Sarlat


Sarlat | Things to See and Do in Sarlat the Dordogne

Sarlat | Dordogne

About Sarlat

Beautiful Sarlat is a medieval town that developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. The medieval Sarlat Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Sacerdos. Because modern history has largely passed it by, Sarlat has remained preserved and is one of the towns most representative of 14th century France. It owes its current status on France’s Tentative List for future nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site to the enthusiasm of writer, resistance fighter and politician André Malraux, who, as Minister of Culture (1960–1969), restored the town and many other sites of historic significance throughout France. The centre of the old town consists of impeccably restored stone buildings and is largely car-free. Not only are there many things to see and do in Sarlat there are also many things to see and do in the Dordogne.

Things to See and Do in Sarlat

ST SACERDOS CATHEDRAL | SARLAT

Originally part of the church of a Benedictine Abbey built in the 12C Although modified in the 14th, 16th & 17th c. it retains some of its original Romanesque style. The large entrance was added in the 17th c the statues here are of unknown origin and date. The Tourist Office has various ways to see all the things to see and do in Sarlat.

THE FOUNTAINS COURTYARD – CANON COURTYARD | SARLAT

Here you will find two public fountains used by the abbey and where the water still runs freely. The Tourist Office has maps of the things to see and do in Sarlat.

CHAPEL OF ST BENOIT | SARLAT

A small 12th C Romanesque chapel which was restored in the 17th C .The Tourist Office has various guides to the things to see and do in Sarlat

JARDlN DES ENFEUS | SARLAT

Behind the Cathedral tombstones from the monastic cemetery are the arched insets containing sarcophagi from the 14th & 16th c of the distinguished gentry of Sarlat. The Tourist Office has audio guides to the things to see and do in Sarlat

LA LANTERNE DES MORTS | SARLAT

An unusual monument that once over looked the cemetery and whose original use is very controversial. Named in the 17c “The Fanal” or beacon light. The Tourist Office can give directions to all the things to see and do in Sarlat

LE PRESIDIAL | SARLAT

The seat of the Royal Justice under Henri 2nd in the 16th C has an unusual facade and is set in a beautiful garden. It has a large central arch supporting a loggia, topped by a “campanile lanternon”, a structure of wooden props supporting the lanternon to light the vast interior staircase. The Tourist Office has books on things to see and do in Sarlat

HOTEL DE GERARD | SARLAT

Has a splendid renaissance gallery. In the courtyard there are exhibition rooms for art works and a large room decorated in the 17th century style. The Tourist Office has tours of the things to see and do in Sarlat

LA BOETIE RESIDENCE | SARLAT

The birthplace of Etienne de la Boetie. One of the finest homes in Sarlat it is characterized by an Italian Renaissance style façade. The Tourist Office has various ways to see all the things to see and do in Sarlat.

PLACE DE LA LIBERTE | SARLAT

Bordered by traditional houses 16th – 17thc showing a series of restored passageways. The Tourist Office has maps of the things to see and do in Sarlat.

HOTEL DE GISSON | SARLAT

Situated on place de la Liberte it was built in the 17th c. It features a hexagonal stone-roofed tower, providing a spectacular backdrop. The Tourist Office has various guides to the things to see and do in Sarlat

ST MARY’S CHURCH | SARLAT

Formerly the Sarlat parish church 14th & 15th c of meridian Gothic style. It remained intact until the Revolution. It was badly damaged by successive pillages and sold in 1815. All that remains today are the two bays under a ribbed vault and the bell-tower with its steeple missing but features several interesting gargoyles. Renovated by the well known architect Jean Nouvel it works today as an active open market. There is an elevator that will take you to the top of the building which affords a stunning view across Sarlat. The Tourist Office has audio guides to the things to see and do in Sarlat

PLAMON HOUSE (or Consuls’ House) | SARLAT

Rue des consuls. [XIV, XV, XVI, XVllc). One of Sarlat’s most remarkable houses and once owned by one of th most respected families in the area. Opposite is Vassal House 15th C Saint Mary’s Fountain, Mirandol House and nearby is Tapinois de Betou House 15th C with a magnificent 17th C wooden staircase. The Tourist Office can give directions to all the things to see and do in Sarlat

CHAPELLE DES RECOLLETS | SARLAT

Formerly the chapel of the Friars convent, it now houses a school. The Tourist Office has books on things to see and do in Sarlat.

Sarlat History in Snapshot

820 – 840
Presumed foundation of a Benedictine Monastery by the monks of Calabre abbey who transported the relics of St Sacerdos, the bishop of Limoges to the site.

1147
Saint Bernard, returning from the crusades, visits Sarlat and preforms the famous miracle of the “loaves which cured” handing bread to the town folk claiming it to cure all as evidence of the true God.

12th century
The citizens of Sarlat swear loyalty to King Louis VIII.

1229
On signature of Book of Peace, the townspeople acquire their political independance and can now govern themselves freely through their consuls.

