The following day we set out for Sarlat, in the Dordogne. Loading the luggage into the car, we bid farewell to the wonderful staff at Hotel de Minimes and settled in for the drive.
The town of Sarlat has been around since Roman times, its fortunes waxing and waning over the centuries. It underwent significant restoration as recently as the 1980s, happily in a manner that retained much of its historical charm, and is perfectly situated to explore the Perigord Region.
We had rented two one-bedroom apartments at Le Porche de Sarlat. The GPS was very helpful until we got into the town itself, and then it had us driving around in circles for about 45 minutes as we tried to reach the address given in the listing material. We finally abandoned the car in frustration and set out on foot. The reason for the confusion quickly became evident. You can’t get there from here. Sarlat is closed to vehicular traffic within the city itself on most days; you can only get so close to the building via vehicle.
We knew we were very close. Asking directions from local merchants, we managed to locate the building and got our keys. We were delighted to discover two immaculate apartments in a building recently renovated to a very comfortable standard. We were situated within a courtyard adjacent to some small restaurants and shops, the sign for one is shown above. Very convenient. We unpacked, settled in, and then went out to forage for culinary necessities (wine may have been among the purchases) to tide us over until we could shop at the Saturday market for which the town is famous.
We explored the town a bit before reaching the Maison Dupeliac, where we had made reservations for dinner.
The region is famous for several things, but “duck central” is probably the best description. Foie gras, confit, magret, roasted, you name it. Duck in every form.
The Saturday market certainly lived up to its reputation. Being springtime, the asparagus (green and white) and strawberries were at their prime (who knew there were six kinds of strawberries?), and we eagerly added them to our shopping baskets. Stunning displays of delicious tapenade, olives, jams, sausages, fish, meats and cheeses, and of course, foie gras, tempted us. A giant paella represented “French takeaway”. The vegetable market had freshly steamed beets – amazing! After several days of restaurant meals, we were looking forward to preparing some simpler fare back at the apartment. The piece de resistance was duck confit, already prepared, and available for 4€ each. We bought four.
I couldn’t resist the lilacs. The season is so short, and they were incredibly fragrant.
Back at the ranch, we prepared lunch. It was delicious.
That evening we enjoyed the duck confit, served with with potatoes roasted in some of the surplus duck fat, and steamed green asparagus. Simple to prepare, absolutely marvellous. Bon appetit!