At one point in time, I had though of ending our vacation France in Bordeaux. But one item on the Missus's Bucket list was a visit to the Lascaux Cave, so I went ahead and did a bit of research, and found that the Dordogne region was full of medieval cities, beautiful vistas, and villages cut into the cliffs and crags. When I read that most important food products of the region are walnuts, truffle, duck (!), goose (!!), and foie gras....stop right there, that enough....we were going for sure. Plus, I'd read that the Saturday Market Day was something not to be missed. And to make things even sweeter, the Missus didn't seem to keen on Lascaux II, a replica of the original cave which has been closed to the public, so I found the only site in France with polychrome cave paintings that is still open to the public!
Getting to Sarlat from Bordeaux was a snap. It was a half mile walk downhill from the train station to our accommodation, a wonderful little B&B named Chambres d'Hôtes L'Unique. The place is run by a very charming and warm couple; the wife speaks only French and Spanish, and the husband some English. I believe there are only two spacious and charming rooms. We enjoy our privacy so staying at B&B's sometimes cramps our style, but this place was wonderful. We were given a key to the front entrance and could come and go as we please.
We got a nice recommendation for dinner and the breakfast (in a future post) was amazing!
Chambres d'hôtes l'Unique
20 Avenue Thiers
Another plus was that the place was a few blocks from the center of Sarlat, but still far enough from the hustle and bustle (all relative of course), which we'd appreciate the next day.
To say that Sarlat charming is an understatement; with lovely cobblestone streets, meandering alleys, the Gothic and Renaissance stylings of the buildings, there's the feeling that you're breathing in the rarefied air of a medieval market town.
One that's filled with and endless assortment of Foie Gras Shops......
Which are everywhere. Find a picturesque square; this one is Place de la Liberte, and you know why Sarlat has been used as the backdrop for so many movies; like Ever After; The Musketeer, Timeline, Chocolat, and the Duellists.
And without a doubt you will run into another Foie Gras shop.
Folks, this sign is no joke.
I Googled "how many foie gras shops in Sarlat" and I guess even the Internet didn't want to hazard a guess.
Look close enough and you'll start to notice interesting pieces of public art; like this bronze statue of a boy sitting above Place de la Liberte, named "Le Badaud", the Onlooker. We'd find out just what he was looking at the next day; during the Saturday Market.
We just kind of wandered around with no objective in sight; other than to make dinner reservations at a place recommended by the owner of the B&B. That was done quickly; which left us to our own devices; roaming the quiet alleyways of Sarlat.
It was a very quiet Friday afternoon. It seems that most of the day-trippers had headed back to their accommodations, resting up for the Saturday swarm. Every so often you'll come something like this medieval courtyard; Cour des Fontaines, with, of course a fountain, a remnant of an Abbey that was located on this site in the 14th century.
Or the Lanternes des morts (Lantern of the Dead). In 1147 St Bernard blessed the bread in Sarlat, an event called the "the miracle of the healing loaves" when the ill and infirm ate the bread and were healed. Though I've heard a couple of other stories about this distinct and very interesting structure which is one of the oldest structures in Sarlat.
They say "water is life" and this fountain, which flowed out of a tiny grotto was built in the 12th century, and for centuries the La fontaine Sainte-Marie was the main water source for Sarlat.
You can see that the Virgin Mary is still standing guard, protecting the water.
And then there's this square.
Named "Place de Oies", yep you guessed it, "Square of the Geese". Geese are actually traded here on market days between November thru March.
We'd worked up an appetite walking around, so it was time to head to dinner. We had walked over to Bistrot l’Adresse earlier and made reservations for dinner. Lucky thing too as the place filled up quite quickly.
Our Server was very nice, even though she was slammed, always had a smile for us. We had the middle table on the porch, which we really enjoyed as it was quite a lovely day. There were two combinations of a three course prix fixe dinner menu to choose from; so we selected one of each.
As for wine, we couldn't decide on a white or a red; so we got both. The white to start out with the first course and a red to follow. Since the place was super busy and popular, even with locals it seemed, we'd just relax and have a nice leisurely dinner, something that seems to be lost here in the States.
We are of course Asian, so we basically shared everything; passing plates back and forth, and had a great time.
After seeing all those foie gras signs, you know what we had to start with right? The foie gras mi cuit of course!
Along with the date chutney, this was totally delici-yoso! I mean really good; fairly light yet rich, amazing texture. Yes, I do call it Basque Butter as it seemed like the folks in Basque country treat it as a birthright. But perhaps I need to find some other name for this.....like "Dordogne Delight"?
Loved the simple, yet refreshing Salade de Gesiers de Canard Magret Fume.
Basically, a wonderful green salad topped with amazingly tender duck gizzards (Gesiers de Canard ) and tasty cured duck breast (Magret Fume). I could eat this everyday.
Loved the Magret de Canard which was served wrapped in a crepe/filo dough. Really moist, great flavors from all the herbs.
The potatoes; Pommes Sarladaises; "Sarlat Potatoes", were quite rich and delicious. From what I've read; this classic rendition of potatoes is made with only Goose Fat, Garlic, salt, and Pepper. What more do you really need?
The Tarte de Confit de Canard; which is actually in the back of this photo was good, but it really didn't grab us like the other entrée.
As for desserts....well, I'm not much of a dessert guy...unless one of them is cheese!
A nice, mild, local Cabécou, mild, milky, with a nice finish.
The Missus just loved the Pistachio Ice Cream as it wasn't too sweet.
The prices weren't too bad at 22 Euros per person, the Chateau de la Jaubertie was 19 Euros, while the Clos Montalbanie was 20. Overall, this might have been our favorite meal while in Dordogne.
8 Rue du 8 Mai 1945
We left fat and happy and took our time walking back to our room.
As darkness fell, the city, the only one lit by gas lamps in France; seems quite romantic under the warm glow.
This is what I'd always thought France would be like.
Thanks for reading!