It is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval cities in France. A jewel of the so-called Black Perigord.

Sarlat is one of those charming cities that just stepping on it makes you travel back to the Middle Ages . In fact, it is listed as a City of Art and History. It has even been the setting for several movies. A city full of charm that we are going to visit. Can you come with us?

The city of Sarlat is located in the Black Perigord . This is an area full of castles and other medieval buildings. Also oak forests, which is the main reason for the color given to this part of Perigord.

The highlights in Sarlat

Street of Sarlat.

The city of Sarlat has dozens of protected buildings, and that, without a doubt, is proof of its heritage, architectural and artistic value. Its stone facades and the slate roofs of its buildings, perfectly preserved, make this a fairytale place.

The best way to get to know this town is to calmly walk its streets to discover each of its corners. It is difficult to single out one of them, since the wealth of this medieval city is its entirety.

Even so, the cathedral of San Sacerdos stands out . The religious temple has some part built in the 9th century, but the most representative currently dates from the 16th century.

Another very peculiar structure is the tower of San Bernardo , known as the “lantern of the dead”. The function of this building is still unknown. It is said that it could have served to guide lost travellers, but there are theories that defend that religious rituals were performed on it.

One more place to add to your visit is the square where the goose market was held . The importance of foie gras is vital in the gastronomy of Perigord. For this reason, in Sarlat there is a statue in honor of these animals. These are three bronze geese that are the favorite place in the city for the little ones.

The church of Santa Maria

The church of Santa Maria.

On your visit to Sarlat you will see other very important squares, such as that of Liberté. There you can see the majestic and ancient church of Santa María, which stopped serving as a religious temple two centuries ago. After being used for various purposes, the building now serves as a market and cultural center .

In the tower there is a glass-walled elevator that allows you to get incredible views. Not only from the building, but also from Sarlat. Don’t hesitate to come to this place on your trip to Perigord.

And there are still other corners that are worth mentioning in the historic center. The Boétie mansion is one of the most beautiful buildings in the south of France,  due to its unique façade and its roof. Two more buildings to visit are the Gisson mansion and the town hall itself.

Other places in the Black Perigord

Lascaux IV Center.

Perhaps the most valuable of the Black Perigord are the cave paintings of the Lascaux caves , near Montignac. Discovered in 1940 and after years open to the public, archeology experts decided to close access to facilitate its conservation.

These caves are as famous in France as those of Altamira in Spain, and both are the most important points in Europe in terms of Paleolithic cave art.

Although the original cave is no longer accessible, it is possible to see an exact reproduction in the center known as Lascaux 4 . There, in addition, you can learn much more about the time in which the paintings were made.

On the other hand, the architectural richness of the Black Perigord is manifested, above all, in its many castles . Most of its towns have a fortification built centuries ago to defend against enemy invasions. In this sense, an outstanding one is that of Hauteford.

Furthermore, in the Black Perigord there are several cities built with the same defensive structure . Its streets are gridded and regular, and each town of this type, known as bastides , has a defensive tower on each of its corners. One of these towns that stands out from the rest is Domme.

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