Arrondissement de Sarlat-la-Canéda

Here you’ll find travel reports about Arrondissement de Sarlat-la-Canéda. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

29 travelers at this place:

  • Day131

    We left the beaches and pine forests at Arachon and took the train through Bordeaux to a little town, Le Lardine-St-Lazare, on the Vezere River.  We knew it was an area of limestone, and that there were caves of all sorts there and, liking caves, it seemed a good fit for us.  The Vezere and Dordogne Rivers are steeped in history, starting with Cro-Magnum people from 50,000 years ago.  We went to Montigac and the Lascaux Caves which have been described as the Sistene Chaple of pre-historic art.  They had been sealed off by a slide 17,000 years ago, and were only discovered by 4 boys in 1948.  In the 20 years they were open moisture and Carbon dioxide from visitors took their toll, so they closed the originals and you now visit a brand new reproduction that you would never know you were not the original caves painted 20,000 years ago.  Marty of course spent seveal hours biking around the hills looking for new caves.  On one of our "unloaded rides" we discovered a 1000 year old abbey in St-Amand de Coly.  The dome of the chaple is a hundred feet above you, and the limestone blocks of the floor are uneven and worn by a thousand footsteps.  We didn't think we could see any more stunning buildings, but this one was our favorite.  The Roque St Christophe a bit down the road is a troglodytic site, or a cliff dwelling, that was lived in from 55,000 years ago, and was inhabited in the Middle Ages up to the Rennaissance.  The caves extend for over a kilometer high up on the limestone cliffs above the river, and they were an easy place to keep track of enemies coming up river, like the Vikings.  Scouts could actually hide in cliffs all along the river and call to each other transmitting a message of invaders fourty kilometers in six minutes.  Riding through this area, every turn was another chateau up on a hill, with the medieval villages down below.  It would be an interesting canoe trip to go on for a week.  However, I think it would be nuts in this region in the summer if the number of canoes at the outfitters is any indication.  We rode up a really steep, but short hill to the Chateau de Castelnaud that was built in the 12th century and renovated in the early 70's.  There were displays of Medieval armoury and weapons, complete with real sized trebuches.  We stayed in a campground in Beynac, in the shadow of the cliffs upon which the Castle Beynac was built (where Richard the Lionhearted scaled an impossible wall).  These two castles were on the line defended by the French and English in the Hundred Years War, with Castelnaud changing hands seven times between them.  Joan of Arc came by here, as did many of the other big names, and this is just one small fragment of the history of this region. 

    We balanced out the human history, and took in some natural history at the Gouffre de Proumeyssac.  It is another fun story of discovery where people had used the hole at the surface since the middle ages as a garbage dump and even by bandits to dump bodies.  Finally in 1907 a shaft sinker was lowered in to see what was really there.  I can't imagine going down by candlelight!  We went down in a basket into the 40 m cavern (it is huge) and it was pretty amazing.  There are stalactites and stalagmites all around the edges, and several "waterfalls" of calcium carbonate over the ledges.  They do a funky light show, including turning off all the lights, and they make a ton of cash doing it, but it is well done.  Our camping in this area was pretty delux, with swimming pools, and we managed to sweet talk a table at each site.  The day we passed the sign at Suillac, our last official day of touring, Caleb let out a great shout and we had a party that night.  He was proud of himself, but definitely done with bike touring!  Finally we got on a train in Suillac and headed north to Paris. 
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  • Day22

    Oh my god

    June 5 in France

    Last night we could hear very heavy rain outside our hotel and in the morning it had reduced to drizzle so I folded the very wet tonneau and put up the hood. Within a few minutes of starting of the rain began to fall harder and harder until it was bouncing off the road and I had to slow down to be able to see road ahead. It stayed like that for two hours. Thankfully the hood is very good and the side deflectors I added to the screen stopped most of it coming in so we continued without the side windows. Breakfast was bought from the supermarket before we set off and eaten in the car as it was raining too hard to stay out of the car for more than a few seconds. Eventually the rain relented to on and off drizzle so we stopped and had a kabab sandwich and a coffee. Mandy's left sleeve of her jacket was wet and so was my right one. The afternoon was better weather but the hood stayed up. At lunch we decided on a destination for the night and set of towards it only to see the sky darken again and more torrential rain hit us. The car was great it never faultered.
    We arrived without booking at this lovely place and I drove the car straight into the sheltered garage then asked for a room. Take a look at the pictures it really is nice. After a rest we walked the 2 kilometers into town and had a look around. The restaurant we ended up in was fantastic. The owner noticed we were hurrying to finish when thunder roared close by. He insisted we take our time and gave us a lift in his car back to the hotel. What a nice man. As I write it is raining very hard again but I am not bothered as our little car is nice and snug and dry, and so are we!
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  • Day421

