Dordogne

And back to France we go – the next instalment of our summer holiday to the Dordogne (you can catch up on part one and two if you like).

We had one proper day trip out, having done some research before we went away on places that looked nice to visit, we decided to head towards Sarlat. I’d heard there was a seriously good market here, and there were a couple of little places along the river that looked nice, so we filled our bellies with sourdough spelt bread spread with honey and strawberries and off we went.

Sarlat

The market at Sarlat did not disappoint.  It was incredible!  I always worry “are we going to find the market?” when we head somewhere new, but you couldn’t miss Sarlat market, even if you weren’t looking for it, you would stumble across it on a wander around the town.  It goes on and on down the narrow winding streets, tumbling out into squares.

Sarlat market

Despite the tourists, Sarlat feels like it’s in a different age, the architecture is beautiful and very mediaeval feeling in places.

Sarlat architecture

Do you find when you visit a market there’s always one stall that captures you more than the others?  I do, and for me it was a lady selling what looked like a collection of her homegrown vegetables, lots of bundles of fresh herbs and bouquets of garden flowers.

Sarlat market garden stall

I could have happily bought her entire stall, why is it you never have enough room in your stomach when you’re abroad to eat everything you see? Instead, we bought bundles of chives, mint and thyme, and peas in their pods.

French market flowers

From an organic market stall in the same square we bought a collection of yellow courgettes and spring onions.

French market stall lettuces

We were tempted by a cheese stall (there were many to be tempted by!) and bout a cabecon goats cheese and a large piece of comte for my parents.

French cheese stall

A regional speciality that a number of stalls were selling was gateaux de noix. We sampled a few tasters and settled on a lovely dense, sweet and nutty version with an almost chocolate taste.

French gateaux de noix

As usual I was seduced by those stalls specialising in just one product – like the out-of-this-world vanilla stall!  We need one of these at my local market! The fragrance as you passed was so heady and mouth watering.

French market vanilla stall

Oh and the berries!  Everyone in France seem to go to so much effort to make their stalls look nice.

French market berries

French market strawberries

Even the restaurants had displays of local mushrooms and ferns outside, tempting you in to try their omelette aux cèpes.

French mushrooms

I love being abroad, everything looks pretty – even the car park.  There were these stunning tall hollyhocks growing near by…

French hollyhocks

Old French wooden garage

…and across a tiny stream by the car park was this lovely house and garden.  Just look at that chicken run!

Pretty Dordogne house

French chicken run

French town house and vegetable garden

After Sarlat we headed along the river to La Roque Gageac, which was pretty and we stopped briefly to take pictures.  Isn’t it romantic with the river boats and red poppies?

Dordogne river boats and poppies

It was beginning to spit with rain and we weren’t tempted by any of the places to eat, it was a bit too touristy.  But the main street was very picturesque, this line of honey coloured houses facing the river – it reminded me of Bibury near my home in the Cotswolds.

La Roque Gageac

La Roque Gageac

La Roque Gageac

I’m also so impressed by the apart dedication so many French have to front garden growing, even when they have some of the tiniest spaces.  These gardens look like they are growing out of the tarmac, and yet they are immaculate.

Pretty French front garden

Although this wasn’t the end of our day, I shall leave it here for now.  I’ll be back soon to share details of our lunch at Beynac and the hike up to the castle, and our visit to the Gardens of Marqueyssac.

All pictures are taken by me on my camera or phone.

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