Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the most beautiful villages of France
Did you know that there is an official list of the most beautiful villages of France? As French travel experts who have visited many of these, there is one in the Dordogne region that we feel should be somewhere at the top of the list.
It is no other than Sarlat-la-Canéda, a place which embodies all that your French countryside village dreams are made of. In the historic center you will find remarkable 14th and 15th century buildings made from gold hued limestone. The architecture is so well-preserved that it almost feels like a step back in time to the Middle Ages. The town also has many beautiful churches and monasteries, including the Saint-Sarcerdos Cathedral and the Sainte-Marie des Cordeliers.
One of the other things people think about when they envision a trip to France is great food, and Sarlat is definitely a place where you can find it. It is known for its delicious cuisine, which includes a lot of truffles, foie gras, and duck, which are staples of the Dordogne region. If you want to enjoy these delicacies, some dishes you should try here are truffle omelets, confit de canard (slow cooked duck), and magret de canard (duck breast which looks and tastes like steak!). You can read about the Dordogne food specialties here in our blog.
Going to a French market is one of the tourists favorite activities in France, and locals as well. A market visit gives you the opportunity to interact with artisans, vendors, and farmers, which is a big part of French culture. The Sarlat market on Wednesdays is known as one of the best in the region for its size and quality. It also takes place in the town’s main square which adds beautiful scenery while you shop the wide assortment of crafts, foods, and souvenirs. You are sure to find something you like here, whether it is a snack, souvenir, or something else. Even if you don’t, it is really fun to walk through and chat with locals or just people watch!
Another thing that is great about Sarlat-la-Canéda is its natural surroundings. Some of the most stunning landscape is found in the area. You will see rolling hills, lush forests, and the Vézère Valley is also nearby which is home to many prehistoric caves and rock shelters. The valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its abundance of prehistoric sites. A few of them includes La Roque St Christophe and its natural cavities occupied by man since prehistoric times, the Rouffignac Cave and its genuine Paleolithic cave art and of course the famous Lascaux cave reproductions, with Lascaux IV being the newest one that people can visit since the actual Lascaux cave is sealed off to the public to preserve the historic art from deterioration.
If you stay in the region for a while, there are other places you should combine a visit of Sarlat with. One of the sites that are not to be missed in the area is La Roque Gageac, a cliff village which is nestled on the banks of the Dordogne River. Then there is Beynac’s Castle, a medieval fortress that sits atop a hill offering incredible views of the valley. Another castle is that of Castelnau, which is an imposing fortress that was built in the 13th century. Fairytale Chateau Des Milandes and gardens, the former home of Josephine Baker, American-born singer, dancer, and actress who became famous in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Finally we also recommend driving a bit further into the Dordogne valley to discover the incredible cliff-hanging site of Rocamadour.
To experience the highlights of France from this article, you can join us on one of our small group tours with an expert local guide and a small group of like-minded travelers to make friends and memories along the way! Click here to see our tours: https://tripusafrance.com