Autumn is my favorite time to go…when the oak leaves are changing color and the air is cool and crisp. This part of South-West France has some of the most impressive seasonal landscapes. Sarlat-la-Caneda, a stunning medieval village in the Périgord Noir of Dordogne is a great place to stop if you’re visiting the area. This town is full of half timbered homes, stone buildings with the classic pitched roofs, and plenty of culinary delights! This is goose foie gras country (accounting for around 10% of foie gras production in France, ducks make up the rest), where to come for black Perigord truffle during the winter season, and ancient walnut oil mills. So come hungry and eat your way around Sarlat-la-Caneda!
HOW TO GET THERE :
There are actually trains running into town, which makes it a great place to go from Bordeaux. The trip will take just over two hours and are non-stop.
Flights are into Bergerac (about an hour away) or Brive Valley Dordogne (about 20 minutes away).
Having a car is great, as there are so many things to see locally. Parking can be a challenge in Sarlat, but you can usually find a spot on the outskirts of town and just walk in. It’s really the only way to see the incredible countryside so worth renting one if you’re in the area.
WHERE TO EAT :
A lot of places in Sarlat will have a touristy vibe, but our favorite restaurant is hands down Aux 3 Sens. Argentine Chef Christian Borini is the owner, offering seasonal dishes, great flavors, beautiful plating and a very affordable price (under 25 EURO for three courses at lunch). Be sure to make reservations. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday / 15 Rue Fenelon, Sarlat / +33 5 53 30 19 59 / Aux 3 Sens Restaurant (facebook.com)
Stop by the pastry shop at Patisserie Massoulier and buy local treats like walnut tartes with caramel or chocolate and even take tea on the terrace in the sunshine. The classic ‘gateaux aux noix‘ is more of a cake style and is my personal favorite (recipe in READ MORE below). Open daily from 8am-7pm (shorter hours Sunday) / 33 Rue de la Republique, Sarlat / +33 9 84 20 72 27 / Pâtisserie Massoulier | Facebook
WHERE TO STAY :
We always choose to stay in an Airbnb, it’s just easier with children. The last one we stayed in was perfect in the winter, it had a fireplace and really retained the local charm (plus it was priced right at under 170 EURO for two nights). It’s outside of Sarlat in the countryside in Castels, France / Charmante maison en pierres proche de Sarlat – Maisons à louer à Castels, France (airbnb.fr)
In town, there is the Hotel Montaigne which was updated in the last five years and is centrally located with rooms starting around 100 EURO a night / 2 Place Pasteur, Sarlat / email@example.com / +33 5 53 31 91 88 / Home – Hotel Montaigne
WHAT TO DO :
Stroll around the Wednesday or Saturday morning markets and taste the local specialties, or come for the truffle market on Saturday morning only in winter months. There is a covered market, but hours vary / Marchés de Sarlat : jours de marchés, horaires et gourmandises | Sarlat Tourisme – Périgord Noir (sarlat-tourisme.com)
The historic home ‘Manoir de Gisson‘ is a wonderful place to stop for those who love history…with it’s somewhat spooky museum in the basement. Kids will enjoy as much as parents. You will probably spend about an hour there. Open daily from 10am-6pm (can vary so check when you go) / Free for under 10 years, adults 8.50 EURO / Place des Oies, Sarlat /+33 5 53 28 70 55 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Manoir de Gisson Sarlat Dordogne – Monument historique, site officiel
Take a drive South of Sarlat to the old mill (moulin) at the Ecomusee de la Noix at Domaine de Vielcroze. It’s a beautful drive past hilltop castles and sweeping river views. You can see how the nuts are made into oils and taste a variety of oils, but they also offer a small truffle ‘museum’ and you can buy fresh, whole truffles directly on site in season. Adults 5 EURO, kids over 10 years are 4 EURO and under ten are free. Check hours as they vary / Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, 24250 / Home – Ecomusée de la Noix (ecomuseedelanoix.fr)
And if you’ve made the drive to the Ecomusee, you’ll want to stop at one of the nearby chateau and their views over the valley and river / Bienvenue – Château de Castelnaud
FURTHER AFEILD IN DORDOGNE :
The Lascaux Caves are one of the most famous sites to see, although the original is now hidden. When you visit, you are in fact seeing a replica. Don’t let that stop you though! It’s a fascinating visit with a wonderful tour and museum. Book in advance / Montignac 24290 / +33 (0)5 53 50 99 10 / https://archeologie.culture.fr/lascaux/en/visit-cave
Musee Prehistoire is not too far from Lascaux and is more of a classical museum with the most incredible views over the Dordogne Valley / 1 Rue Musee, Eyzies-de-Tayac / +33 (0)5 53 06 45 45 / https://musee-prehistoire-eyzies.fr/
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