France does have many beautiful villages, one of those is La Roque-Gageac in the Dordogne, South-West of France. La Roque-Gageac is included in the list of the most beautiful villages in France, or the Les Plus Beaux Villages De France association.
We were greeted by rain when we arrived at La Roque-Gageac around 11:30 local time. The end of September in France is indeed unpredictable. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it can only be windy, sometimes it can be sunny. Luckily we were prepared to wear a thick jacket, scarf, hat, gloves, thick pants too. Because it was raining, so it was quite cold there.
La Roque-Gageac is one of the most frequently immortalized places in photography in south-western France. This village is on the right bank of the Dordogne River and has a population of 412 people. What’s interesting about La Roque-Gageac in my opinion is the high cliffs towering with views of the Dordogne river. If we keep going up the cliff, the view is really beautiful. And people said there used to be a residence of humans in prehistoric times here. There are lots of caves too.
Because we still wanted to go to Sarlat-la-Caneda, we only spent about 1 hour at La Roque-Gageac. The trip takes about 30 minutes or about 8km from La Roque-Gageac to Sarlat-la-Canéda. We arrived at Sarlat-la-Caneda at 13:00 local time.
Sarlat-la-Canéda is one of the most famous and visited town in France. Often referred to as “Sarla”, this city has existed since the Middle Ages. Sarlat is also often dubbed as a fairy tale country, because when we travel in this city, it feels like we are in the Middle Ages in the movies.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, in the entire city of Sarlat held Sarlat Market. For Wednesday, it is only for food, but there are not many choices. If you want big and mixed (not only food), you have to come on Saturday. The following is the Market schedule at Sarlat:
- on Saturday: in the city centre – all products from 8.30 am to 6 pm
- on Saturday morning: Place de la Liberté – food market from 8.30 am to 1 pm
- on Saturday morning in winter only: several markets with award-winning truffles
- on Saturday morning in October: Place du 19 mars 1962 or Place du Marché aux Noix
- on Wednesday morning: small food market – Place de la Liberté from 8.30 am to 1 pm
At that time I went there on Saturday. But because it’s too late, so many shops have closed. Not as busy as I imagined. This is a market in medieval city, aka the city from the middle ages, well here we can find traditional French specialties such as Foie Gras and Black Truffle.
I don’t want to try Foie Gras, but if you don’t feel guilty about eating it, go ahead 😛 Foie Gras is a “luxury” food made from a goose’s liver, which makes the process of torturing the goose. The taste of foie gras which is very delicious, is said to come from the suffering of the geese.
I love to stroll around in this medieval city of Sarlat. Really feel like being in the middle age. All buildings are made of stone. Indeed this is a traditional French building, made of stone. We pass through small alleys, then what we see is building in a square. Then there continued to be more gangs, and I immediately feel that there was something unpleasant, something mystical. It turned out to be true, we found Lanterne Des Morts Sarlat (Lantern of the Dead), a monument that returned to the grave. There is nothing in this monument. Dark. But someone said at night there are lights. Fortunately at that time we were not alone there, there were some people who visited this Lanterne Des Morts too.
Don’t want to stay long at Lanterne Des Morts, we continued walking again. We also found a cathedral named Cathédrale-saint-sacerdos. Entering this cathedral, my heart suddenly became calm and peaceful. After leaving the cathedral, we continued our journey exploring this city of Sarlat. Throughout the city Sarlat is filled with restaurants, street vendors, souvenir shops, fashions, fruits, etc.
Started to feel hungry, we were looking for a restaurant for lunch. There were not many restaurant choices at that time, because it was too late, so many shops had closed. Finally we chose the restaurant we first saw, namely Creperie Des Fontaines. Luckily I have learned French a bit, so I can speak French if want to order food. The servants here are not friendly, the crepes are actually so-so. We spent 88.6 Euros (or around Rp1,417,600) for 8 people.
After had lunch, we saw a Burger shop that also sells French Fries, or Frites in French. The waiter at Les Tontons Burger was very friendly. He even made small talk, asking us where we came from. At first he thought we were from China / Taiwan, but I said from Indonesia. Then he said, “Terima kasih (Thank you)!” Wow, I was surprised he could speak a little Bahasa. Oh yeah, the frites are really good too! Anyway, this is really recommended in Sarlat 😀 Finally, I tasted how the French Fries taste like France. LOL
We bought 2 kinds of Frites, one original, one using Cheese topping. Both are delicious, but of course I prefer the one which using Cheese toppings. One portion of Frites costs 2 Euros (or around IDR 32,000). If you want to use toppings, you don’t have to pay anymore.
Then we went for a walk again, and found a park. In this park I saw a monument that read “Aux enfants de Sarlat mort pour la Patrie”, which means “Tribute to the children killed in the First World War.” No wonder I had a bad feeling when I was there, it turns out it was a monument to children who were killed during the First World War.
Don’t want to be there again, we continued our journey around this beautiful city. We then find Place de la Liberté. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning there is a Sarlat food market here. But we did not enter the Place de la Liberté, we continued on and not far from there we found Manoir de Gisson, a beautiful building that had existed since the 13th century. As soon as I saw this building, I suddenly thought of Harry Potter, for some reason. It’s really beautiful. Like buildings in movies. Right in front of the Manoir de Gisson is the Place du Marché aux Noix marked by a swan statue, because this is indeed Goose Market Square which was once a swan trade area. Not far from there we also found Fontaine Sainte-Marie, a cave with a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Around 16:00 local time we left Sarlat. It didn’t feel like we had been around Sarlat for 3 hours. Sarlat is indeed a very beautiful medieval city. All buildings are made of stone. Traditional French buildings are like that, made of stone. So when you enter the room will feel cold.
I think if I go to France again, I will definitely visit this city again. Somehow this city for me is really very memorable. Even though it seems like I’ve explored this city of Sarlat, but I really want to explore it again. J’aime à Sarlat! : D