Sarlat-La-Canéda – fairytale old town (France)

I left Blois early in the morning right after a quick breakfast in the hotel. From Blois to Sarlat La Canéda is a long road, more than 6 hours by train with 2-hour transit in St-Pierre-des-Corps. The train station in Sarlat is small, so upon arrival if we need taxi, we have to call them. There’s a notice on the wall, next to the entrance, with some taxi numbers. I called one of them and they picked me up just in 10′ and another 10′ minutes to reach the fairy tale old town – Sarlat-La-Canéda.

b9d60-sarlat_019Place du Peyrou – Downtown of Sarlat at night.

I book an apartment on the 4th floor of the very old house, built in 16th century, my flat right under the roof, no elevator, of course, in the building that survived more than 5 centuries. And for the first time in my life, to rent this place, for only 2 nights, but I had to sign a paper to make sure no damage anything during my stay!

0a929-sarlat_036The entrance to my apartment on 4th floor…

c3036-sarlat_015here you are  – my room under the roof with those small windows…

0e5c2-sarlat_028and the full-equiped kitchen but I just boiled the water for my coffee and tea. 

Sarlat-La-Canéda (or simply Sarlat) is an amazing old medieval town in south-west of France. When I first saw it on the internet, I thought “yeah, looks nice! Let’s go!” but when I arrived, I was very impressed. I’d love to name it “The Golden Pearl” due to the unique colour of the old sandstone houses in this town.

5e3fb-sarlat_024The main door of the old house that in the photo below…

The town was first born probably in 8th century and prosperous for several centuries, witnessed a lot of severe historic changes, suffering even from the war times in 14th century, but many amazing monuments dated back to 13th centuries still standing and awaiting for our visit, especially those numerous town houses, chapels…

c5e86-sarlat_022one of my favourite houses in Sarlat…

eb04c-sarlat_023The grey balcony in the photo is a last row of seats of a small amphitheater 

968ab-sarlat_014The colour of the roofs, it changes from grey in North to red in South…  

87e2e-sarlat_030The unique building“Lantern of the Death” from 14th century served as a funeral chapel.

2ddac-sarlat_004 from my place to the center – only 5′ walk along this street 

2c1b7-sarlat_008I found the restaurant with a nice garden behind the closed gates on the other side 

4126d-sarlat_020Place de Peyrou – the heart of the old town

10779-sarlat_001with a lot of souvenir shops, restaurants and street performers

bfbb6-sarlat_026Crossing Place du Peyrou, the cathedral on the left and the hotel de LaBoetie on the right.

5fed8-sarlat_032The hotel named after Étienne Laboetie, who was born in this house in 1550.  

I kept wandering around this old town, carrying my camera bag, after hours and hours my bag really challenged my endurance. I even took 15′ break and continued my walk along these small winding cobbled alleys, you never get lost in the maze of this medieval town, it’s small town, wherever you go, sooner or later you’ll find the light and your old path.

b4e49-sarlat_033Just follow these cobbled streets, it always leads you to another new discovery…

15033-sarlat_034Many shops were closed  and the streets – empty during weekend 

a0572-sarlat_007the restaurant with a notice – wine is served only during lunch (!?) also closed. 

75e80-sarlat_027Always found some cozy dining places in some corner of these winding alleys, here or…

2fcc3-sarlat_041or here, opposite some “mechanic” souvenir shop 

0e456-sarlat_042or here in some courtyard 

113b3-sarlat_002and here – another terrace with dining tables in small corner. 

Sarlat is famous for the foie gras and the truffle. Many shops selling the foie gras with big discount. I would love to get some but Sarlat is still my very first stops in my journey around France, I didn’t want to carry those things along the trip.

c15e4-sarlat_013The famous foie gras – liver from fattened geese or duck.

6aa73-sarlat_044and it explains why they have their own statue in Place du Marché des Oies.

04e55-sarlat_035You notice a black man sitting at the other end? 

6ce9e-sarlat_037it’s HIM, a statue of a unknown idler, I love the way he has been displayed. 

038d3-sarlat_039all small alleys look like a big maze, turn right, turn left…and still on the same spot…

2ddf1-sarlat_038another street appeared in front of me, I kept going…

e26c8-sarlat_040and here another alley, surprisingly found my door on the right – the entrance to my flat 

1c217-sarlat_016more people were coming out for dinner or drink at night 

8f804-sarlat_029the quiet old town seemed to be revived with the music from street artists…

d8c5a-sarlat_031or another artist with his smart dog…


The night lights, the noises from the crowds make the downtown more lively but many other corners, alleys already in their sleep as they always did over hundreds years. There was not much things to entertain in this medieval place at night, but having a  good diner with good drink, to immerse yourself in the relaxing atmosphere surrounding you would feel the peace in your soul.


Sarlat-la-Canéda, definitely unusual. I got the feelings that I stepped into a fairy tale’s town, I kept wondering how people are able to maintain those sandstones houses, all lovely corners, quiet alleys with small statues or secret places. I saw how people wandering around , admiring the beauty of the survived buildings, listening their historical, mysterious stories…

I still have one more night in Sarlat, tomorrow morning I’ll visit one of the most beautiful villages in France – La Roque Gageac.  

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