Sarlat is a town that has retained its ancient good looks to a quite astounding level.
Sarlat, or to give it its full name – Sarlat-la-Canéda, is a little bit off the beaten-track and all the better for it. In fact it was very much off the beaten track for almost two centuries from the 1700’s when a lack of road access meant that hardly anyone ever went there. So, cut off from the rest of the world, people simply went about their business and nothing much changed. Building styles in particular stayed as they were and you get the feeling that if the inhabitants of two centuries ago were to return – they’d recognise the place straight away.
This is no fusty museum town though, it’s very much alive and thriving. Of course now it’s a bit of a tourist magnet – especially in the summer season, but outside of the peak visiting times, Sarlat reverts to being a rather tranquil place that looks like a time warp town.
Don’t miss the Saturday morning market if you go – it’s got a great atmosphere and fabulous products.
Do go for a wander – it’s a hilly town and once you get off the main drag you’ll find yourself climbing steep steps and meandering down medieval streets until you come to the top of a hill and discover unexpectedly spectacular views over the rooftops of Sarlat. If being up high doesn’t bother you, take the glass lift you’ll find inside the church of Sainte-Marie in town for a hair raising ride and a fabulous show stopping outlook, though you have to have the weather on your side to be able to take the lift, it closes in bad weather.
Sarlat has the feel of a fairy-tale about it, even the hair dressers looks like Rapunzel has her hair cut there!
There are loads of places to enjoy a glass of wine, a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and watch the world go by and as for the restaurants with fresh cooked local food – you’re spoiled for choice.