I went with Hokie and Wildcat on a road trip to Bordeaux. I’d always dreamed of going to the Dordogne region of France so we made a couple of stops there too. We heard that Sarlat-la-Canéda (commonly referred to as Sarlat) is considered one of the five prettiest towns in France. While we have, perhaps, overdosed on cute French towns (Saint-Rémy de Provence, Eguisheim, St. Paul-de-Vence, Vence, Les Baux-de-Provence, Eze, Avignon, Kayersburg, Colmar, how could we not give this one a go?
It has a traffic-free old town with cobblestone lanes and renaissance buildings with elaborate stonework. Sarlat lives in its streets. Cafes abounded. With wonderful weather and backdrops why wouldn’t you want to sit outside? Walking Sarlat’s streets we saw mimes “warming up,” artists working “en plein air,” and countless street vendors. This mime’s warmup looked surprisingly like the warmups we did in my belly dancing class. I wish I’d gotten it on video for you.
Foodies will be happy to learn that Sarlat is located in the Perigord area of Dordogne, an area almost 50% of the French believe has the best food in France. Sarlat is known for its foie gras, while not my thing, they clearly do a big business it. There are shops everywhere, a statute of geese next to the church and souvenir shops that sell goose themed paraphernalia. Foie Gras (goose liver pate) is controversial. We saw a flock of geese while in Dordogne on a farm. In this area it is an age-old tradition called la garage. The only thing we ate there was gelato.
Sarlat has such nice buildings because it was loyal. Huh? What does loyalty have to do with pretty stone buildings?
During the Hundred Years’ War, Sarlat remained loyal to the French. The French king rewarded its loyalty with money to rebuild the damaged town in luxurious stone. Beautiful, long-lasting and fire-resistant… Oh la la.
We enjoyed strolling its streets and people watching. It might be a bit touristy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a really interesting place to spend an afternoon. I’m sure it’s even more beautiful in the evening when tourists like me have left for the day.
- Car-Free Towns (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)