Perigord noir


Sans titre



 © Boguy


Worth seeing :

The old city  

The Saint-Sacerdos cathedral, it took five centuries. The tower-hall dates from the 12th century, the apse from the 15th century, the choir from the 16th century and the nave from the 17th century. If you pass though the porch, you arrive at the " cour des Fontaines" where the monks chose to settle in the 8th century. From there, a vaulted passage leads to the garden of Enfeus (which hosts the Games of theatre festival today), an old cemetery where Roman and Gothic gravestones are dug in the wall.

Almost in front of the cathedral, the most famous home of Sarlat, the Boétie hotel, an puzzling  mixture of medieval and Renaissance styles, is the birth place of the famous poet and political writer Etienne de la Boetie.

Behind the cathedral,  the lantern of deaths was to commemorate the passage of Saint-Bernard in Sarlat in 1147.

When you take the street to the left of this curious building and you get to the top, you will see the Grézel hotel and the tower dating from the 15th century (street of the Salamander) and the Génis hotel in the 15th-17th century (Présidial street ).

Just a steps away from the latter, Présidial (street Landry) is the old seat of royal justice, built in 1640. It is one of the most beautiful houses in Sarlat.

On going down, we arrive on the "place de la liberté". To the east, the Town hall, a beautiful building dating from the 17th century. To the north, the Sainte-Marie church which only welcomes market-gardeners. It is around this place that the Wednesday markets (food only, 8h30-13h) and Saturday ones are not to be missed (8h30-14h). The truffles market takes place in the old Sainte-Marie church on Saturday mornings from December to February (come very early to attend the negotiations).

maison de La Boetie

 © Boguy

Behind the Sainte-Marie church, take the street of the Consuls, which concentrates a maximum of splendid buildings. A number 6, the Tapinois de Betou hotel. At number 7, opposite number 6, the Mirandole hotel, dating from the 15th century. A curious medieval fountain dug in a cave and accessible if you take a small staircase. At the corner of the street, a vast "trompe-l'oeil". At the n° 8 and 10, the Plamon hotel (home of the consuls). At the n°9, the Vassal hotel. At the n°14, the Labrousse hotel. Then at the entrance of the square of "Marché-aux-Oies", the Gisson hotel, 17th century.

Being a member of the charter of the towns of Art and History, the town of Sarlat offers discovery visit of the historical center, together with highly qualified guides.
Thematic visits are also programmed, some night and some by especially for the children from 6 to 12 years (every Tuesday at 15h). Information with the tourist office : Tourny street .

Demonstrations :

Festival of Ringuetta : Whitsunday Monday, every 2 years, the next fesival is to take place on May 12, 2008. Traditional  festival proposing bygone games, parades in costumes and périgourdin meals (reservation at the tourist office)

The Sarlat theatre games Festival : since 1952, it has enlivened the old stones in summer, late August early July.

The Cinema Festival : the second week of November.

History :

City founded in the 9th century around a Benedictine abbey.

In 1147, the legend relate about Saint Bernard, passing though Sarlat, on his return from crusade, and performing miracles for example healing the sick, the Saint-Bernard Tower commemorates these miracles, known as " Lantern of deaths " (we can admire it behind the Saint-Sacerdos cathedral, in the middle of what was the first cemetery of Sarlat). The abbey was transformed into a church in the 13th century then into a cathedral in 1317 thanks to the pope John XXII who promated Sarlat to bishopric palace, it's at this time there, in spite of plague epidemics , its vigorous trade favoured its exceptional growth. The Middle-class and the city traders, bishops and magistrates built the majority of the hotels which are Sarlat's pride today.

Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos

Having Sarlat endured the Norman invasions , then  the Hundred Years'War, because of its bein a frontalier area ruled inturns by the kings of France and England. The city fortifed by its consuls, resisted all attacks and become English only at the end of the first period the Hundred Years War (1360) at the time of the treaty of Brétigny where, in exchange for the throne of France, Edouard III of England received the South-west of France. And 10 years later, Du Guesclin, the supreme commander of French armies drove out the English people and Sarlat became French again .

If the victory of Castillon in 1453 put an end to the Hundred Years's War, the wars of religion wreaked havoc, religious fanaticism was fought in vain by Boetie, born in Sarlat, Montaigne's friend. The city was taken by the Protestants in February 1574, in May, then fell again to the Catholics . I n 1591 it became a sensitive centre for the the members of a league who did not acknowledge the authority of king Henri IV . Sarlat peace reigned in only when the king converted to catholicism. 

Hôtel de Maleville

During the French revolution, Sarlat lost the bishopric (transferred to Périgueux), then its economic power and became lethargic. Being kept away from the common big industrial echanges and with the railway arriving there only at the end of the 19th century, the city did not evolve and that was its luck, so its architectural heritage was passed on to us almost undamaged, Sarlat beneficied from the Malraux low which encouraged the restoration of old monuments.

In 1965, both villages of Canéda and Sarlat merged under the name of Sarlat-la-canéda.

Owing to its architecture Sarlat is tourist site has the higjest number of visitors in Perigord.

Sarlat is the European city having the highest percentage of monuments per square kilometre. The city appears on the UNESCO World Heritage list .

But Sarlat is only the central core of Périgord which contains thousands of treasures which you will not miss to visit, you well of this feeling felt by this famous American, Henri Miller, to live in the " French Paradise".....


le presidial
© Boguy

La Lanterne des morts


                                                                          Thank J.Kaigre for translation



Black Perigord