Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
I love street markets. I’m drawn in by the sheer variety of stuff available for sale; from costume jewelry to beautifully handcrafted wooden bowls to plastic table cloths and boho-chic clothes, it seems like everything you could want is sold here. When it’s a nice day out, there’s nothing better than strolling down the street, browsing as you go. And when the market is set in a beautifully-preserved, 14th century town like Sarlat-la-Caneda, well it just doesn’t get better than this.
Sarlat-la-Caneda is famous for its Saturday market. Both sides of the main street are packed chock-a-block with stalls selling all manner of interesting things. If the hustle and bustle of the crowd starts getting to you, however, simply wander down a side street, and within minutes, you’ll be alone with your thoughts.
The charming town is on the brink of UNESCO World Heritage status. In fact, it’s so well preserved that it’s been featured in a number of Hollywood and local movies, including Chocolat. In fact, out of all the locations in France, only Paris and Nice have seen more film crews.
Located in the Perigord Noir region of France, Sarlat is also home to a number of foie gras producers. Driving along the country roads around Sarlat, I chanced upon several “foie gras factory” signs, but sadly didn’t have the time to visit any of them. I did, however, pick up some canned foie gras in town. But my favourite way to eat it, by far, is to get a fresh lobe of foie gras, sear it briefly, sprinkle generously with salt, then serve with fresh, crusty bread. If cooking it is too intimidating for you, you could always sample it in one of the many restaurants in town.
Sarlat is best reached by car (two hours East of Bordeaux), but is also on the Siorac-en-Perigord – Cazoules railway line. It’s serviced by the local TER Aquitaine that runs roughly five times a day from Bordeaux to Libourne, Bergerac and Sarlat.
The market in Sarlat is open every Saturday from 8.30 a.m. to six in the evening. If you’re looking for fresh produce, go to Place de la Liberte – stalls are open till 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Sarlat also hosts a covered market in the former Sainte Marie church on Place de la Liberte, which is open every day in the High Season from 8.30 a.m. to 2 p.m., except for Fridays when it is open from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.. In the Off Season, the market is open from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. everyday except Thursday.
During the summer months from 17th June to 16th September, Sarlat also hosts an organic night market in Place du 14 Juillet in front of the Post Office on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m..
If you’re hunting for truffles and foie gras, plenty of shops all over Sarlat offer it, but there is also a dedicated market on Place Boissarie on Saturday mornings in the winter months (December through January).
For more information, go to the Sarlat Tourism website (helpfully in English).
If you, like me, are thinking of exploring several medieval towns in the region, don’t miss Rocamadour – it’s got amazing views and great food.
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