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Sarlat la Canéda - the most beautiful mediaeval town in France... probably!

It's always a point for discussion, of course, but there are a great many people who would uphold Sarlat la Canéda's (or Sarlat la Caneda) claim to be the most beautiful mediaeval town in France. Certainly the town is one of France's best loved and most visited… and set in the ever popular Dordogne to boot!

Special charm and atmosphere

Two "A list" films have also been set here, which helps to prove the point that Sarlat has something a little special to offer in the charm and atmosphere stakes! Although there are not really any major historic sites, such as supremely imposing cathedrals, the overall impact of this beautifully restored town is immense.

A golden place

The word "golden" is more than apt as a description for Sarlat. The town is golden in terms of its good fortune in being so beautiful... the tourist trade attracted by this beauty brings a significant source of wealth in its wake. It's golden also in terms of its situation in the lovely Dordogne countryside, which gives Sarlat not only a beautiful setting for this city jewel, but also blesses it with an embarrassment of opportunities for outdoor pursuits in the warm sunny weather with which it is also, largely, blessed! Finally, Sarlat is literally golden... the city is built from the local sandstone which has a truly lovely warm deep yellow colour, and which gives the appearance of radiating light and warmth from the very stones themselves.

A town for tourism

It's a two-edged sword, tourism, with some people preferring to base themselves away from the main tourist areas and try to discover a life in "La France Profond". There is another side to the story, however, and if ever a place sang the virtues of purchasing property in a popular tourist town, then that place is Sarlat la Canéda.

Beautiful all year

Although it can be hectic in the summer, when the season is at its height, the beauty of the town is still present when the tourists leave... or lessen. The excellent provision of shops, services, restaurants and sporting and leisure opportunities is, to a great extent, due to the demands of the tourist industry, and of course, residents benefit. The really significant factor for would be property owners is however, that the ever present tourist trade affords a real opportunity to utilise your property to raise an income to support your purchase, or to finance your new life in France.

Sarlat la Canéda - a truly French town

Sarlat, for all its tourist attributes and fame, is no one dimensional illusion of a film set. Its maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses are quite genuine, as is the market which sets up in the streets and squares every Saturday and Wednesday morning. Real lives are lived here, and there are schools, banks, hairdressers and other necessities on hand.

Historic Sarlat

Historically speaking, Sarlat began its life as not much more than a Benedictine monastery, around which the town gradually arose. Lying in a natural bowl in the landscape, Sarlat required some pretty substantial fortifications to protect it as it lacked the natural defences of the more common hilltop towns. These ramparts are Sarlat's heritage, and impart a sense of a place in history.

Outdoors and active in the Black Perigord

Sarlat is a superb base for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. It lies in a beautiful region known as the Black Perigord, a reference to the ancient province of which Sarlat is the historic capital. With its woodlands and meadows, rivers and lakes, the Black Perigord is well equipped to allow access to some of those favoured activities, such as horse-riding, fishing, walking, swimming, cycling and many others.

How to get there

There are plenty of easy ways to reach Sarlat from the UK. Flying offers the options of landing in Bergerac or Limoges, which are served by both Ryanair and flybe. Rail travel is another possibility as the town has a railway station from which you can find links to Limoges and Bordeaux. If you are driving (and this is always a good idea as it affords you the ability to get out and about to explore the wider areas), the excellent A20 auto route is the one to follow.

Property prices and availability in and around Sarlat la Canéda

The Dordogne in general is a very popular area for property purchase, particularly with the British market. This has had the effect of pushing prices up, but if you have set your heart on a property here, don't be put off. It's still possible to find some excellent properties at reasonable prices. It's worth remembering too, that in a popular holiday town such as Sarlat, a rental income is always possible, or an income from a business such as a B&B is likely to be good.

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Sarlat la Canéda AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Sarlat la Canéda?

Sarlat la Canéda is situated in the south-west of France, just north of the River Dordogne. It lies in the south-east of the Dordogne department.

Sarlat la Canéda Property Map


Aquitaine Guide

Aquitaine Property Map


Dordogne Guide

  Dordogne Map

Population: 9,707

Access: By air: Fly to Bergerac or Limoges. By road: Sarlat la Canéda is accessed from the A20 auto route. By rail: The train will take you to Bergerac, Bordeaux or Limoges from where you can link to a local service to Sarlat.

Economy: The economy is primarily agricultural, with walnuts, cheese, corn, wine, crêpes and truffles prevalent. Tobacco is also grown, although this is less important than in the past. Tourism is another significant source of revenue.

Interesting fact: Two major films have been filmed in Sarlat: "The Duellists" and "Timeline".

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