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 is widely regarded as the ultimate limestone for both internal and external use. It has been used in the greatest chateaux of the Loire as well as in ancient and contemporary buildings in the UK, Europe and beyond. There are many examples of French limestone in some of London’s greatest buildings, both old and new.

Limestone is quarried all over different regions of 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 that has sandy bands running through it). Even here, there are several dozen quarries each producing slightly different colours and characteristics. The image below gives an indication of how different the stones can be just from this relatively small region.

Burgundy French Limestone - pierre de bourgogne

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

 

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. But in the south west, there are also some highly coloured stones such as the Limeyrat limestone. This has a vast range of colours ranging from beige to brown and on to blue and grey.

Caen stone 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 and was transported from near the Normandy town of Caen. 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.

The Paris region has its own range of French limestone. Collectively, it is often called simply “Paris stone” but is also termed Lutetian limestone, named 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 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.

 

Lavoux French limestone - Lépine

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

Since the latter part of the 20th century and up to the present day, the creamy Lavoux limestone from south of the Loire valley has been used for repairs in Canterbury cathedral, York Minster and several other grand cathedrals in the UK. It also makes a great French limestone 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 a slightly coarser grained stone with a warm, pale beige colour and the Lavoux Fin is finer grained and slightly whiter. 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.

The Lavoux à Grain 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.

 

 

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

Lavoux Fin (Lépine) French limestone – perfect for high quality carving as in the St Peter statue in York Minster

There is a long history of French limestone being used in British buildings and it is now recognised all over the world as the ultimate limestone for prestigious projects.

French limestone flooring is one of the most sought-after types of flooring stone and Amarestone has the widest range available here in the UK.

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 French limestone direct from the quarry to anywhere in the world.

 

Chamesson B2-B4 French limestone facade cladding

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

St Croix Huyart Coquillé French 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.