13th August 1317
Pope Jean XXII makes Sarlat a diocese; the city is growing rapidly with 6000 inhabitants. Hundreds year war The town remains loyal to the king of France and courageousley resists but with the treaty of Bretigny in 1360, Jean le Bon delivers the entire Perigord region to Edwards III of England.

1450 – 1500
After a devastating war, a new period of prosperity begins for the town. Numerous houses and private residences are built as well as Saint Marie Church. The early 16th century is marked by many plaque epidemics and famine which was rampant in 1516

Wars of Religion
For the first time in its history Sarlat is taken by suprise on the 22nd February 1574 by the knight of Vivans, the Protestant leader. The town is pillaged and occupied for three months and the relics of Saint-Sacerdos are destroyed.

1587
The Viscount of Turenne attempts to occupy the town but despite 6000 troops, Sarlat resists the protestant assault which was to raise the raise the seige.

Late 16th, early 17th century
The Croquant revolt, a Perigord peasant movement, shakes the region but has very little effect on Sarlat.

1652
“La Fronde” was the last important historical event in the city. Marsin, the lieutenant of Conde, took Sarlat by seige and pillaged it over a period of 3 months. Life in Sarlat became more peaceful up until the Revolution during which the city remained moderate. During the Bonaparte consulate and the administrative re-organisation of the country Sarlat lost many of its privileges. It thus became the sub-prefecture of the department. The royal court of justice was replaced by a magistrates court, the city lost its rank of diocese and the last bishop was transferred.

1836 – 1840.
Rue de la République was built, cutting the old town-centre in half and destroying many old buildings. This street is now the main shopping street of Sarlat.

1882.
The railway station was built, from which point it was possible to reach Bordeaux.

1962
The Malraux Law was passed which saw Sarlat restored and saving many buildings from demolition. The architect of this law Andrea Malraux was at time the French Cultural Minister who during WWII had been a member of the resistance in Perigord

 

 

RAMPARTS – HANGMAN’S TOWER – RUE DUSIEGE | SARLAT

A high arched gateway leads to the outer boulevard which was once a dry moat. The Hangman’s Tower from the 16th C is one of the last two remaining towers out of the eighteen which once protected the city. The Tourist Office has tours of the things to see and do in Sarlat.

PASSAGE HENRI DE SEGOGNE – IMPASSE DES VIOLETTES – PLACE ANDRE MALRAUX

This ancient quarter was restored after the Malraux law on the Protection of Historical Towns, was passed on 4th August 1962. Several houses dating from the 13th, 15th and 16th C. with half timber. corbels and stone roofs. The Tourist Office has various guides to the things to see and do in Sarlat.

SARLAT MARKET

The famous Sarlat markets are held twice a week in the old town. Wednesday mornings are dedicated to food with the local produce providers setting up there stalls in and around Place de la Liberte. On a Saturday the food producers are back in and around Place de la Liberte in the morning until around 1pm. General traders with a variety of goods can be found along rue de la Republique for the entire day. The Tourist Office can give directions to all the things to see and do in Sarlat.

SARLAT COVERED MARKET

In St Marys Church sells a selection of local produce. Open hours are Off season : everyday (except on Thursday) from 8.30 am to 1 pm. High season : everyday from 8.30am to 2pm. On Friday : from 9.30 am to 8 pm.

SARLAT TRUFFLE & FOIE GRAS MARKETS

Place Boissarie (near the covered market on Saturday from 9 am to 12 am, in December, January and February.

SARLAT GARDENS

The gardeners of Sarlat take great pride in the gardens that come under their care – even the round abouts within the town are a work of art. The Public Gardens are a delightful place to visit for a picnic or a just a stroll. They can be found on Boulevard Henri Arlet. The Tourist Office has tours of the things to see and do in Sarlat.

Sarlat Festivals

SARLAT TRUFFLE FESTIVAL

Third week in January. Includes cooking demonstration with a focus on Foie Gras and Truffles.

SARLAT FEST de l’ OIE

Third Sunday in February Sarlat celebrates its emblem with a goose fair.

SARLAT RINGETA

Every 2 years on Whit Sunday Festival celebrating the traditional games of the past.

SARLAT JOURNEES DU TERRIOR

Held in May A two day market with local produce.

SARLAT FETE DE LA MUSIQUE

National music day on the 21st June every year throughout the medieval town.

SARLAT THEATRE FESTIVAL

One of the eldest theatre festivals in France with performances held throughout the old town. Runs from the second week in July to the first week of August.

SARLAT PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

In July and August.

PATRIMMONE

European Heritage Day; 3rd week-end in September. In the evening “Sarlat’s heritage beneath the stars”

SARLAT MOVIE FESTIVAL – Mid-November.

CHRISTMAS MARKET – and outdoor skating rink: December

Map | Sarlat Sights


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Map | Sarlat the Dordogne

Map | Sarlat the Dordogne