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Destination Southwestern France:

Story and photos by Tom Weber

buddiing flower, Sarlat-la-Caneda, southwestern France

he late best-selling author Michael Crichton got it right when he selected Sarlat-la-Canéda as the setting for his time-travel novel and its big screen adaptation, Timeline.

outdoor cafe, Sarlat-la-Caneda

Located in the old Périgord Noir (Black Périgord) – Green, White and Purple make up the other colors of the Périgord – region of France, today known as the Dordogne department, Sarlat remains true to its 14th century roots in the heart of the Aquitaine.

interior of Sarlat's Cathedral of Saint Sacerdos

A medieval town that developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin, Sarlat's Cathedral of Saint Sacerdos serves as the epicenter of this rock-'n'-mortar locale.

Largely ignored by modern history, Sarlat has steadfastly maintained its past and stands as the most representative town of medieval France.

looking down a medieval alley in Sarlat-la-Caneda

Sitting at the top of the country's "tentative" list for future nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sarlat's rise from anonymity started in earnest in the 1960s as l'Hexagone got serious about its medieval past.

old faucet, Sarlat-la-Caneda

arch door at one of Sarlat-la-Caneda's restored medieval stone buildings

Today, Sarlat-la-Canéda consists of impeccably restored stone buildings, is pedestrian friendly and largely car-free.

produce at a farmers' market inside the converted Saint Mary's Church, Sarlat-la-Caneda 1

produce at a farmers' market inside the converted Saint Mary's Church, Sarlat-la-Caneda 2

Inside the converted Saint Mary's Church is a daily covered farmers' market of regional gastronomy, including the revered fois gras and le confit de canard. After shopping, exit the market and take the glass enclosed lift to the top for a 360-degree, panoramic view of Sarlat's ancient city center. Sorry, no pictures were taken as it rained on my way up and the lift is not covered overhead.

If You Go

For complete information on Sarlat – what to see, what to eat and where to stay, visit the town's official tourist website, in English.

Recommended Hotel:

street signs, Sarlat-la-Caneda

Les Récollets – 4 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Tel. +33 (0)5-53-31-36-00 – An economical two-star hotel, Les Récollets is a converted 17th century convent that originally housed the French order of the Franciscan friars. Enjoy the inside courtyard, weather permitting, for your petit déjeuner of French roast coffee, jus d'orange, and freshly baked baguettes and croissants. The hotel offers complimentary WIFI service and all rooms are air conditioned. For room prices and booking information, logon to:

menu at the Auberge Le Mirandol, Sarlat-la-Caneda

Recommended Dining: Auberge Le Mirandol – 7 Rue des Consuls – Tel. +33 (0)5-53-29-53-89 – Located on one of the quaint, winding cobblestone streets in the old city center, Auberge Le Mirandol is what true Périgord Noir dining is all about. Picking from several fixed menus (Menu Vassal), you can enjoy a five-star, five-course dinner for less than 24 euro (wine not included).

Related Articles:
The Medieval Towns of Bruges, Leiden and Dijon; Thoughts About Les Hommes Français; Provence; The Magnificent Cities of Champagne and Lorraine; Montpellier, France; The Lorraine Region of France; Rouen, the Port of Paris

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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