Things to do in
Sarlat-la-Canéda

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Our most recommended things to do in Sarlat-la-Canéda

From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

1. From Sarlat-la-Canéda: Lascaux IV and Cave Art Full-Day Tour

Dordogne is the world capital of prehistory. Here, Cro Magnon, the first early modern humans, settled and left some of the most fascinating artwork inside caves created by thousands of years of erosion. This 8-hour tour will take you to the most famous caves at Lascaux, and to admire the drawings and etchings of Rouffignac Cave. The tour begins at Les Eyzies de Tayac, where the first 5 skeletons of the Cro-Magnons were discovered in 1868. You will take a guided tour of the National Prehistory Museum, which opened in 2004, and possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world. Continue to Montignac, where you will visit the famous Lascaux IV Cave. A perfect reproduction of the original cave and its cave art, Lascaux IV opened in 2016 as a triumph of technology, unique in the world. Rigorous scientific and artistic methods were used to recreate the incomparable atmosphere of the original cave. A reinforced concrete shell was created using shipbuilding techniques, and the relief of the cave was reconstituted down to the tiniest detail. The polychromatic paintings were executed just as the originals were 17, 000 years ago, using natural pigments. End your tour at Rouffignac Cave, to see original etchings and drawings. The Renaissance poet and author François de Belleforest mentioned the Rouffignac Cave as long ago as 1575 in his “Cosmographie Universelle.” The cave paintings proved a popular tourist attraction back in the 19th-Century. Famous archaeologists, such as Henry Breuil, André Glory, and Martel, had visited the cave in the early 20th-Century, but it was only in 1956 that 2 historians from the Pyrenees confirmed the cave art as from the Upper Paleolithic period. Rouffignac Cave, which had once served as a shelter for Resistance fighters in World War 2, was officially opened to the public in 1959, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

2. Beynac & Domme villages - Dordogne boat ride

Drive to the beautiful village of Domme. With its trapezoid city plan, Domme is a bastide (a fortified medieval town) adapted to the surrounding terrain, and thus falling short of the rectangular city plan characteristic to bastides. The village is classified as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" ("The Most Beautiful Villages of France"). In 1307, Knight Templars were imprisoned in Domme while during the Hundred Years' War, the bastide was coveted by the English who first took the town in 1347 and repeatedly changed rulers throughout the war until 1437 when it finally fell under French rule again. Then drive to La Roque Gageac and enjoy a peaceful cruise on the the Dordogne River on board an authentic Gabarre to admire mighty castles that line the river. Finally, reach Beynac to admire the village and the Castle. This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River. The castle was built from the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Périgord) to close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defences were built up on the plateau: double crenellated walls, double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican.

Sarlat: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

3. Sarlat: Half-Day Skip-the-Line Lascaux IV Tour

Discover the brand new Lascaux IV International Center of Parietal Art. The museum itself is a triumph of modern technology: unlike any other cave visits, Lascaux 4 employs different set designs, displays, state-of-the-art interactive workshops and immersive technology to bring it to life. For the very first time, all of Lascaux Cave will be revealed. This new center features an interactive gallery experience that blends art, history, and culture with intelligence and sensitivity. At the heart of the experience, you will discover a life-size, state-of-the-art facsimile cave that reveals the wonders of Lascaux as they were first seen. In 2018, the museum was listed in Time Magazine’s "100 Greatest Places to Visit", saying “The Snohetta-designed complex features some 600 prehistoric paintings and 1,000 engravings, all painstakingly re-created by a team of two dozen artists working from physical castings and advanced 3D digital scans or the original artwork”. Following your visit and some time for personal discovery, the tour will also take you along the Vezere Valley, where you will stop in Les Eyzies and Saint Léon village.