    Day 422: Lascaux Caves

    April 12 in France

    Super long day today. Left home around 10am, heading east again into the countryside towards one of France's most famous sites - Lascaux. It's part of a larger series of decorated caves and prehistoric sites in the area, but Lascaux's cave paintings are by far the most famous.

    Obviously you can't go into the actual cave any more, as it was closed off in the 1960s when they realised how damaging tourism was to the paintings. A replica cave was built right next door, and now just down the hill is another replica, much larger and more modern, with a high-tech discovery centre as well.

    Unfortunately for us, the next English tour wasn't until 2:30pm so we had basically two hours to kill. We ate our baguettes in the car, filmed the outside of the centre a bit, and drove a few minutes up the road to where the original cave entrance is/was. It's pretty hidden behind a few and some bushes, but you can still just espy it through the trees.

    Finally it was our turn and I'm happy to report that the tour was really good. Not quite as good as the one at Pont d'Arc, as this was a larger group and you could easily notice the other groups in front and behind, so it sort of felt like a bit of a procession. Plus you can't take photos inside, but when I saw how crowded it was I realised it was basically to keep the groups moving.

    A good experience all up. From there we went to the discovery centre, where they have replicas of the replicas and you can photograph those to your heart's content, so we did! Lots of interesting information on display in multiple languages, but it was heavily populated with schoolkids so we beat a hasty retreat. There was also a movie presentation about how findings have developed our understanding of prehistoric humans, followed by a 3D movie about the paintings themselves which was again quite interesting - though I find 3D things quite gimmicky.

    Last stop was the VR simulation, where you could put on some VR goggles and walk around inside the cave. That was really cool, though I felt very sick after a few minutes - VR is definitely not for me!

    Finally by 5pm it was home time; a two hour drive back to Bordeaux so we didn't get back until nearly 7pm - pretty late by our standards. And poor Schnitzel had spent most of the day in the car!
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  • Day18

    Gothic Walking Tour

    April 12, 2017 in France

    The day I arrived in Barcelona I went on an afternoon walking tour of the Gothic region of the city. I have found these walking tours a great way to get orientated and you can ask the guides for tips for the rest of your visit. Alex our guide was an immigrant (as all my guides have been so far) from Ireland and was both amusing and interesting.

    There is much of the ancient Roman walls and building still left in this area but many of them have been added to over the centuries as wars and revolutions changed their purpose. Attitudes to different religious buildings changed as well with many destroyed.

    The guides take you to hidden places sometimes and one we went to was the secluded Cloisters of the Barcelona Cathedral. They were completed in the 14th century and in the middle is the "Fountain of the Geese', the fountain and pond that provide a home to 13 white geese. The sound of the loud cackling of the geese can be heard throughout and they warned of intruders and thieves. The number is symbolic of the story that Saint Eulàlia was 13 when she was martyred and she suffered 13 tortures.
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  • Day17

    Surrounded by sunflower fields, had a 5 hour drive cross country to get here, me as pilot. Stressful for is all but amazing to get here and can't wait to get in the river tomorrow, hire a boat and jump off is the plan. So busy compared to our last few places.

  • Day24

    The river castle route

    August 19, 2016 in France

    River + stone bridge = a castle on the rock overlooking both. Just breathtaking. Around every bend there is one. If you are ever in this part of France rent a canoo and just go for it. Now look at them pictures ;)

  • Day8

    The nightingale last night was as loud and insistent as a car alarm.

    Early away at 7:15 to avoid the heat.

    Straight into Periguex for breakfast 2 and to top up on fruit in the market. Delightful descent for 20 km into Eyzies, then a potter along to Sarlat to camp.

