Sarlat, France is a fabulous historical place. What can you see in Sarlat and Dordogne area? On the north bank of the Dordogne and a few minutes downstream from Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, is this 12th-century castle built by the Barons of Beynac. Just one look at it and you’ll understand why attackers might have been put off: It’s on a vertical limestone crag, and even now visitors have a hard time getting up there! If you make it you’ll have the pleasure of a 30-minute guided tour which brings the austere romanesque keep to life. The residences added to this monolithic structure include apartments from the 1600s, with carved woodwork and a painted ceiling still intact. See also the Salle des Etats with its renaissance fireplace and the adjoining oratory with walls entirely decorated with frescoes from the 1400s.
Originally an abbey church dating from the 11th century, the Cathedrale St-Sacerdos is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The organ in the church is said to be one of the best preserved from the 18th century. Pop inside to hear it being played as part of a special concert or simply soak up the peace and quiet away from Sarlat’s busy squares. Nearby you can spot the a rocket-like structure called ‘lanterne des morts’, a 12th-century stone monument that is said to honour Saint Bernard, who is believed to have cured the sick by blessing their bread.
Of no relation to the Parisian 17th-century writer Cyrano de Bergerac with his misshapen nose (or the 1980s BBC detective series), this medieval river port means wine. Rosette and Monbazillac vineyards rise above the town and Pecharmant reds age in oak barrels on family-run estates on its northern fringe. In Bergerac you can taste the region’s 13 different appellations and meet local producers at the House of Wines (vins-bergerac.fr), 1 rue des Recollets. Lazing between sun-baked clearings and chestnut forests in the southern Dordogne, this town, an hour from Bergerac, was founded in 1284 for King Edward I of England. Much to the joy of flaneurs today who revel in the medieval symmetry of central place des Cornieres and its surrounding grid of streets, the bastide was built in a quadrilateral, 500 yards long and 250 yards wide. You can’t get lost.
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