Sarlat, a magnificently restored Gothic and Renaissance town in the Dordogne, is situated deep in the heart of France‘s Périgord Noir in a basin surrounded by wooded hills. Officially known as Sarlat-la-Canéda, has been the location for two Hollywood films, The Duellists and Timeline, but it is much more than a film set. It is a busy small town with an extensive Saturday market to die for which is arguably the best in France.
Head for the Place de la Liberté in the centre of the old town with its pavement cafés, grab a table at the Jimmy’s Bar aux Îles overlooking the square for a coffee. The 17th century Town Hall is on the east side of the place while on the north side is the deconsecrated Église Ste-Marie, now an indoor market. Just behind the church is the quaint little Place du Marché aux Oies. If you are fortunate enough to be visiting on a Saturday or Wednesday morning, enjoy the fabulous Sarlat market taking place all around you.
When you’ve had your fill of the market, head down the rue de la Liberté to find nice local shops, the 16/17th century Cathédrale St-Sacerdos and the Renaissance Maison de La Boétie. Enjoy local musicians Paris-Londres before lunch.
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Retrace your steps along the rue de la Liberté for Brasserie Le Glacier, with unpretentious but delicious food at reasonable prices. For something more Périgordian, many establishments nearby serve more traditional local fare.
Return towards the Cathedral and turn left into the rue Montaigne (it’s a steep climb) to see the enigmatic 12th century Lanterne des Morts set in the garden behind the Cathedral. Walk through the garden and pass the Chapelle des Pénitants Bleus, and go through the Cour des Fontaines before crossing rue Tourney and heading down to the rue de la République.
Enter Rue du Siège on the West Side of town and explore ancient streets full of Medieval and Renaissance houses. Come to the rue Jean Jacques Rousseau and pass the 17th century Couvent Ste-Claire, home to the Poor Clares.
If you’re still in the West side after 6pm and ready for a pre-dinner drink and discussion at a ‘café philo’, head to Le Lébérou on Rousseau. Two of the best dinner restaurants in old town are Chez le Gaulois (9 Rue Tourny) and Les Jardins d’Harmonie (Place André Malraux).
Check out my Dordogne’s Best app and explore more of this region of meandering rivers, medieval fortresses, beautiful old villages & markets to die for!
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in the Dordogne, in or near Sarlat, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.