Sarlat 1

- Albi, Carcassonne and Dordogne -

Sarlat 1

LINKS to other pages in the Albi, Carcassonne and Dordogne website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

1 : Home Page
2 : Introduction (Hotels etc.)
3 : Albi
4 : Najac
5 : Cordes Sur Ciel
6 : Bruniquel
7 : St Antonin Noble Val
8 : Gaillac Vineyard
9 : Castres
10 : Carcassonne
11 : St Cirq Lapopie
12 : Rocamadour
13 : Sarlat
14 : La Roque Gageac
15 : Cahors
16 : Guest Book:

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THE DORDOGNE is a region of south west France between the Loire valley and the High Pyrénées named after the river that runs through it. Locally the area now known as the Périgord dates back to the time when the area was inhabited by the Gauls. There were at that time four "Petrocore" tribes inhabiting the area. After a few hundred years the name changed to the Périgord and it's inhabitants the Périgordin. There are four Périgord districts in the Dordogne:
   The "Périgord Verte" (Green Périgord) with its main town of Nontron, comprises a land of verdant growth with gentle hills and valleys. The region is traversed by a myriad of rivers and streams.
   The "Périgord Blanc" (White Périgord) situated around the regions capital of Périgueux, is a region of limestone plateaux, wide valleys and rolling meadows.
   The "Périgord Pourpre" (Purple Périgord) has its capital at Bergerac. This is the main wine region, producing full bodied reds and white Monbazilacs.
   The "Périgord Noir" (Black Périgord) region surrounds the capital, Sarlat and contains the valleys of the Vézère and the Dordogne. Its name derives from its dark oak and pine forests.

SARLAT la Canéda is a medieval city which developed around a large Bénédictine abbey. The origin of the abbey is not really known. It certainly existed in the ninth century and was one of the six large abbeys of Périgord, the others being at Paunat, Belvès, Saint Face of Périgueux, Brantôme and Terrasson. The abbey at Sarlat was the only one to be spared by the Vikings. It was rebuilt between 1125 and 1160.

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The lively and prosperous markets of the Périgord Noir region (Sarlat holds its major market every Saturday) sell, amongst other produce, nuts, truffles and foie gras (goose liver).  (Right)

Joe Kessell, in his 'Interesting Thing of the Day' website, writes,
  "I was aware that the Périgord, as the French refer to the Dordogne region, was an area known for its foie gras, and even that local producers delight in giving public demonstrations of force-feeding geese and ducks to plump up their livers. I like foie gras and I’m not especially squeamish about that sort of thing, but what I was not prepared for was that virtually every second shop in the old town was a foie gras shop. This is barely an exaggeration.

"In a town with perhaps a hundred retail establishments in all, there were dozens of stores that specialized in foie gras, each with a nearly-identical window display beckoning to tourists that theirs was the best, the most authentic, or the least expensive foie gras in town."

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In 1318, the abbey became the seat of a new bishop created by the Pope John XXII. and the abbey church became the cathedral of the Sarlat diocese. Subsequent bishops initiated many changes to the building. In 1505 Bishop Armand Gontaud-Biron gave master mason Blaise Bernard the task of constructing a new cathedral. The task was completed at the end of the 17th century when the vaults were built between 1682 and 1685 at the time of the then Bishop, Francois II. The belfrey dates from the 9th century. Sarlat was an episcopal seat until 1790 when it became amalgamated with that of Perigueux.

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In the Chapel of Saint Sacrement in the 14th century crevet the tabernacle is in the form of an urn  (Left) and many pictutes, panels and statues grace the rest of the cathedral  (Below) Sarlat20.jpg - 86813 Bytes

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The organ dates from the 18th century and is the work of Jean-Francois Lepine.

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Returning to the old city, attractive restaurants may be found in every street, alleyway and square.

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The visit to Sarlat continues on the next page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right).

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