A Medieval town that seems untouched by time but that also offers the profound pleasure of endless shopping possibilities can be found nestled in the hills of the Perigord Noir region. Sarlat la Candida is a beautiful town constantly inundated by tourists in the south west of France. The tourists are right, Sarlat is worth the visit.
I was introduced to Sarlat la Candida while watching a Rudy Maxa travel DVD. The DVD was hiding in my back room for years, only used when I wanted to dream about Europe. Then when the dreaming switched to planning, the DVDs became useful tools.
While watching the DVDs, I fell in love with the Dordogne region and Sarlat became our destination goal.
The Region for Foie Gras
The town of Sarlat and the Dordogne region are well known for its foie gras – goose liver. The goose is easily the mascot for this region and foie gras lovers flock to this region to get their liver-fix from one of the hundreds of foie gras shops.
I did take a nibble, and I’m pleased to tell you that it does not taste like liver. It’s a soft buttery consistency with a meat flavor.
We arrived in Sarlat on a Saturday – market day. Once we found our way through the maze of streets and confusion of cars, we joined the throng of people and did our best to help the local economy.
The streets were filled with vendors of all types. My first purchase was a hat and it has been the perfect purchase. Southern France and Italy are blessed with constant sunshine, so not only is a hat a common European accessory, it is a necessity.
Even non-shoppers will find a dormant shopping gene aroused in this town. Each narrow village street could easily contain shops filled with treasures just waiting to be discovered.
As I keep track of my purchases and where I found each item; Sarlat tops my list for treasures found.
A Party in the Street
Sarlat had a friendly, party vibe. I felt like we had joined an on-going party in the family room, and we were welcome to join. It didn’t matter that we didn’t understand them, and they didn’t understand us, the joy of shopping and being entertained by non-stop street performers were the common denominators that dissolved cultural and country lines.
I felt connected to Sarlat and the people. Children acted like children. Parents had their hands full as all parents do. Families connected and I knew I was part of the human family; we just didn’t speak the same language.
The Common Language
If we ever wonder what the common language is that Americans and Europeans speak, it’s ice cream.
Call it ice cream, soft-serve, glace or gelato; no matter what language you speak, it runs down your chin the same way. If I had a nickel for every ice cream cone I saw being eaten on a European street, I could buy A LOT more ice cream.
The street performers in Sarlat are a mixture of armature performers and skilled acrobats and magicians. Even a caveman or mime who do nothing more than stand still as a statue, deserve a euro or two for standing for hours in the heat and staying in character.
France by Boat
For a unique way to view and experience the Dordogne area, I recommend canoeing down the Dordogne river. Our little canoe ride was four hours long and at times it was grueling hot, but I still enjoyed it. Novice canoers be aware that at times you will be paddling in water that has no intention of helping you with a current, then large rocks jump in front of your canoe with little warning.
If it weren’t for the facts that you view four Medieval chateaux/fortresses along the way and become mesmerized by the beauty of the region, squabbles could easily occur in Dordogne canoes. (Not that this occurred in our canoes.) But, paddling down a French river gives you a calm, leisurely activity to not only view France, but to feel enveloped by it.
No matter where you travel or if you are the native and travelers encounter you – be kind. Take a moment to see how similar we all are. Enjoy what the sights have to offer but also see the people. Realize that until we open our mouths and speak and our languages are different, we are all the same.
Final Weeks to Enter!
My European road trip is coming to a close and once I’m home I’ll be choosing a winner for “The Most Beautiful Villages of France. Be sure to enter by being subscribed to this blog and commenting on this blog post.
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Loved the comments about seeing France from the water! Now you understand my viewpoint.
I really enjoyed your European trip & your wonderful pictures!! Thank you for letting us join your vacation!
So beautiful! I am in awe! Thank you for sharing your view of Sarlat.
Maybe in a kayak!! No canoes. Absolutely beautiful from a vantage point that most will not see.
Thanks for sharing. Very beautiful country. It reminds me of some of the sights we saw in Italy. And gelato! Yum!!!