Sarlat and surroundings

Sarlat, the city in the country of 1001 castles

Sarlat la Canéda

In 1962 Sarlat became the trial town of a new law called the ‘loi Malraux’ which set about to protect the patrimony of French towns. Money was provided to restore Sarlat’s fine buildings and it now has the highest density of ‘Historic Monuments’ and ‘Classified Monuments’ of any town in France. It is now classified as a ‘Town of Art and History’ and as a ‘Plus Beaux Detour’ – a town meriting a visit for its beauty. The historic centre is also on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Classification.

Sarlat Panoramic Lift

One of France’s top architects, Jean Nouvel, was born in Sarlat. The Pritzker Architecture Prize winner 2008 has recently restaured the church of Sainte-Marie in the centre of Sarlat. Mixing contemporary elements with the 14th century architecture of the church the interior has now been converted into an elegant covered market. The highlight though is the panoramic lift which rises up through the centre of the bell tower and raises its passengers up above the top of the tower to get breathtaking views of the town.

Inside a glass cube you can get 360° views over the rooftops of Sarlat – wonderful.

The places to visit near Sarlat

Sarlat is not only beautiful but it is in the heart of the Dordogne and surrounded by fabulous places to visit. The “most beautiful villages of La Roque GageacDomme and Beynac are all close by.

The Chateaud de Castelnaud with its reproductions of medieval weapons and the imposing Chateau de Beynac are both within 10km.

Garden lovers will like the lovely garden at the Clos des Sources at Vitrac with its border of grasses and borders that are quite like an English border in style. As a contrast visit the gardens of Marqueyssac with their incredible swirling box hedges and incredible views over the Dordogne river. Also nearby are the much more formal but equally impressive Jardins d’Eyrignac.

Also not far away are the huge selection of caves around Les Eyzies where you can choose to explore caves with magnificent stalactite displays or prehistoric paintings, sometimes both in the same cave. The Font de Gaume cave is one of the last caves still open containing prehistoric polychrome paintings (others such as the Lascaux caves are copies though the copy is fantastically done and definitely still worth visiting).

Favourite Places Nearby

La Roque Gageac is not only one of France’s “most beautiful villages” with its cluster of stone houses huddled beneath the looming rock-face, it is also worth visiting for the exotic planting which fills the village.

Also its pretty riverside position means that you can hire a canoe here or set out on a river trip on one of the Gabarres, a river boat fashioned on the old river trading boats.

Plus d'infos