by adminrif on 17-05-2019 in Articles1

Visit Sarlat-la-Canéda

With its' rich food, abundance of history, château-filled countryside and picturesque villages, the Dordogne has long been a favourite getaway for French families on holiday. It is simply because few regions sum up the attractions of France better than this region. 

The food, wine and idyllic lifestyle are some of the reasons why Brits love Dordogne so much. Picturesque villages such as Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Eymet, and charming towns such as Bergerac, Brantôme, Bourdeilles and Ribérac, have long been popular with Brits wanting to holiday in France. Rent in France takes a closer look at what to do when visiting Sarlat-la-Canéda and the simply unmissable sites to see so that you can plan your holiday for maximum enjoyment!

Sarlat-la-Canéda is the perfect base to explore the grand hilltop châteaux that look down on the Dordogne river and the many Unesco Heritage sites along the Vézère valley. Enjoy strolling around this quaint and beautiful village, with its' narrow streets that are lined with lavish sandstone mansions, perfectly preserved since the middle ages and the Renaissance period. Be sure to take a ride up the 14th-century bell tower, where renowned architect and Sarlat local Jean Nouvel has designed a panoramic glass lift offering spectacular 360-degree views.

Those who love gardening should make a beeline for two of France’s most famous gardens. The Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac are a magical maze of 150,000 swirling, looping box hedges, while those at the Manoir d’Eyrignac are more traditionally English in style, including an elaborate perfumed rose garden.

History buffs will be in their element visiting the prehistoric sites which are mainly dotted along the Vézère river. Start at at Les Eyzies with a tour of the Prehistoric Museum, which has been incredibly carved into the cliffside. On the other side of the river from Les Eyzies, an old staircase will lead you into the Grotte du Grand Roc. This fascinating site is a vast cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites. La Roque Saint-Christophe is a brilliant reconstrucion of a kilometre-long cave village cut high into a cliff-side, which was inhabited some 55,000 years ago by Neanderthals.

Probably the most impressive of all the historical sites is Lascaux, which has recently undergone the second reconstruction of the caves and their 600 prehistoric wall paintings. The original site was discovered in 1940, however was closed to the public in 1963 to protect the fragile Cro Magnon artwork known as the “Sistine chapel of prehistory”.

The new Lascaux is complete with futuristic multimedia special effects and interactive iPad guides. It attracts huge crowds with tour groups leaving every six minutes, so book in advance or consider visiting the quieter, original Lascaux II site, which is an equally impressive recreation of the original caves. If you do visit Lascaux, be prepared for the excursion to take around half a day. It's lovely to stop for lunch at the nearby villager of Montigny.  Alternatively, choose between the brasserie and cafe options at the centre’s excellent Cafe Lascaux which offers a set lunch and some great options. 

Sarlat is undeniably the foodie capital of Dordogne. It is filled with beautiful (and affordable) restaurants serving regional specialties such as duck magret and confit. Le Bistrot is one very renowned restaurant, which excels in delicious home cooking. Guests can enjoy a two-course set lunch or reasonably priced main dishes in the evening. It's particularly lovely to sit outside and watch the buskers, acrobats and various other entertainers who perform outside the gothic cathedral. 

In the hills above Château Montfort is the humble Pech de Malet hotel. The hotel has a sun terrace which was (in our opinion) made to enjoy a sunset cocktail! Enjoy the breathtaking views over the Dordogne valley from this incredible location. 

So there we have it, an undeniably varied yet brilliant array of sites to see, views to experience, history to immerse oneself in and food to eat in the wonderful Sarlat-la-Canéda. If all that has whet your appetite to visit this gem in the heart of Dordogne, be sure to browse our website for fabulous self-catering villas, apartments, gites and B&B's in the region