Sarlat la Caneda
Sarlat, what a gorgeous medieval town. I had time to enjoy a quick stopover in Sarlat la Caneda on my latest road trip from the Haute Savoie to the beautiful South West region of France. I’ve been wanting to visit for a while and these beautiful cobbled streets with their tall old stone buildings didn’t disappoint. I booked a Chambre d’hôte through booking.com right in the middle of the old town and it was perfect! I stayed at Le Glacier and my room which was huge was No.1 looking out over the square – Place de Liberté. The owners were warm and welcoming and offered a great service and a lovely breakfast! I loved the hustle of the street and the evenings street and café culture. All the restaurants tables lined the streets with happy diners. The plentiful shops with their wares spilling out into the streets and numerous delicatessens selling the local produce of the region of Périgord Noir. Le Fois Gras, confit and magret de canard, walnuts, truffles…
I had an hour or so to wander the wonderful cobbled streets and alleys before dinner. I asked for a restaurant recommendation from my host and got three! So after having walked to check out the menus of these places, I consulted Trip Advisor and the websites and chose Le Présidial which was tucked away from the busy main tourist streets of Sarlat. A chateau in beautiful gardens and a great terrace in the gardens to enjoy dinner. And what a treat dinner was, I’m pleased I reserved as it wasn’t long before the whole terrace was full. This created a convivial atmosphere and was a place where I was extremely comfortable dining alone – although it was sad not to have shared this Perigoridian dining experience…next time!
I felt I should eat typically of the region so I started with a Kir Perigoudin which was a local sparkling wine with péche and the amuse bouche arrived.
A tapenade, rillettes de canard and œufs de caille mimosa.
I ordered the Foie gras de canard mi-cuit en terrine Maison, confit d'oignons et vin rouge aux épices (pictured right) and it was delicious – I loved the sweetness of the confit d’oignons with the foie gras. Often a sweet wine marries beautifully with foie gras so my Kir Périgourdin worked well.
Sticking with the duck theme my main course was Emincé de magret de canard aux pêches sauce aigre douce, Pommes de Terre à la Sarladaise and oh my this was divine. The combination of the peach with the duck I loved. I was introduced to the local dish of Pommes de Terre Sarladaise – these were 'melt in the mouth' sliced potatoes cooked in goose fat with garlic and parsley.
The dessert was hard to choose or I could have selected a local cheese dish le Rocamadour. I say ‘or’as at this point I could not possibly have eaten both ! I opted for a dessert and enjoyed the L'opéra du Présidial au thé matcha, their own take on the classic chocolate opera cake.
There are two set menus in the evening at either €29,50 for three courses or €42,00 for four, as well as an a la carte.
I chose the €29,50 menu which I really enjoyed! They have a very good value three-course lunch menu at €19,50 featuring local regional dishes.
I would suggest booking at Le Presidial as it seemed very popular.
You can reserve by phone on 05.53.28.92.47.
They are closed on Sunday and at lunchtimes on Monday and Thursday.
Above: View from my bedroom at Chambres D'Hote Le Glacier on the rue de la Liberté. Left: Wandering through the gorgeous medieval streets in Sarlat
The next morning I wandered the streets and visited local artisan and produce shops. One shop I really enjoyed visiting was Vidal – an artisan Foie gras producer. The shop is more of a sensory experience for the eyes, nose and tastebuds! Rows and rows of various duck and goose foie gras products, magret de canard, confit de canard, pâtés, truffles, mushrooms, figs, walnuts and walnut oil milled in their own mill, the last remaining mechanical only mill in the area – Le Moulin de Trel. The friendly and knowledgeable lady in the shop gave me a guided tour whilst regaling the history of Vidal and the produce. She proudly showed me the original Pâté Georgette – the very first pâté produced by the Grandmother of the family.
Inside the Vidal shop in Sarlat with their extensive collection of Duck and Goose Foie Gras, local produce and wines. Their own walnut oils milled at Le Moulin de Trel and the original recipe Pâté Georgette
On my short visit to Sarlat La Caneda my opinion would be if you are looking for tranquillity and peace, maybe this busy medieval town is not for you, especially in high season. However you can stay nearby in the countryside of the Périgord Noir with its beautiful chateaux, but do go and visit Sarlat for the day, it’s well worth it!
Understandably as this is an old historical town with many walking streets only, if you wish to stay right in the centre then be prepared to park your car a few minutes walk away. You have the choice of a free parking at Place des Cordeliers, or the parking ‘payant’ in front sous-prefecture on in the surrounding streets – but beware parking for 24 hours runs at around €30!
I arranged my trip to Sarlat at my own expense, and these are my own views. I loved seeing Sarlat and found being a lone traveller there was absolutely fine. All of the local people I encountered were warm and welcoming. In the shops and restaurants, everyone had time to stop for a chat - I will definitely go back with more time to explore...