Sarlar is a medieval town from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The Abby was founded between 820 and 840 by Duke Pepin of Aquitaine. During the Hundred Years War, Sarlat was never taken by the English in spite of Donader, the traitor, who plotted to give up the town. He was caught, stitched up in a sack and thrown into the river Cuze.
In 1962, the Margaux Act was past in France. This law was concerned with restoration and reconstruction. Sarlat was chosen as one of the first towns to be restored and protected. Work done in 1964 revealed the vast extent of medieval and renaissance art.
We started our exploration with our guide Adrian Mialet in the goose market square. There is fine statue of three geese marking the old square. Further on we came to a strange structure called the graveyard lantern (Lanterne des Morts) near one side of the town cemetery. This building looks something like the green ‘pickle’ in London. It also has been described as a shell or rocket. It was built in the end of the 12th century (1100s) and the original use has been forgotten. The town’s coat of arms has a salamander on it. This salamander is like a dragon in that it breathes fire. I wonder if this is because salamanders often come out of logs on the fire in winter. There are lots of superstitions because of their hibernation in logs.
An interesting structural feature of the rooftops in the old town is their steepness. They are made from flat stones that are very heavy. The steepness of the roof decreases the amount of stone and thus the weight. There have been over 30 films shot in Sarlot and the surrounding area. It has become the third center for filming in France after Paris and Nice.
Sarlat is known for its foie gras. We had some several times, and also duck, another specialty.