After several months far away from France, I was longing for old stones, picturesque little villages, tasty French food… This 4-day roadtrip in the South-West of France which started with the visit of the beautiful medieval town of Sarlat was a delightful homecoming trip! France is such a beautiful country!
As usual, we had no precise travel plan in mind. We left from Bordeaux and we knew that we wanted to explore the Dordogne department and then reach Carcassonne. We would improvise for the rest. Even if our GPS sometimes led us to impossible roads, we still managed to explore a great variety of sites in only 4 days and we ended up crossing 5 departments.
We criss-crossed the Dordogne and Lot departments and discovered lovely little villages perched on cliffs as well as beautiful medieval castles. In Corrèze, we visited an incredible village that could be used as a setting for a fairy tale: the amazing Collonges-la-Rouge. Around Carcassonne, in the Aude department, we were plunged into the universe of Cathar knights and their impregnable castles. We enjoyed the beautiful Ariège landscapes with the magestic Pyrénées mountain range in the background
As we were travelling off-season, in the middle of January, we were able to avoid the hordes of tourists that are usually exploring these sites. The least we can say is that we have been very lucky with the weather. It was very sunny most of the time.
The lovely medieval city of Sarlat in Dordogne was our first stop. Here we go!
First stop: Sarlat
I had heard so much about Sarlat, that I could not wait to visit this city. We discovered an impressively well preserved medieval town, with little paved streets, beautiful buildings, lovely little squares, little boutiques selling tasty regional products… Sarlat was definitely worth it!
– A few history words –
The city is said to have been founded around an imposing abbey under the dynasty of the Carolingian kings (dating as far back as 751 – 987) ! Located far away from the Dordogne river, it is one of the rare city that was not attacked by the Vikings who were arriving by boat.
The city kept growing and reached its height during the 13th century.
Incredibly well preserved, today Sarlat is visited by thousands of tourists each year. It is also sometimes used as a setting for historical movies.
As we were visiting Sarlat during the month of January, we had this little gem just to ourselves! We arrived before lunch and started exploring this maze of little streets. It was impossible not to take dozens of pictures!
La Rapière: a good address when visiting Sarlat!
In January, most restaurants were closed! So we quicly settled for La Rapière which was open that day. And we were delighted with this choice! Apparent beams, cozy fire place, wooden furniture: the setting was beautiful. What’s more, the food was delicious! We all fell for the speciality of the region (which happens to be one of my favorite dishes!): the duck confit. We finished on a sweet note with an amazing nut cake for dessert.
After regaining strength, we continued exploring the maze of little streets under a lovely sunny sky.
After a few hours in Sarlat, we hopped back into the car and headed to the beautiful castle of Beynac.