For me, last Saturday was one of the more particularly memorable days of the trip. Across France, we have visited some truly incredible places, but my favorite by far has been Sarlat. The town is adorable, my roommates were awesome, and the general atmosphere there is very pleasant— if I had the chance, I don’t think I would leave! While all 72 hours of our time there was great, I think our first full day really exemplified the nature of this town.
Our day on Saturday started off late, because we were given “free time” to explore the town until mid-afternoon; naturally, this started with a sleep-in, which has been rare on this trip. In Sarlat, there are outdoor marketplaces throughout the entirety of the downtown area each Wednesday and Saturday morning, so we got to spend the morning immersed in the local culture. Up and down the streets, vendors set up large tents, selling everything from jewelry and clothing, to fresh fruits and meats; duck is a local specialty, so many stands were selling fois gras and other pâtes. Armed with allotted lunch money and my french conversational skills, I wandered the streets observing all that Sarlat had to offer, and I was not disappointed. In the end, I purchased a carton of strawberries and some pork gyoza (delicious, albeit non-French), as well as nougat for my mother.
That afternoon, after about an short break to recover from the marketplace, our Piette family ventured to the ruins of a faux-castle, called “le Chateau de Commarque”. The structure is quite broken down, but was once a fortified community of towers, inhabited by a multitude of individual families. The structure is layered in three parts: at its base, there are caves with prehistoric paintings (which we weren’t allowed to see). The middle layer are troglodyte dwellings, and the upper portion is the collection of towers. While we all enjoyed the free wifi at the establishment, the experience was at Commarque was also extremely educational, and laid the foundation for our following castle excursions.