Sarlat-la-Canéda, the capital of the Perigord Noir in the Dordogne is a beautiful, alluring town that has been well preserved, making it one of the best representatives of C14th France.
Featuring narrow cobbled streets, much photographed picturesque archways, delightful squares filled with shops and cafes, and ochre-coloured stone houses rich in ornamental detail can be found at every corner. The centre of the old town consists of impeccably restored stone buildings and is largely car-free.
Inevitably the town is used as a backdrop to many period films - such as The Duellists, Timeline, Les Misérables, Cendrillon (Cinderella) and Jeanne d’Arc’ (Joan of Arc), all filmed here.
Significantly, the Loi Mulraux was passed in 1962 and sought to restore historic centres. Sarlat was the first town to benefit from this law, receiving considerable financial aid and consequently developing a programme of restoration.
There is a twice-weekly market, famous for fresh produce, including local specialities such as foie gras, walnuts, black truffles, wild mushrooms and pork delicacies. Tobacco has been grown around Sarlat since 1857 and has historically been a major commodity for the area. Other agricultural commodities include corn, hay, walnuts, walnut oil, cheeses, wine, cèpes and truffles.
The area surrounding Sarlat has history reaching back as far as Primitive Man. Prehistoric caves with paintings for example have been found and the Vézère Valley is now classified by UNESCO as being a world heritage site.
Numerous visitors—especially from northern Europe (the United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Germany, etc) come on holiday to Sarlat and the region surrounding it and many have settled here permanently. The months of July and August are traditionally the high season for visitors, and as such it is sometimes best to avoid these periods.
Open markets (all year long)
On Saturday: in the town centre – all products from 8.30 am to 6 pm
On Saturday morning : Place de la Liberté – food market from 8.30 am to 1 pm
On Wednesday morning : small food market – Place de la Liberté from 8.30 am to 1 pm
Covered market (all year long) : Former Sainte Marie church – Place de la Liberté :
Off season : everyday (except on Thursday) from 8.30 am to 1 pm
High season : everyday from 8.30am to 2pm. On Friday : from 9.30 am to 8 pm
Organic night market : From mid June to mid September, it takes place Place du 14 Juillet (in front of the Post Office) every Thursday from 6 to 10 pm.
Truffle & foie gras markets : Place Boissarie (near the covered market, Sainte Marie church): on Saturday from 9 am to 12 am, in December, January & February.