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Best things to do in Sarlat-la-Caneda

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Where in the world: Europe  /  France  /  Nouvelle-Aquitaine  /  Dordogne  /  Sarlat-la-Caneda

Top 15 things to do in Sarlat-la-Caneda

2. Les Noyeraies du Landers

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Chateau de Castelnaud, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

Overlooking the Dordogne River, the restored medieval fortress Chateau de Castelnaud contains a popular museum of medieval warfare featuring actual-size reconstructions of siege catapults and other war machines. Climbing to the top of the fortress offers you magnificent views of the Châteaux of Beynac and Marqueyssac, as well as the medieval village La Roque-Gageac. Inside, find a unique private collection of arms and armor as well as furniture from the period. Models and videos explain the medieval château’s methods of attack and defense. Kids can rescue someone imprisoned in the château in a fun computer game. Tours are available in English, and a guidebook in English is available for free with purchase of your ticket. Evening theatrical performances are also offered at select times.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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Tours including Chateau de Castelnaud:
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4. Cite Religieuse, Rocamadour

Set halfway up a cliff in the Alzou canyon, Cite Religieuse can be reached by walking up Grand Escalier stairway or by paying a nominal fee to take an elevator down. Visitors who take the elevator miss the landing 140 steps up, which has a fine view of this fort. At the top, see the 11th-century Place St. Amadour, paved with white stone and surrounded by 7 chapels set inside 12th-century buildings, including St. Sauveur Basilica, St. Amadour crypt, and the chapel of Notre-Dame, with its famous statue of the Black Madonna. Don’t miss the superbly intact frescoes from the 12th century in the Romanesque St. Michel chapel, which is built into the cliff face.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Chateau des Milandes, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

In 1489, Chateau des Milandes was the main residence for the lords of Caumont. Today, it is best known as the former home of entertainer Josephine Baker, who restored this "Sleeping Beauty" castle in the late 1940s. Tour parts of the castle for a glimpse into Baker's intriguing life, walk through the bucolic gardens, or take in a Birds of Prey show that features some of the best fliers in the castle's falconry.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, Vezac

Considered a Notable Garden of France by the French Ministry of Culture, Les Jardins de Marqueyssac has 150,000 boxwood trees carved in groups of rounded shapes, such as flocks of sheep. Stroll through the romantic 19th-century garden along 5 km (3 mi) of walks, and view rustic structures, water descending from the belvedere and ending in a cascade, and much more. The garden is part of the 17th-century Château de Marqueyssac, built on cliffs overlooking the Dordogne Valley and continually updated until the second half of the 20th century when it was rarely occupied. Beginning in 1996, owner Kleber Rossillon restored the gardens and opened them to the public.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Chateau de Beynac, Beynac-et-Cazenac

One of the best-preserved and best-known castles in the region--and a location for films such as several films, including "Ever After" (1998) and "Chocolat" (2000)--Chateau de Beynac was built in the 12th century. Perched atop a limestone cliff for defensive purposes, it's been included on the French Ministry of Culture's Historic Monuments list since 1944. Restored in 1962 by Lucien Grosso, highlights include rich tapestries with scenes from the lives of the castle 's former medieval residents.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Lascaux II, Montignac

Lascaux II features replicas of the famed Lascaux Cave's 17,000-year-old Paleolithic paintings, which are only 200 m (650 ft) away. Discovered in 1940 and opened to the public in 1948, the original cave attracted 1,200 visitors a day. By 1955, carbon dioxide and light had begun to damage the paintings. In 1963, the cave was shut down to preserve the art. The museum opened in 1983. Look for a replica of the cave's Great Hall of Bulls and the Painted Gallery.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Roque Saint-Christophe Fort et Cite Troglodytiques, Peyzac-le-Moustier

Roque Saint-Christophe Fort et Cite Troglodytiques, a 1 k (.5 mi) long and 80 m (87 yd) high limestone cliff in Dordogne, has housed settlements since 55,000 BCE. Five layers of terraces and caves have been naturally carved into the cliff by frost and the Vezere river below. You can scale the cliffs and roam among these settlements, which date from the days of cavemen up through the Renaissance. Explore on your own, or ask for a naturalist to guide you.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Sarlat Market

The open-air Sarlat Market has been a renowned shopping draw since the Middle Ages. Snap up deals on fruits, vegetables, soaps, fabrics, and more, or grab a seat at a cafe and soak up the scenery. You can buy arts and crafts at the indoor market.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Le Gouffre de Proumeyssac, Audrix

Called the crystal cathedral, Le Gouffre de Proumeyssac is a cavern filled with intricate crystal formations alongside breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites.

Enter the cavern via tunnel--or, for a fee, you can be lowered into it in a basket, just like the early explorers. Try to catch the dramatic light and music show that focuses on some of the amazing formations, which are nicknamed the waterfall, siren, jellyfish, and octopus.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Gouffre de Padirac, Padirac

Grab comfortable shoes and a warm sweater to explore Gouffre de Padirac, a 33-m (108-ft) wide natural chasm that's 13 C (55 F) all year long. After you descend 103 m (994 ft) using the elevator, lifts, and staircases, you'll board a boat on the the subterranean river for a 500 m (1,640 ft) ride. At Rain Lake, resume your tour of the Great Caves on foot, past formations wrought by a millennia of erosion from flowing water. The caves and surrounding parks are family friendly, with children's activities, a picnic site, a restaurant, a park, and a gift shop. To avoid long lines, book advanced tickets online for admission, the tour, and elevator access.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. The Maison Forte de Reignac, Tursac

The Maison Forte de Reignac is France's only completely intact cliff castle. In this well-kept and fully furnished, structure, you'll find examples of life in the Middle Ages. An exhibit on the prehistoric inhabitants of the area shows what life was like before the castle came to be. Another exhibit offers a look into torture and capital punishment with 60 devices, etchings, and paintings. .
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Eyrignac et ses Jardins en Dordogne, Salignac-Eyvigues

Designated a Remarkable Garden by the Ministry of Culture, Eyrignac et ses Jardins en Dordogne regularly wows visitors with its geometrically shaped flora. Look for a variety of tree and flower species, especially yew, boxwood, and cypress. Created in the 18th century to mimic the gardens outside an Italian villa (with some French twists) the oasis has been restored recently by its owners--members of the family who've owned the property for the last 500 years.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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