10 reasons to visit Sarlat and the Dordogne Valley

Less than 3 hours away from Bordeaux or Toulouse, the Dordogne Valley is an outstanding destination : unique landscapes, many "most beautiful villages of France" and remarkable gastronomy...

1. Be amazed by the unique setting

Amongst the villages labelled “most beautiful villages of France”, many of them are situated in the Dordogne Valley.

La Roque Gageac nested between the cliffs and the Dordogne River, on which you can take a boat trip on a traditional flat bottom boat and discover the beautiful views of the castles from the water. The small town of Beynac-et-Cazenac; where a breath-taking view of the valley awaits. Come and discover the medieval castle and follow along the footsteps of the 100-year war.

Moreover the medieval “bastide” of Domme where you can gaze over yet another stunning view of the valley. Castelnaud-la-chapelle with its medieval castle built during 12th century, Limeuil, Saint Amand de Coly, Saint Léon sur Vézère and the bastide of Monpazier.

Rich in history, authentic villages, unforgettable scenery and many fairy tale castles awaits you in the Périgord Noir.

2. Make the most of our preserved nature

Come and unwind on the Dordogne riverbank ! This river, the most pure and clean in France, will reveal all its secrets. Whether you are discovering it on a Gabarre, in a canoe, or for a nice swim, the Dordogne will always deliver the most wonderful scenery full of castles, greenery, cobbled beaches, and villages listed “most beautiful villages of France”.

UNESCO also classified the Dordogne amongst the world network of biosphere reserves. This title concerns the entire river: from its source in Sancy, in the Puy du Dôme, to its mouth in the Gironde, not to forget it running through our mythical valley of the Dordogne.

Vallée Dordogne - CDT24

3. Be spoiled in gastronomy haven

Foie gras, truffles, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts, confit and charcuterie, goats cheese, strawberries, liquors and brandy, are only a couple of the regions irresistible specialties. Sarlat, a hot-spot for gastronomy, will make your taste buds come alive with a quintessence of flavours and aromas to discover and rediscover at our markets. In Sarlat, the market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, and there are many other marchés opened in various surrounding villages throughout the week.

Futhermore many other festivities are held in Sarlat such as : la Fête de la Truffe, Sarlat Fest’oie, les journées du terroir, la journée du goût et de la gastronomie…

gastronomie vallée dordogne

4. Share the way of life

Come and share the fun during one of the many festivities that take place, all of them celebrating our gastronomy. The truffle festival, which takes place in January, showcases different specialties, all based around truffles and foie gras. Sarlat Fest’Oie, in March, is a whole weekend of tasting and fun orientated around the symbol of Sarlat: the goose. Furthermore, a gourmet celebration day is scheduled for the end of September, during which many local farmers offer a taste of their products and it’s also a great occasion to try the regions famous dish: lamb with special sarladais potatoes.

Last but not least, come and be part of the 5th most beautiful Christmas market in France. The Christmas village is made up of 50 cabins selling souvenirs of crafted presents, not to forget a fun ice skating rink setup in the middle of our magical market.

Sarlat also invites you to Heritage days where all the streets are lit up by candle light, “les journées du terroir”, the giant Easter egg hunt through the streets of Sarlat, “La Ringueta” festival of traditional games, the theatre festival, and the film festival….

5. A town full of history: the capital of an inspiring region with an exceptional heritage

Capital of a region rich in exceptional history, Sarlat was one of the first towns to be restored after a law; proposed by André Malraux on the 4th of August 1962; because the town’s medieval streets and renaissance facades had remained intact. Sarlat is also known to withhold the record for the highest density of historic monuments and classified buildings. It is listed a town of Art and History and is also one of the last cities that still has gas town lights.

The Michelin green guidebook awarded Sarlat with 3 stars, on a par with some of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

Maison de la Boetie Dan Courtice
® Dan Courtice - Sarlat Périgord Noir

6. An active region

Sporty or just love the fresh air? The Périgord Noir is made for you! If it’s on water, on firm ground or in the air, there will always be an activity to suit you in the Dordogne region. Come and explore our hikes, country side walks, and our cycle path linking Sarlat and Cazoulès on which you can use a road bike, racing bike, mountain bike, roller skating, or just on your own two feet. You can also relax and have fun on the water by renting a canoe, or even why not take-off in a hot-air balloon.

Canoe Vallée de la Dordogne

7. The international center of parietal art in Montignac-Lascaux

Open since the 15th of December of 2016, you are welcome to come and discover the International Center of Parietal Art (cave art) Montignac-Lascaux, situated less than 30 minutes away from Sarlat. Lascaux is revealed with a fresh new structure: more than 8500 m² of visiting space, with a complete replica of the original caves and 6 exhibition rooms that retrace the history and the discovery of the caves, it also explains the structures place in parietal art and the contemporary creation. Thanks to cutting edge technology, discover a surprising and personalized experience in the heart of prehistory.


8. Make great family memories

Sarlat and the Perigord Noir, the best outside playground for your kids! The Dordogne is packed with sites that will light up your children’s faces ! It’s the dream destination to have great family adventures, on firm ground, in the air, on water and even underground! An adventure on every level!

To help you choose the best activities and sites for your family, the label “Dordogne en Famille” presents a selection of sites specially adapted for you and your family. Therefore big or small, there is something for everyone. Some activities are to be experienced with your loved ones and other are separate... but never far away!

Place des Oies Sarlat - Dan Courtice
® Dan Courtice - Sarlat Périgord Noir

9. Sarlat and le Périgord Noir, a perfect shooting location!

Sarlat and the Périgord Noir have been the location for many film sets such as: Chocolat with Judi Dench (filmed in Beynac), the Musketeer, Ever After, the Disney film Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (filmed in Sarlat, Castelnaud, Beynac castle and on the river Dordogne) and many more.

In Sarlat, every November, the film festival welcomes many famous names from the film industry in order to introduce to the public their latest creations.

Château de Beynac

10. Come to the Tourist Office

A warm welcome awaits you in any of our offices associated with the tourist office of Sarlat Périgord Noir. In Sarlat, all year round, in Beynac from February to October and during the Christmas holidays, and in La Roque Gageac every day from April to September. You will find lots of souvenirs to bring back for your family, friends or for yourself.

The tourist office also organizes guided visits of Sarlat. Follow one of our guides and explore the streets of the medieval town, the small passage ways, the cathedral, and the private mansions from the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Let Sarlat reveal all its secrets.

Different types of visits are organized by the tourist office; step back in time with “La belle Sarladaise” who will share with you the history of our town and that, makes it so unique. Or try out our “travel notebook” tour and be amazed by an unexpected and interactive visit, where history will come alive through creative game and sensory experiences.

Sarlat: the town that will always surprise you.