Rain and threatening skies came with us as we moved from St. Emilion to Sarlat-la-Caneda in the Dordogne Valley. We took the slower route, avoiding the main roads and traveling along the river. It was beautiful drive. There is much to explore in this region.
“Dordogne” is pronounced “Dohr-dohn-(nyuh),” the last syllable being minimally expressed. It is a Homer Simpson type of name. The most popular tourist destination in this department is the town of Sarlat-la-Caneda with its intact medieval quarter.
The town and the region seem to be favored by French tourists over the English speakers. (St. Emilion was the opposite. There were more English speakers, particularly North Americans, than French.) In any event, this is the English speakers loss. The Dordogne is quiet and peaceful with many chateaus commanding the river valley. It is a beautiful place to visit.
We had plans for our stay in Sarlat. Maybe we would bike ride on the extended bike path that follows the river. Or we would rent a canoe and paddle down the river. But the constant rainy weather altered our plans and we stayed close in to Sarlat and sorted out the web of back alleys, hidden sights, and, of course, the culinary offerings.
The food specialties of the region are foie gras, black truffles, and walnuts. We can assure you that these items are indeed very good. I’m not usually a fan of foie gras, but I found the lower grade duck foie gras served in the common restaurants to be very good. It’s more of an every day type of food. I’d actually seek it out.
Despite the rain, we saw enough of the Dordogne to make us eager to return. Visiting the chateaus and exploring the river valley by bike, car, and boat would take days. It would be a gentle adventure. But maybe next time we won’t stay in Sarlat. It’s not that we didn’t like Sarlat. We just completed a scrupulous search of the village. There’s not much new left for us to see.
We liked our room arrangements in Sarlat at Villa Consuls.