We start with a city and not a village, but it is impossible not to speak about Sarlat when we evoke the Périgourdine architecture! Dozens of small paved streets in which it is good to stroll and admire the buildings. Indeed, the city counts more than 70 classified buildings! You will discover small squares, then the big market place. Don't miss the market where you will find all the dishes that make the Périgord famous: foie gras, duck breast, chestnuts, truffles, cabécou and many others... It takes place on Wednesday morning (food only) and on Saturday (food in the morning, crafts all day). Take a break in one of the many restaurants, on the terrace if possible. You can also take the panoramic elevator which offers a view of the whole city (magical at the end of the day). To know everything about the city, a guided tour can be a very good solution.
A BIT OF HISTORY
As the centerpiece of the King of France during the Hundred Years War, Sarlat was never taken by the English. Between the end of the conflict and the beginning of the Wars of Religion, Sarlat will know a century of peace and will take advantage of it to rebuild itself entirely, taking the face that we know today. The great families compete to possess the most beautiful hotel, often endowed with a tower of nobility which comes to reward the help brought to the sovereign. This was the golden age of Sarlatan. The city continued its development throughout the 16th century. It remained on the front line in the battles between Catholics and Protestants. It is one of the leading cities of the Renaissance, with thinkers such as Etienne de La Boëtie or Jean Tarde.
From the Grand Siècle onwards, the warlike city, now far from the places where history is made, falls into lethargy. This isolation preserved the sleeping beauty from the clatter of modernity. Today's visitor can still discover a blond stone that becomes more beautiful with time, a marvelous architectural setting, a place that breathes the sweetness of life.
ETIENNE DE LA BOËTIE :
He was born in 1530 in the beautiful Italian Renaissance house built by his father, which still stands today facing the cathedral. He came from a family of consuls from Sarlat. A brilliant student at the University of Orleans, he was astonished by his precociousness. At the age of eighteen, he wrote the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, an astonishingly modern text in which he defended freedom and individual responsibility. At the age of twenty-three, he was appointed to the Parliament of Bordeaux, where he met Michel de Montaigne in 1557, becoming his friend and teacher.
Their friendship remains an example of its kind. "If I am pressed to say why I loved him, I know that this can only be expressed by answering: because it was him, because it was me" wrote Montaigne. La Boëtie is an influential person and a man of action. In 1561, he undertook a mission in Agenais to calm the religious troubles. He dared to divide the places of worship between Catholics and Protestants. He died at the age of thirty-three near Montaigne. By reading his Discourse, it is easy to see how much he influenced the Essays which were to be published as a jewel case in his honor. We also find in Rousseau his idea of a natural equality of Men.
BALAD IN THE OLD CITY
Sarlat is famous for having the highest density of classified sites and monuments in the world, it is not nothing! You will be amazed at every street corner or small hidden passage. The must-sees: once you have admired the façade of La Boëtie's house, turn around to see the Saint Sacerdos cathedral, which is also very beautiful to visit. Then go to the liberty square, to see the superb buildings which surround it. You will then see the Church of Saint Mary and its monumental doors (more than 15 meters high!), that we owe to Jean Nouvel, a local child. You will then see, sitting on the wall in front of the doors, the statue of
famous Badaud of Sarlat, who must have heard some conversations and secrets! Continue and discover the small but very photogenic Place des oies, then at the back of the Church, you can access the panoramic elevator, which as its name indicates,
allows to take height and to admire the whole city.
OUR TIPS :
- If you have the possibility to come outside July and August to visit Sarlat, we strongly advise you to do so! It will be less crowded and your visit will be even better.
- If it is not possible, we advise to walk there in the morning or in the evening to avoid the influx of visitors. In the evening, the gas lighting gives a mystical atmosphere to the city, it is superb.
- Let yourself be carried away by your desires, don't hesitate to get lost in the small streets, as soon as you move away from the main square, you find yourself alone more easily.
- Don't forget to look up! Noble towers, rich houses, there are many details to admire by looking up.
ANIMATIONS DURING THE YEAR :
We won't lie to ourselves, it often revolves around gastronomy and the land, but what would the Périgord be without its renowned cuisine?
- January: truffle festival, discover this delicious and still too little known dish. You want to know more about truffles? See our cooking classes around the truffle and our truffle weekends (put the links)
- March: Fest'oie, the goose in all its states.
- May : Journées du Terroir
- June: the Ringueta, the festival of old games.
- June always : Sarlat Swing It, jazz and swing festival.
- July: Festival of Theatre Games, always a quality program.
- September: Days of Taste and Gastronomy (again!)
- November : Sarlat Film Festival
- December: Christmas market, really nice.
TO SEE / TO DO AT SARLAT :
- Get lost in the narrow streets, each one more picturesque than the other, and in the evening attend one of the many street shows.
– Faire du shopping de bons produits du terroir.
- Take a ride in the panoramic elevator.
- Take a guided tour of the city, there are all kinds: historical, unusual, artistic or fun, there is bound to be one made for you!