French limestone 

French Limestone – Flooring – Cladding – Masonry – Carving – Six sides sawn – Bespoke pieces
Available to be sent all over the world for commercial and residential projects

Ampilly French limestone floor tiles

Ampilly French limestone floor tiles

French limestone is quarried throughout France by many small independent artisan companies as well some large, internationally recognised quarry companies.

As you will see from the list of limestones at the foot of this page, we are able to offer the widest range of high quality French stone from every part of France.

French limestone is often thought of as pale cream flagstones with honey coloured bands running through them. But there is actually a wide variety of different colours and characteristics. They range from the honey colours in some Burgundy limestone which complements other natural materials such as oak, through to the very dark Soignies which works beautifully as cabochons against the pale coloured Chauvigny or perhaps Avy Blanc. Even within one quarry, different levels or ‘benches’ produce different stones. For example, the Chamesson quarry currently produces stone from 5 benches, each of which have notably differing characteristics.

 

 

French Limestone Flooring

French limestone flooring is widely regarded as the ultimate limestone for both internal and external use. It has been used in the most luxurious palaces worldwide but also in rural farmhouses, urban residences and commercial buildings in the UK.  It is popular in both ancient and contemporary buildings around the world.

All the limestone floor tiles can be given a surface finish to suit the style of the building from the most contemporary to the most rustic and traditional.

 

Pierre de Bourgogne – Burgundy Limestone

Burgundy French Limestone - pierre de bourgogne

Les Pierres de Bourgogne – just a few of the French limestones from the Burgundy region

Limestone is quarried throughout France. The best known is probably the Burgundy limestone or “Pierre de Bourgogne”. Pierre de Bourgogne is a generic name for “stone from Burgundy”. It doesn’t relate to one specific quarry but it is often thought of as a beige/cream stone with sandy bands. Even here, there are several dozen quarries each producing slightly different colours and characteristics. The image of the samples on the barn wall gives an indication of how different the stones can be just from this relatively small region.

Of the Burgundy stones, Chamesson is our flagship limestone for flooring for both residential and commercial applications. Chamesson and Magny, from the neighbouring quarry, are very durable limestones and were often specified together as cladding and flooring by the late architect, I M Pei, for several of his major projects. Chamesson can be seen in the British Airways head office building and in Canary Wharf in London as well as in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

From the southern end of Burgundy and the Rhone valley, we get some very hard limestones such as Comblanchien, Rocherons, Villebois and Ruoms amongst others. Even the platforms at Paddington Station are tiled with French Rocheret limestone. These hard stones tend to be fine grained, dense limestones that are also suitable for high traffic areas.

 

French Limestone for External Use

Burgundy is also the home of some of the greatest limestones for external use. Ampilly is a hard to medium density limestone that performs extremely well as a landscaping stone. It is a firm favourite for patio paving, garden steps and wall copings. Ampilly has been frost tested to withstand 240 freeze/thaw cycles demonstrating that it will survive the worst of our northern European winters. Other Burgundy limestones that survive extreme frost conditions include Beauval that was used as paving, steps and benches around Gloucester Cathedral. Rocheville should also be included in the list for discerning landscape designers.

 

Limestone from other Regions of France

There are large deposits of French limestone all over France. In the south west, there are stones that are paler and more uniform in colour such as the little known Roche de Clermont, Luget and Avy. The Avy is one of the more unusual stones in that it has white fossil shells with just the occasional brown or grey shell fossil.

Also in the south west, there are some highly coloured stones such as the Limeyrat limestone. This stone has an exceptional range of colours ranging from beige to brown and on to blue and grey.

 

Parisian Limestone with “Celebrity” Appeal

The Paris region has its own range of French limestone. Collectively, it is often called simply “Paris stone” or “Lutetian” limestone after the Roman name for Paris, Lutetia.

St Maximin French limestone from the north of Paris was famously used in many of the buildings along the Champs Elysées and central Paris. Its reputation as a great building stone spread worldwide and it is now the choice for many celebrity residences in California, USA.

Vassens limestone from the same region has also been used in Paris as well as in several UK cathedrals and other heritage buildings. With enormous bed heights of almost 10 metres, it is in demand for projects requiring tall structures constructed from single pieces.

