While the quaint medieval town of Sarlat may be a congested madhouse in the height of summer, it makes a splendid home base in the off-season when many of the hotels and restaurants in smaller villages might be closed. Even in winter, a lively Saturday market fills the place de la Liberté and the radiating streets.
La Villa des Consuls
La Villa des Consuls has comfortable home base-type accommodations including apartments and sizable, well stocked rooms with a sitting area and kitchen items – fridge, coffee maker, micro wave and dishes. Their website includes pictures of all the rooms. They even have a communal laundry room (almost unheard of in France), free of charge, with 3 washers and matching driers, irons and ironing board.
Located on the northwest side of the old city center it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the large public parking lots on the north side of town. The owner, David, is personable and speaks great English. His goal was to create the kind of hotel he would want to stay in if he were traveling. He has certainly created the kind of place I want to stay in.
Le Bistro de l’Octroi has a casual friendly ambiance with a rustic décor – stone and brick walls, dark wood furniture and floors, and a splash of red.
The menu offers many of the same traditional local duck and goose dishes found at other restaurants in town, but also includes interesting alternatives, such as tripe and tête de veau (head of veal) – a gelatinous, flavorful slab (does not resemble a “head” at all) -served with pommes de terre sarladaise – potatoes cooked in duck fat with a sauce containing chunks of gherkin and boiled egg, making a deconstructed potato salad of sorts.
The grilled shrimp risotto – shrimp sweet and perfectly grilled on a bed of risotto with too much superfluous cream added for my tastes.
For dessert, an intensely lemony lemon tart.
La Ferme du 4 Saisons, a new sister restaurant and just next door to the more up-scale Le Quatre Saisons, this restaurant has a very casual style. One could even say barn like, hence the name La Ferme or the farm. Tables are cross sections of large trees, with “chairs” being mere tree stumps. The astroturf floor covering completes the somewhat hokey illusion that you are dining on an actual farm.
While the restaurant does offer a couple of prix-fixe traditional menu options we chose instead a selection from their tapas menu – tomato and pesto soup, a cèpes (mushrooms) and truffle brouillade (an kind of rich scrambled eggs served in a pâté pot), a lemony tuna, a salmon burrito and wedge fries. The menu also offers a number of ham and cheese choices. And for desert a crème brulée served in a squat pâté pot and a fragrant apple crumble. Over all dishes are interesting and well prepared and it offers a fun alternative to the numerous traditional restaurants in Sarlat.
February 16-18, 2013
For links to all the posts in this series see the Other Destinations in France page.