Sarlat-la-Caneda – Country Roads of France

I hadn’t researched this town prior to our visit and was surprised to learn that Sarlat-la-Caneda has the highest concentration of medieval, Renaissance and 17th century facades of any town in France.  Our entry into this town was via the main street, the rue de la Republique, which itself was pretty nondescript.  However, once you get away from the main drag, you’ll be surprised at what lies beyond. 

Just around the corner from the St. Sacerdos Cathedral is the tourist office.  Try and get an English version walking guide and that will help you find your way around the interesting archways, alleyways, courtyards and the town ramparts, mostly built from the renowned golden sarlat stone.  For its loyalty to the French crown during the Hundred Years War, Sarlat was given a privileged status and the town prospered from this.  In rue des Consuls, you’ll find 15th – 17th century mansions belonging to the town’s middle class merchants, magistrates and other officials.  Plamon House or the Consul’s House is one of the most remarkable.  When you get to rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which today seems like a small back alleyway, you’ll be amazed that this actually was the town’s main street until rue de la Republique was built in the 19th century. 

The Perigord region is noted for its foie gras, walnuts and truffles and Sarlat lies in the heart of this trade.  We were unfortunate not to be there on Wednesday, which is their market day, nevertheless, there were plenty of shops  filled with cheeses, walnuts, foie gras, pork delicacies and other regional goods.  Sarlat is an amazing little town and it would have been nice to have a night’s stop there.  Unfortunately, we had to move on to our next destination.

Helen Page 

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