there are a thousand things I deeply admire and know of nothing more beautiful than Scheherazade”.
  • Alexandre Milinkevitch, born in Grodno, is the current leader of the Byeolrussian democratic opposition party. The European Parliament awarded him the Sakharov Prize in December 2006. He opposed the outgoing Byeolrussian President Alexander Loukachenko in the presidential election of 19 March 2006.


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Fürth, Germany: city of clover

- Twinning date
: 22 May 1992

- Geographical situation : Bavaria, District of Middle Franconia

- Population : 115 000

The opening of the first German railway line in 1835 was a key moment in the development of Fürth. The world’s smallest city with an underground transport system, Fürth is known for its domestic electrical appliance company Grundig, textile industry (mail-order company Quelle) and Tucher beer. The Solid solar energy information and demonstration centre is also based in Fürth.

It has an exemplary history of peaceful coexistence between its different Catholic, Jewish and Protestant communities (hence the town’s symbol: the clover). In a remarkable display of solidarity, the fire-fighters of Fürth unhesitatingly came to the aid of Limoges after the great storm of 27 December 1999.


Launched in 1992, the twinning of Limoges with Fürth has given rise to exchanges in a variety of fields: education, music, art, economy, gastronomy, sport, etc.
In 2003, the creation of the Lim Haus (House of Limoges and Limousin) in Fürth established the promotion of Limoges and its surrounding region in cultural, culinary and tourism terms. In addition to concerts and exhibitions, the Lim Haus offers French lessons and sells "made in Limoges" branded products (porcelain, enamel, gastronomic specialities...).
Each year, the city of Limoges offers its inhabitants the opportunity to discover German gastronomic specialities, with a stand devoted to Fürth at Limoges Fair. Cooked meats, beer and other produce typical of the Middle Franconia region are also available. In 2011 and 2012, two young German chefs were in attendance at Limoges show to cook the produce on site.   
The city of Limoges is represented at Michaeliskirchweih, the annual Fürth show, and the largest in Bavaria after the famous Oktoberfest (beer festival held in Munich). For several years running, the Limoges stand has been a resounding success, attracting scores of German visitors with the chance to discover Limoges gastronomy.
In 2012, the two cities celebrated 20 years of twinning. To mark the occasion, a group of runners were invited by the Municipal Racing Club to take part in the Boucles de la Porcelaine half-marathon, Fürth’s Gankino Circus band brought the Limoges Fair stand to life over the course of 3 days, and the German band Seide represented the city of Fürth at the Eclat d’Email Jazz Festival.
Limoges bands also performed at the Lim Haus (House of Limoges and Limousin) in Fürth, to share the musical culture of the region with a German audience. Limoges also participated in the twinning festival held in Fürth in May. A Limoges delegation travelled to Germany to exhibit porcelain, enamel and gastronomy from the city of Limoges and local music was provided by Jacky Lemarteau.      


The twinning with Fürth was honoured in 2013. As for several years now, German gastronomy was presented on a stand dedicated to German and Japanese specialities at the Foire Exposition de Limoges (see Seto page). In Fürth, the stand dedicated to the City of Limoges and its gastronomy at the Michaeliskirchweih fair attracted many German visitors and met with great success.
2013 also saw the LIM-HAUS, the Maison de Limoges et du Limousin, celebrate its 10th anniversary. To mark this occasion, the Limoges Enamel House was invited to put on an exhibition and to lead discovery workshops for adults and children alike.
Lastly, the Limoges group "Les Sourds Doués" gave a concert there, as well as in Pilsen, our Czech twin city, to share with the German and Czech public the musical culture of the region.

Don't miss

  • The “House of Limoges and the Limousin” (Limhaus, www.fuerth.de/lim) has been our tourist, cultural and gastronomic embassy in Fürth since 2003. A one-of-a-kind institution financed by four partners (the City of Limoges, City of Fürth, Limousin Region and the District of Middle Franconia), “Lim” is a friendly meeting place situated at the heart of Fürth historic town centre.
  • The Town Hall is an interesting replica of the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
  • The fortified church of St. Michael (12th century) is Fürth's oldest monument.
  • “St. Michael’s Fair” takes place in October (with over one million visitors!). A caterer from Limoges participates in this event each year.

