Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sarlat-la-Canéda, France - May 31, 2008

Our visit to Sarlat-la-Canéda was awesome. The weather co-operated, to our good fortune it was market day (Sunday), the old city turned out to be essentially traffic free and its condition was exceptional. With a population of about 10,000, Sarlat is in the Dordogne department of southwest France and is, hopefully, awaiting elevation to World Heritage status. Devoid of major historical milestones and with little in the way of significant attractions, previously prosperous Sarlat fairly fell off of the mainstream radar after the 18th century. It then languished as a backwater for a century and a half, only to be rediscovered in the latter part of the 20th century, when road transportation began to supersede rail and river and brought traffic back to the area. During this hiatus, many, more industrious towns had been busy tearing down and rebuilding while Sarlat remained solidly rooted in the 14th century. In the early 1960's the city was renovated with funding from the Ministry of Culture and is now a prized example of Medieval France. The Benedictines established a monastery in Sarlat at the end of the 8th century which, by the 14th century, became the site for the new cathedral. At the end of the Hundred Years War, the city - indeed the whole of southwest France - was ceded to the English under Edward III, in exchange for renouncing his claim to the throne of France. For more pictures, click here.

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