The "Jardin public du plantier" formerly was the flower garden of the Bishop, and previously from the abbey. In 1865, it became public garden of the town. It’s a nice place at the border of the medieval town with many benches to sit a bit and relax after having discovered the town! There also some events that take place in that garden.
The Rue de la Republique separates the old medieval town of Sarlat into an eastern and western part. It was built in 1840 and being dead straight with a bright pavement it somehow does not really fit into the old town of Sarlat! That street mostly is a shopping street and is partly pedestrianized.
The main sights are east of that street and that part is much more touristy, but you find narrow winding streets with nice old stone buildings on the western side as well.
The Place des Oies, Goose Market, is a little square where geese were bought and sold in the past. There are three bronze geese on that square which commemorate those times. Sarlat is famous for its foie gras and you will find many shops that sell foie gras and all restaurants have foie gras on their menu. And in winter, there’s a geese market on that square.
Next to the cathedral, you find an instersting looking building, the "Lanterne des Morts". It's also called Saint Bernard tower, after the abbot Bernard de Clarivaux. You can find it behind the cathedral, on the place of the old cemetery. The lantern probably dates from the 12th century. In contrast to other lanterns of death in France, it has a much larger diameter. It’s not completely clear what this building was used for, there may have been a chapel inside.
The cathedral of Sarlat is a nice bright church was built in the 12th century as Romanesque abbey church. It was rebuilt in the 14th century as cathedral after Sarlat became diocesan town. There also have been several reconstructions in later centuries, so you find a mixture of styles in that church. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Sacerdos of Limoges who was born near Sarlat.
The building in which you now find a market was actually built as church in the 14th century. This church, dedicated to Sainte Marie, was abandoned after the French Revolution. It’s an interesting idea to make this a covered market place then! Besides, there’s a lift that goes up to the bell tower so that you have a view on the town.
The market is interesting, with lots of local products. But for the big market which is famous in that region, you need to visit Sarlat on a Saturday, when there’s an outdoor market the whole day.
The market is open daily from 8h30 to 14h (until 20h on Fridays) in the high season (mid of April until mid of November). During the low season, the market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8h30 to 13h.
Sarlat has a lovely old town, with many picturesque stone buildings. Most were built in the 16th century and those ochre-coloured facades cause a special atmosphere. Especially at night, when the gas lamps are burning!
Most of the old town is car-free, which is really great. There are already enough people walking around, and driving through those narrow streets would be a problem anyway. It’s nice to stroll around those narrow cobbled streets and passages, and discover all those little squares and courtyards!
I had never heard of a "lantern of the dead" before I came to Sarlat and was therefore curious when I found this term on the map. In the case of Sarlat, the "lanterne des morts" is a bullet-shaped 12th-century building located on the former graveyard of the cathedral. It is completely different from other such buildings that occur quite often in western France. Their origin is said to be celtic and some archaeologists argue that they were used to still the people's fears from the dead as "lanternes des morts" are normally placed on or next to a graveyard. The light would have shone all night through and scared ghosts away. However, Sarlat's lantern does not have the characteristic opening in which a candle or torch would normally have been found. So despite the similarity in its name, it seems to have been used for another, so far unknown purpose.
Place de la Liberté is the heart of the medieval city: a large square lined by cafés, souvenir shops and other touristy stuff. Nonetheless, it has kept its beauty. The rather uncommon shape (a little bit like a lying "P") makes the square look different from every angle. The numerous old houses add to its charme as do the beautifully arranged goods in the grocery shops. On the northern end of the square is the covered market, located in a former chapel the transverse walls of which have been replaced by what must be the world's largest doors. While not exactly a main sight of Sarlat, the market is worth a visit - and a good place to shop for local delicacies.
Sarlat is best discovered on foot. All of the town's main sights lie within the boundaries of the cité médiévale (medieval city) which only measures some 300x300m. A good starting point is the tourist information centre located on Place du Peyrou just next to the cathedral of Saint Sacerdos. Afterwards, just get lost in the labyrinth of medieval streets or grab a map and start a more organized circuit. Every alley will be somewhat charming and there's lots to discover: from the obligatory foie gras shop to a cosy café or an ancient building.
Walking these, old, medieval towns, I always look upwards, as well as every other direction! I guess it is just a matter of time before I crash into somebody!
What I like, is the old style signs, I find them interesting!
Then there are the rooves, they can be turreted, round, octagonal, crooked, made with all types of building materials, from leaves, straw, tiles, wood, iron, and anything they could find in the old times. Often there are nice flower boxes in the top windows, making the building's pretty. What about the bridges, these I found in Sarlat old town.
And watch out incase somebody is watering their plants, you may get wet, yes, I just missed!
Sarlat, is a town, with plenty of different architecture, and quite a few interesting signs,
so LOOK UP!
If you are in the "Geese Square," [previous tip], then you are right next to Manor de Gisson.
The Manor was built in the 13th century, and is built in two different architectural styles. There are two buildings, that are joined together by a staircase in the hexagon tower!
Have a look inside and out of this building.
Outside, I loved the Tower, the windows, and the very old doorway with a key.
The inside has nice antique furniture, dating back to the Middle Ages and the 17th century. There are displays, torture implement's, huge fireplaces, wood panelling and more!
OPEN....All year round, usually between 10 -5pm and 10-6pm, but check the website, as the times vary with the time of year.
ADMISSION IN 2011....Adults...7euro
We had been to Le Maison Forte de Reignac so this entitled us to 10% discount here.
Place Des Oies is the name of a square where a market is held specialising in goose products from December to March. Located in the centre, surrounded by turreted old building's, is a nice bronze sculpture of three Geese.
Near where we parked our Car, were the Public Gardens. From the outside, they looked quite nice! I followed the Tree lined roadway, and found a Band Rotunda, a walled garden, children's playground, and a walkway up to what was a good viewpoint over Sarlat. Great views of the town from here, and a lovely well kept park. I was just a bit early to see the flower's in bloom.
Toilet's are located in the park.
The beautiful Cathedral St. Sacerdos, was once part of the Benedictine Abbey, which dated to the 12th century. It has unusual architecture, as over the years, it has been rebuilt in Roman, Gothic and other styles! The cathedral was originally the church of Sarlat Abbey.
It has a lovely turreted tower from the 12th century, the oldest part of the church.
On one side of the Abbey, are a few arches from the ancient Romanesque cloister.
Inside, it really was lovely. Stained glass window's, beaut carvings, paintings and more, it was well worth going into.