Monday, April 16, 2012

Sarlat-la-Canéda (again), France - June 25, 2011

We had visited Sarlat-la-Canéda a few years back and had been awestruck by the sheer size of its pseudo 14th century town center. Our route this year took us through town and we could not resist a reprise; we were not disappointed. With a slowly declining population of around 9,000 souls Sarlat is a major draw on market days and puts on a great show. As luck would have it, it was market day!
Sarlat developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin and the Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Sacerdos. Modern history seems to have overlooked this area, being as it is on the eastern boundary of the Dordogne department. The town benefitted hugely in the sixties from the energy and enthusiasm of writer, resistance fighter and politician André Malraux. As Minister of Culture from 1960 to 1969 he was responsible for the restoration of Sarlat along with many other sites of historic significance throughout France. The old town is about a third of a mile in length and consists entirely of impeccably restored stone buildings and is almost entirely pedestrianized.
Farming is the economic mainstay of the area with products including tobacco, corn, hay, walnuts, cheeses, foie gras, wine and truffles. Pictures here.

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