 

French Limestone for Heritage Projects

Caen limestone from Normandy has been known in the UK since the days of William the Conqueror. It was used in the building of Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and parts of the Tower of London. William the Conqueror was reputed to have said that he didn’t want his castles to be built from the English stone! But it makes sense that he would have used stone quarried from land that he already owned.

Lavoux French limestone - Lépine

Lavoux à grain – French limestone in the tracery at Canterbury Cathedral

The Lavoux à Grain (the upper bed in the Lavoux quarry) is commonly used nowadays as a replacement for Caen limestone. The higher grade Caen stone (Caen Banc Ferme) is only available in bed heights of less than 300mm whereas the bed height on the Lavoux à Grain are well in excess of 2 metres. The lesser quality bed, Caen Demi Ferme, is plentiful but it is not as strong as the Caen Banc Ferme or the Lavoux.

Since the latter part of the 20th century, the creamy Lavoux limestone from south of the Loire valley has been used for renovation work in Canterbury Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, York Minster and others.

It also makes a great cladding stone as it is durable and frost resistant. Lavoux is often known in the UK as Lépine. Two forms of Lavoux limestone are currently being quarried. The Lavoux à Grain is the slightly coarser grained stone with a warm, pale beige colour from the upper bed in the quarry. The Lavoux Fin is finer grained and slightly whiter from the lower bed in the quarry. Both are excellent for carving and have been in many UK cathedrals. Lavoux Fin, particularly, is popular with a growing number of sculptors for its uniformity and ability to hold a sharp edge and fine detail.

 

Lavoux Fin French limestone - Martin Coward's carving of St Peter at York Minster

Lavoux Fin (Lépine) French limestone – award winning carving of St Peter in York Minster by Martin Coward

Amarestone has the widest range of French limestone

French limestone  is now recognised all over the world as the ultimate limestone for prestigious projects and it is one of the most sought-after types of flooring stone.

Amarestone has the widest range available with samples of most of them available for you to see here in the UK showroom.

So, if you are looking for French limestone tiles for flooring or if you need French limestone cladding or even something unique as a bespoke feature piece or simply a block of “six sides sawn”, then give us a call.

 

Our office number is: +44 (0)345 260 8070. We can ship direct from the quarry to anywhere in the world.

 

Chamesson B2-B4 French limestone facade cladding on the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar

Chamesson B2-B4 French limestone facade cladding on the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha

 

For more insights, check out our blog articles on French Limestone.

St Croix Huyart Coquillé French limestone showing the voids left by shells

St Croix Huyart Coquillé limestone from north of Paris is similar to, but harder than, Portland Roach bed limestone.

 

French Limestone – the range:

The range includes: Ampilly, Anstrude, Aubigny, Avy, Balzac, Barutel, Beaunotte, Beauval, Bellemont, Bellemont Bleu, Bleu de Lignieres, Bois Doré Rubané, Bouzentes, Breauvigny, Bretigny, Brouzet, Buxy, Caen, Chacenay, Chamesson, Champagny, Chanceaux, Charmot, Chassagne, Chauvigny, Chitré, Chomerac, Comblanchien, Corton, Crema Luna, Drom, Fontenay Clair, Hauteroche, Hauteville, Euville, Farges, Fontbelle, La Tieule, Ladoix, Lanvignes, Larrys, Lavoux, Legnes, Lens, Lépine, Limeyrat, Luget, Lutetian, Magny, Mareuil, Massangis, Montigny, Noyant, Paris, Petit Granit, Pouillenay, Richemont, Roche De Clermont, Roche Marron, Rocheret, Rocherons, Rocheval, Rocheville Doré, Rocheville Jaune, Romaneche, Rose de Bourgogne, Ruoms, Semond, Soignies, Ste Croix, St Alban, St Baudille, St Croix Huyart, St Marc, St Martin, St Maximin, St Nicolas, St Pierre, St Pierre Aigle, St Remy, Savonnieres, Sebastopol, Sireuil, Souppes, Tavel, Tavel Bleu, Tercé, Tervoux, Tuffeau, Val de Nod, Valanges, Vallangis, Vassens, Vieux Monde, Vilhonneur, Villebois and many, many more.

These French limestones are also known by many different names, so if you don’t see what you are looking for, please ask.