Sarlat Gourmet Tour & Market Visit with Tastings

4. Sarlat Gourmet Tour & Market Visit with Tastings

Welcome to Sarlat, one of the most fascinating small towns of France. Take a tour on market day and follow your guide through the winding streets and stroll through the colorful stalls as he introduces you to local delicacies. In addition, discover all the main sites the town has to offer including the Lantern of the Dead, Saint Sacerdos Cathedral, Saint Mary church and covered market, the house of La Boétie and so much more. The Dordogne is world-renowned for its traditional gastronomy. High quality products used to prepare local cuisine include foie gras, duck and goose dishes, the famous black truffles of the Périgord, chestnuts, walnuts (which have been awarded their own AOC Label) and Périgord strawberries. Learn about the Bergerac and Monbazillac wines (13 of which are AOC) which are produced from top grape varities that are neighbors to the Grands Crus Classés of Bordeaux. Your tour will include stops where you will tast delicious specialities of the region including duck, cheese, walnuts and wine. It's the perfect way to explore the tastes of the area and learn more about Sarlat and the Dordogne.

Salignac-Eyvigues: Gardens of Eyrignac Manor Entry Ticket

5. Salignac-Eyvigues: Gardens of Eyrignac Manor Entry Ticket

Immerse yourself in a verdant haven with this admission ticket to the Gardens of Eyrignac Manor in Salignac-Eyvigues. Make finding your way around the vast gardens easy with a map in 6 different languages. Get access two nature trails so you can see the flora and fauna of the Dordogne region. Take a stroll through hornbeam, yew, boxwood, and cypress trees that offer different views in each season. Discover the unique collection of topiaries (shaped plants) in the French garden. Walk through the white rose, kitchen, and the flower gardens. Marvel at views of the hills from the white garden. Have the chance to walk through the picturesque oak forest. The garden and the 17th-century manor are classified as historical monuments and have been in the same family for over 500-years. Enjoy access to the Botanical Paths which are comprised of two nature trails of 2.5 and 4.5 kilometers.

From Sarlat: Rocamadour Half-Day Tour

6. From Sarlat: Rocamadour Half-Day Tour

Climb aboard a comfortable van in Sarlat and after a 1-hour trip punctuated by photo stops through the majestic landscapes of the Dordogne Valley, you will reach Rocamadour. Rocamadour is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in France, built in a vertiginous setting against a cliff face nestled in the heart of the Alzou canyon, a thousand-year-old historic UNESCO site. During this guided tour you will learn about the legends at the origin of this sacred place. After crossing the main street of the village, you will discover the sanctuary and its chapels by climbing the 216 steps of the Grand Pilgrim's Staircase (elevator also available). You will admire the miraculous chapel and its black virgin, the sarcophagus of St. Amadour dug into the rock of the cliff, and the legendary sword Durandal. On the way back, you will cross the majestic and wild landscapes of the Causses du Quercy and make a stop to visit a unique place either the Cougnaguet medieval watermill or Souillac Romanesque church.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Dordogne Valley Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

7. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Dordogne Valley Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

Discover the great sites of the "Golden Triangle" on this unique sightseeing tour with live commentary. After meeting in Sarlat-la-Canéda it's only a short drive to the Dordogne Valley, where you'll visit many fascinating historic sites. Admire Richard the Lionheart's castle at Beynac, and stop at the foot of Castelnaud Castle, an impressive fortress occupied by the English during the Hundred Years' War. Then take a guided tour of La Roque Gageac, one of the most beautiful villages in France, built into the cliffs along the Dordogne river. Afterwards, continue to the hilltop village of Domme for breathtaking panoramic views over the surrounding area. Walk around the village to get a feel for the local atmosphere.  Visit an incredible troglodytic chapel built in a cave and stop at the medieval village of Montfort and its castle, built in the 11th century. Stop at a romanesque church from the 12th century, built on an ancient site of Celtic worship, before returning to Sarlat-la-Canéda.

From Sarlat: Padirac Chasm and Rocamadour Day Trip

8. From Sarlat: Padirac Chasm and Rocamadour Day Trip

Begin your journey of the Lot Region at Sarlat’s central Place Pasteur, where you will be greeted by your English-speaking guide who will take care of you throughout the day. Head straight to the Padirac Chasm, or Cave, the region’s most iconic natural underground reservoir of water, and second longest chasm network in the world after the Sac Actun in Yucatán province in Mexico. There, your guide will take you down into the network of underground caves and rivers for a boat ride and a walk. Look up to admire the gigantic limestone stalactites and stalagmites adorning the walls and marvel at the magnificent crystal-clear blue waters beneath you. Next, head to the dramatic clifftop village of Rocamadour, a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its complex of religious buildings, and medieval houses. Enjoy free time here to see its splendid castle, churches, sanctuaries, and magnificent towers. Depending on when you arrive at the village, either enjoy a relaxed hilltop lunch (not included in the price of the tour) at one of the many restaurants offering stunning panoramic views of the Alzou Canyon beneath you or go on a walking tour of the village with your guide and learn about the rich history of the region.

Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

9. Sarlat-la-Canéda: Cave and Castle Tour

Get in touch with your primeval nature as you discover some of the oldest relics of prehistory. Your tour begins with a thorough demonstration of techniques used by Paleolithic humans to make fire, to illuminate the dark caves in which they lived, and to paint.  After getting a taste of prehistoric life, you’ll head in to the chilly, dark caves to gaze upon cave paintings that date back over 30,000 years. Marvel at the evidence of a bygone culture that existed before civilization began. Wander through the caves, gazing at the veritable forests of stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.  After viewing the cave, you’ll discover a beautiful, hilltop medieval castle, before heading back to the meeting point, enriched by millennia of history.

Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

10. Bordeaux to Dordogne: Castles & Villages Private Tour

Enjoy a private full-day tour of Dordogne and discover the history of the King’s Musketeers, learn about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and visit prehistoric cave paintings. After the pick-up from your hotel in Bordeaux, Sarlat, Limoges, Toulouse, Agen Bergerac, or elsewhere nearby, you will head off on an exciting day filled with history, magnificent panoramic vistas, the finest gastronomy, and wine tasting. Whatever you desire can be incorporated into this private tailor-made tour. One of the places you can visit on this tour is Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, a lovely town which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site partly because of its proximity to the famous Lascaux Caverns and partly because of the newer site of Grottes de Cougnac. Here you can visit the caves and see the original art. Les Eyzies is also home to the National Prehistoric Museum. You also have the option of visiting Sarlat-la-Canéda, one of the most attractive and alluring medieval towns in south-western France. The town was developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. Its town center of impeccably restored stone buildings – now a pedestrian zone – is perhaps the most representative of 14th century France. Discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Château de Rocamadour – perched up high on the side of a gorge of one of the Dordogne River’s tributaries, famous for its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can also explore the Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, with magnificent views over the landscape. Among other castles you can visit is the Château de Beynac, one of the best preserved and best known castles in the Dordogne region. Its austere appearance perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town on the north bank of the Dordogne River over the sheer cliff face. It boasts double crenelated walls, double barbican, and double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine. Another castle to visit is the Château des Milandes, once the home of the Josephine Baker, an American dancer, singer, and actress who found fame in her adopted homeland of France. Josephine Baker and her husband renovated this beautiful castle, installing central heating, electricity, and running water. They lived here with 12 adopted children from 9 different nationalities to create what they tenderly call the “World Village”. You can also explore Domme, another typically charming Bastide village built on the cliffs overhanging the Dordogne River. It was here that many of the Kinghts Templar were imprisoned and you can still see some of their graffiti on the tower gates. Another option on this tour is to visit the Jardins de Marqueyssac, an amazing garden filled with topiary creation and a picturesque promenade with panoramic views over the Dordogne River. Visit the Eyrignac gardens, the French garden inspired by the 18th century Italian design. They were entirely modified into an English romantic garden in the 19th century. On this private tour you also have the possibility of visiting Chateau de Commarque, Chateau de Jumilhac, Monpazier, Puymartin, Eyrignac, Monbazillac, La Roque Gageac, Montfort, and Salignac.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sarlat-la-Canéda

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What people are saying about Sarlat-la-Canéda

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 123 reviews

This was an excellent trip! Benoit has good knowledge of the area, both currently and also for historical information! He gave us information clearly on the towns, and made sure we didn’t get lost. The river trip on the Dordogne was refreshing and informative. I truly enjoyed this trip.

Our guide was informative and friendly. It is a bit disappointing not to be able to see the "real" cave paintings, but certainly understandable. Great care has been taken to give a realistic simulation of the actual cave. An amazing morning. Would highly recommend.

An exceptional tour full of history and interesting sites. Our guide Maarten had excessive knowledge of the history of the region. A long and very rewarding day.

Fantastic time in Sarlat. Martin was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend this tour

The price was exorbitant. Mitigated by excellent guide.