380km (236 miles) S of Paris; 89km (55 miles) E of Limoges; 95km (59 miles) NW of Clermont-Ferrand
In the Creuse Valley, the little market town of Aubusson enjoys world renown for its carpets and tapestries. Aubusson abounds with clock towers, bridges, peaked roofs, and turrets -- all of which inspired the painter Gromaire's widely reproduced cartoon View of Aubusson. Against the gray granite, rainbow-hued skeins of wool hang from windows. The artisan's workshops spread throughout the town; many are open to the public (just ask). The origin of the industry is unknown. Some credit the Arabs who settled here in 732. Others think the craft came from Flanders in the Middle Ages. For years, the favorite subject of the reproductions created for sale was The Lady and the Unicorn, the original of which was discovered in the nearby Château de Boussac. Many tapestry reproductions of the works of 18th-century painters such as Boucher and Watteau have been made. Since World War II, designs by painters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Braque have been stressed.