Sarlat-la-Canéda, located at the heart of the Périgord noir, is one of the most beautiful old fortified towns in France and can be visited on foot. None of the pre-Roman constructions are visible, only the 12th and 13thcenturies left traces in the medieval town.
The town originated with the monastery built in the 9th century. During the 12th century, its religious activities made Sarlat-la-Canéda as important as Périgueux and Bergerac
The Sarlat “toits de lauze” are enough to seduce you. Strolling the little streets of Sarlat is like reading nearly a thousand years of architecture, which the blond and warm stone of black Périgord is predominant. The exceptional heritage of this European city can be visited all year long. Guided visits are proposed by the Sarlat Tourist Office (Rue Tourny in Sarlat, Service Visites Guidées (Guided visits services – Tel: 05 53 31 45 42)
To come to Sarlat is to discover the nature, which during the off-season shows even better its generosity. Outside the exceptional architectural heritage, you can also enjoy the local cuisine and the cultural festivals. The fantastic setting of the town will bring a special feeling to those coming to participate theFestival des Jeux du Théâtre (July/August), Sarlat Film Festival (November), the big exhibition of Paintings (June to September) and the various shows and activities of the Centre culturel et des Congrès (all year).
Sarlat is forward looking: traditional economies and new technologies are developed in a protected environment. Important structures are put in place to emphasize the heritage: paved street, natural gas lightning and disability access pedestrian area. Everything is put in place for you to appreciate the beautiful settings of the medieval city.
For more information : In July, August, Sarlat Tourist office is opened from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm on Sundays.
Click here to see photos of Sarlat
Auriane’s tip : During the summer, nocturnal visits are proposed to the public, l'éclairage au bringing a special atmosphere. Animated strolls are also organised. Read Auriane’s article (fr)
Medieval city with 7 bell towers,Belvès has been built on a rocky spur a overlooking the valley of la Nauze. Inhabited since the prehistoric time, Belvès and its surroundings are filled with historic and archeologic remains.
Auriane’s tip : The medieval fair which takes place each year at the beginning of August. Music, costumes, medieval settings, shows and feast will make you travel throught the centuries. Read Auriane’s article (fr)
Beynac is a medieval village built on cliffs along the Dordogne River and formed with small paved streets, little places and dominated by its fortress. Beynac has been listed one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.
Boat trip on the river. Canoes. Walking trails.
Visit : Château de Beynac, Musée “Les premiers paysans (Museum of the first peasants), Archeological Park and the church of Cazenac.
Guided visits of the village in high season. Information : Sarlat Tourist Office, Black Périgord - Service Visite Guidées
Auriane’s tip : Just behind the cemetery, there is an excellent panorama of the valley of the five castles. There are some shadowy benches to take a break too. Read Auriane’s article (fr)
Founded by Philippe le Hardi in 1283, the town has a trapezium form. The fortifications are adapted to the fild.
Inside, the streets follow a geometrical plan. Steeply pitch roof houses with ochre stone slates are ornamented with flowered balconies and outside staircases.
From the rocky ridge of Domme, view of the Dordogne Valley from cingle de Monfort to the East to Beynac to the West.
Auriane’s tip : From the belvedere, follow the fortification and take the limestone path, you will arrive to a public garden with picnic facilities. The panorama is very enjoyable. Read Auriane’s article (fr)
The picturesque streets will lead you to the church built on the rock
From the rock, there is a beautiful view of the Dordogne between fields and meadows.
Guided tours of the village during high season. Information with Sarlat Tourist Office Black Périgord - service visites guides (Guided visits services).
Auriane’s tip : the exotic garden leading to the top of the village. A real pleasure for the eyes. Read Auriane’s article (fr)
At the confluence of the Vézère River and the Beune River, Les EYZIES, based in a setting of cliffs, enjoys a pleasant site.
This international prehistoric centre is famous for his profusion of archaeological wealth.
A prehistoric man welcomes you, heavy stone giant created by the sculptor Dardé in 1930.
From the terrace of the castle, this giant dominates the “capital of the prehistory time”.
This green winding valley, the high grey and ochre cliffs and the location itself of the village at the steps, were the setting chosen by the mankind since the dawn of time.
The caves, canopies, the rock ledge were favourable to the installation of inhabitation : the legacies of the primitive life are numerous and more apparent than another region. They are spread continuously from 400,000 years (inferior coat od the Micoque), until the Galo- Romans (Laugerie Basse) and Haut Medieval (La Roque-Saint-Christophe et La Madeleine), Néanderthal man (Le Moustier, - 50 000 years) and the Cro-Magnon artists (Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, 15 000 years).
Auriane’s tip : From the town hall gardens, take first on the left, follow the river and carry on up to the trees. A small beach and lovely waterfalls are waiting for you. Read Aurianes’ article (fr)
Montignac is world famous for its legendary “Grotte de Lascaux”. Today, you can only visit its facsimile. Montignac is gateway of the Vézère valley “Valley of mankind” and its many sites.
Starting point of hiking trails and canoe trips.
A few steps away from the famous "Grotte de Lascaux" discover the prehistoric site of Régourdou, a listed site with the oldest human burial site in Western Europe dating back to 90,000 years before Christ, and its park with live brown bears.
Annual Festival : Festival du Périgord Noir (Black Périgord Festival).
The old town surrounds the prominent church with grey roofs, which seem to shield small streets or picturesque staircases escalating the hill. On the North side, the green hills announce the very close Limousin, a region of fresh water spring and woods, while the poor vegetation of the south hillsides indicates already the tough Quercy.
From the fortifications of the old abbey, you will see a beautiful panorama, which dominates the Vézère River, its two bridges and the new stylish and animated quarters.
From this landscape, warm in colours, a calm and balance feeling which brings at the same time mediation and aspires imagination. Since 1994, the beauty of the place will be improved by the gardens of Terrasson la Villedieu “les Jardins de l’Imaginaire”(The Imaginary garden), a 6ha contemporary garden to be visited to count the story of the gardens of the humanity. Don’t miss this unique place, favourable to discovery and dream.
Auriane’s tip: Shops’ stalls in the old town. All the facades are 1930/1940s style, with wood panels and period writing. Read Ariane’s article (fr)
Villefranche-du-Périgord is a bastide situated south of the purple Périgord. This bastide, founded in 1261 by alphonse de poitiers, is full of beautiful exposed stones houses
Discover the halle aux grains (covered open sided market) busy on Saturdays morning with its market, the gothic arcades and its few restaurants, the church Notre-Dame and its unusual façade.
Villefranche-du-Périgord is the "Pays de la châtaigne" (country of chestnut), this fruit is obviously beloved in all the dishes and in the streets of the village. Have a stroll in the alleyways and admire the many local products in the attracting shop windows.
During summer, the Tourist office invites you to discover Villefranche-du-Périgord through various visits : food tasting tours happiness !
Auriane’s tip : The Tourist Office hosts the “maison de la châtaigne” (The Chestnut house). Entrance is free. Kids can learn all the secrets of this fruit that they love while having fun. The grown-ups will go through a taste tour without even leaving the bastide. Read Auriane’s article (fr)