Famous people born in Fürth

  • Henry Kissinger(1923 -) :
    The famous American politician was born in Fürth in 1923. He emigrated to the United States in 1938, became a Presidential advisor and then Secretary of State responsible for Foreign Affairs. His commitment to making peace with Vietnam earned him the Nobel Peace Prize on 16 October 1973. Today, he is one of the honorary citizens of Fürth.
  • Ludwig Erhard (1897-1977) :
    This Christian Democrat politician was Minister of the Economy for the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963 and then Federal Chancellor from 1963 to 1966. He presided over the economic recovery of the country after the Second World War.

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Corée du sud, Icheon, capitale de la céramique

- Jumelage: 06 mai 2015

- Situation géographique : Province de Gyeonggi, 100km au S-E de Séoul

- Nombre d'habitants : 198 790


Située dans la province de Gyeonggi, à 30 km au sud-est de Séoul, la ville d’Icheon estjumelée avec Jingdezhen (Chine, 1997) et Seto
(Japon, 2004).

La Ville d’Icheon dispose d’une histoire et d’une tradition artisanale riches. Selon l’UNESCO, elle démontre une capacité certaine à fusionner
culture, artisanat et tourisme dans le but de préserver les arts populaires traditionnels et d’harmoniser son industrie contemporaine.
La ville est d’ailleurs membre du réseau des villes créatives de l’UNESCO.
Les efforts concertés du gouvernement et du secteur privé pour la création de structures d’industries créatives organisées se traduisent
aujourd’hui par la mise en place de collectivités et zones économiques spécialisées. Ainsi Icheon est-elle considérée comme l’épicentre
de l’industrie des arts populaires en Corée.

Icheon devient un centre de production dont la porcelaine blanche est appréciée de l’aristocratie coréenne dès le XVe siècle, sous la dynastie Joseon (1392-1910). La proximité de Séoul favorise son essor, tout comme les quantités de kaolin, de bois et d’eau présentes sur place. Au début du XXe siècle, après la disparition de la dynastie Joseon, la production décline avant de reprendre après la seconde Guerre mondiale.

La filière céramique à Icheon produit aussi bien des céramiques céladons (aux enduits aux teintes vertes) dans la lignée de la tradition de la dynastie Goryeo, que des pièces en porcelaine blanche, héritage de la dynastie Joseon.

La ville dispose aujourd’hui de 20% des compagnies céramiques coréennes, avec :
• 328 manufactures
• 90 boutiques
• 41 structures de formation
• 34 autres structures en lien avec la filière.
Elle dispose également d’un parc de loisirs céramique, le « Ceramic Village ».

Outre cette spécialité céramique, la ville d’Icheon est aujourd’hui plus précisément connue pour :
• ses produits agricoles (riz et pêches),
• son art sculptural (échanges organisés depuis 1998 avec le Colloque International sur la Sculpture)
• sa confection traditionnelle d’encre et de laque depuis plusieurs générations
• la qualité de sa formation tout au long de la vie (en 2004, elle est désignée par le Gouvernement comme la meilleure ville en ce domaine).


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The Concert des Cités Unies (United Cities Concert) is an international musical event held every two years, in which Limoges and its twin towns come together to stage a very special concert in the Opéra–Théâtre.

The aim is to create an ephemeral orchestra consisting of French, Czech, Byelorussian, German and Japanese musicians who interpret one or more works that are representative of the cultures of these six countries and more specifically of the six twin towns. The 2009 edition was dedicated to the interpretation of an original creation composed by Alain Voirpy, Director of the Limoges Academy of Music, entitled “Poème des Cités Unies” (Poem of the United Cities).

In 2011, there was also an original creation on the theme of "Bel Canto".

All of the musicians, aged between 10 and 22, belong to the music academies of Limoges, Grodno, Pilsen and Fürth, or are studying for music degrees at the Universities of Charlotte and Seto.

Housed by local families and taking part in visits of Limoges and its surrounding area, all of these young people spend an entire week sharing their culture and passion for music.

This unique intercultural event energises the Limoges twin towns’ network and focuses on youth as a way to promote international exchanges.


The sixth edition of the "Concert des Cités Unies" (United Cities Concert) took place on 4 December 2013 at the Limoges Opera theatre, which was sold out. Dedicated to film scores, a second concert was put on in the Auzelou hall in Tulle on 6 December. Since its creation, this event has met with growing success, the audience always keen to listen to this eclectic orchestra.

1st edition  2003

Number of musicians 6 to 70

Number at least 1,200 of spectators

Director Alain Voirpy


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