Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sarlat Market and Castelnaud

We hadn't meant to go to the Saturday market at Sarlat.  We planned to sleep in late, find some breakfast nearby and meet Steve at our hotel for our afternoon tour of a large castle and its weapons collection.

 But when we got in our car to go find breakfast we somehow ended up in the Sarlat market traffic.  After crawling trough it for a while we suddenly saw a parking space and grabbed it.  We had just an hour until we met Steve, so we went fast, well as fast as you can go in a French market, which isn't very fast.

You don't just grab your selection and pay. You must browse, taste, and actually interact with the salesperson.  This is true in all dealing with merchants; you treat them as real people and enjoy your momentary connection with them.  It's different, but it's quite nice.

We bought our breakfast at the market and ate it picnic style at our hotel.  Then on to our tour of Castelnaud, one of the several large castles which dominant the Dordogne river valley.

It was BIG!

It as very enjoyable to visit as it had great views of the surrounding area, lots of weapons, including big siege engines, and many hidden and unexpectedly spaces to explore.  


Last night was our last in Sarlat, as we are driving to Orange today.  We ate at an auberge, or country restaurant, near Baynac, a picturesque town with its own huge castle, and then enjoyed the fireworks which Sarlat set off at 11:00 to celebrate Bastille Day.   Our hotel is perfectly situated to see them, as it sits on a hill right above the launch zone.   

Too close, as a matter of fact, for "security," we were told when we tried to drive up our driveway only to find it blocked by Gendarmes.  For a desperate few minutes it appeared that we couldn't "go home" until the fireworks were over, but after a show of our hotel key along with cries of being tourists and making the sign for sleep, the nice policeman let us through.  Whew!

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