    Route I'm following was provided by Saddle Skedaddle - interesting to spot their tour backup van in town, for fully supported cyclists.Read more

  • Day10


    September 27, 2017 in France

    Campsite Le Paradis
    Top quality eco friendly campsite mindful of our well-being ( that is what the pamphlet says ) and I don't doubt that they mean it. This is achieved through well established gardens and plants providing a peaceful and tranquil environment. With there large well laid out pitches it seems to work.
    La Roque Saint Christophe is just a short stroll along the river bank from the campsite but unfortunately it is on the wrong side of the river so you will have to go back and hire their electric car if you want to visit the "Fort & Cite troglodytiques".Read more

  • Day10

    Le gouffre de Padirac et Rocamadour

    September 12, 2016 in France

    Levé à 8h00 ce matin, nous avions nos billets pour aller au fond du gouffre de Padirac. Alors jus d'orange et café puis, une bonne douche et on se met en route car on en a pour 1 heure avant d'arriver.

    Le gps nous fait passer par des minis routes de campagne tellement étroites par endroit qu'il est impossible de passer 2 de large. En plus, la route est une succession de courbes alors il faut rester bien concentré sur la route.

    On arrive finalement à Padirac et on se stationne. On prend les manteaux car il fait froid au fond d'un trou de plus de 300 pieds de profond ! Lorsqu'on arrive devant l'entrée du gouffre, la vision du puit qui descend dans les entrailles de la terre est saisissante ! On voit les ascenseurs et les escaliers qui descendent au fond et on réalise qu'on sera un bout de temps sans voir la lumière du jour...

    Comme on est une demi heure en avance, on a le temps d'un croissant et d'un capuccino au resto d'en face et ça fait du bien !

    Voilà, c'est l'heure d'aller visiter le gouffre ! On se présente à l'entré et on a le choix entre 454 marches ou l'ascenseur. On y va pour l'ascenseur, on est vacances après tout ! Il y a 3 sections d'ascenseurs pour descendre au fond et une fois là, on marche dans une cavité qui n'a rien de particulier à observer. En fait, ce n'est qu'un sentier qui nous mène à l'embarcadère où on monte dans une petite chaloupe en aluminum, 8 personnes à la fois et un type est debout à l'arrière avec une rame et nous mène le long d'une rivière souterraine d'une centaine de pieds et tout à coup, on débouche sur une grande salle avec une immense stalactite et un mini port pour accoster. C'est la vraie visite qui commence et évidemment, photos interdites, tabarnac...

    On voit des ruisseaux, des stalactites, stalagmites et des voutes qui sont immenses ! Le parcours à pieds dure environ 20 minutes et il y a des escaliers à profusion. Ça pompait l'huile dans le groupe !

    On revient ensuite à la chaloupe qui nous ramènera vers l'ascenseur. Impressionant par la taille mais les cavernes de Luray qu'on avait visiter aux USA avec les enfants étaient plus jolies.

    En sortant, Lyne est tellement trempe de sueur qu'elle a de la misère à enlever son manteau ! Mouillée comme si elle sortait de la piscine... Elle explique ça par un peu de claustrophobie...

    On retourne au resto en face pour se taper un burger presqu'aussi gros que le gouffre ! Il était quand même bon.

    On reprend la route pour aller voir Rocamadour qui est perchée sur la falaise et qui est sur la route de compostelle.

    On s'arrête d'abord à la cité qui offre un beau point de vue sur le château et la cathédrale et on fait quelques clichés. On retourne au camion et cette fois, direction le château.

    Bon, il faut payer chaque fois qu'on prend un ascenseur mais considérant toutes les marches qu'on évite, ça vaut le prix quand il fait 36 degrés C comme aujourd'hui !

    On est charmé par la beauté de l'église et du village, même s'il y a plus de boutiques que de maisons habitées. On fait le tour et une fois bien mouillés de sueur, on décide de revenir à l'appart pour se pitcher dans la piscine. En chemin, on s'arrêtera faire une petite commande parce qu'n'a pas pu hier, c'était fermé alors on a dû souper aux oeufs à la coque car c'est tout ce qu'on avait pour accompagner notre Saint-Estèphe...

    À la piscine, on rencontre Béatrice, notre proprio, qu'on n'avait pas encore vu depuis notre arrivée. Très gentille, elle nous donne des scoops sur les choses à voir dans le coin et une bouteille de bière que son mari fabrique de manière artisanale.

    Pendant que j'écris ce blogue, Lyne est restée à la piscine pour jaser avec les français qui y sont arrivés. Tout à fait elle ! C'est pour ça que je l'aime ma rougette !!!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement de Sarlat-la-Canéda, Arrondissement de Sarlat-la-Caneda

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