Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Sarlat French Country

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When one thinks of France,
is usually the city that comes to mind.

Indeed, for some people that is the
only French city that comes to their minds.

Yet, travel to small towns such as
is how one comes 
to know France and
to understand better what
French Country embodies.

Sarlat began in the VIIIth century, and,
over the years, has alternately prospered and declined.

The old city is designated by France as a
Villes d’Art et d’Histoire 
and is considered one of the 
beautiful cities of Europe by Michelin Guide.

Sarlat's old city was saved from ruin and destruction because 
the modernization in the early 20th century that 
destroyed other French old cities 
bypassed Sarlat.

The old town retained its cobblestone streets and
honey-colored stone buildings with their
tile roofs and architectural details.

Only since restoration began in 1962,
has Sarlat's economy improved once again.

Rain does not deter shoppers for each Saturday's
open air market in Sarlat's streets during the summer.

Today the town has many shops that offer new and old items
that reflect what we Americans call French Country style.
Part of the joy of shopping in Sarlat is seeing the old
buildings that house the shops.
I could spend days in each one, examining all the
details of the stonework walls, wooden beams,
wide-plank floors, and window designs.

While French decor is part of French Country style,
French Country is more than a decorating style.
It is a way of life.

Sarlat is French Country.
Trefoil windows, exterior metal lanterns, decorative ironwork,
stone buildings, exterior shutters, French doors,
old stone benches, balconies....

In addition to the French Country architecture
are the French Country ways of life.
Window boxes filled with flowers so beauty is present
in sight, sound, scent...
Sculpted trees lovingly tended with care
by hand over a period of years to shape each one...
Ivy growing on the walls to soften the
stone's harsh edges and to provide shelter for birds...

See, the door is ajar on the balcony.
In your mind's eye...
Can you see a woman about to walk out onto
the flower-filled balcony to cut a few flowers for the dining table?
Smiling, humming a song,
carefully choosing just the perfect blossoms,
and her dress swaying as she twirls around to
return inside...

Ah, we just missed the older man wearing a
black beret and shirt with rolled-up sleeves whose
hands are weathered from years outside.
He just turned the corner after
finishing clipping the few stray leaves on each of the trees.
One of Sarlat's residences houses
French families who live the French Country style...
The window boxes have flowers; wisteria covers 
the entrance courtyard and grows up the building.

A semi-circle tops a window in the turret.

The private courtyard entrance provides a 
sheltered area for shade-loving impatiens 
behind the wrought-iron gate and half-walled fence.

Did you spot the red geranium in the window 
above the courtyard almost hidden by wisteria?

How about the proverbial 
French number with blue background? 
 No. 9
What is it like to live in a town that
only requires a single digit house address?

I live in the country, and my house 
address has four digits! 

Could I have an invitation to come in?
To experience French Country living?
To share a leisurely dinner of four courses over four hours?
No rush, prepared with all fresh, locally grown ingredients...

How lucky I have been to visit Sarlat more than once.
In Sarlat, I feel my pace slow, 
taking time to sit with a friend for an hour 
eating a freshly-prepared apricot crepe.

Yes, one can feel, understand, and experience
French Country 
in Sarlat.
Castles Crowns and Cottages 
is hosting a
special all France link party
Friday May 17-24, 2013 
Please join me at these 
inspiring sites...
FRANCE Simply Irresistible @ Castles Crowns and Cottages


Kelly said...

What a magnificent place! It really does exude all of the qualities of a country french lifestyle. Wish I could go there one day. I'm sure I wouldn't want to leave.

Christina said...

What a magical place- You're photos and writing are wonderful!

Christina said...

oops your not you're haha

Botanic Bleu said...

France is truly a beautiful country filled with hundreds of small towns and villages that reflect country French lifestyle.


Botanic Bleu said...

Thank you, Christina. In such a place as Sarlat, "photo opportunities" are boundless. Your comment really made my day!


Connie said...

I say on my blog that the way I find new blogs is when someone comments on my blog and yours is one. Yep, I'm definitely following you on my bloglovin' now. I especially love the colors of the font on your picture on top of your blog. That's my favorite color of blue, very French. Oui? Thank you for finding me; I'm so thankful.

Lois Arnold said...

Once again a lovely trip to France with you as our guide! What a beautiful city! One of my coworkers wears a black beret and has a little goatee - he must have been the one we missed seeing! though his is Italian, I find myself wanting to call him Pierre instead of Peter.

I laughed at having a single digit address. Our first house number was 16455 West and the street name which was long. Others in more remote areas from the city had addresses like 72 North 18266 West. It did pinpoint exactly where out in the boonies the house was located. Try putting those addresses in the small spaces sometimes provided on a form. Oy!

Botanic Bleu said...

Thank you for coming by, for leaving a very nice comment, and for following on bloglovin'. Seems like I find a new blog every time I visit link parties.

Have a wonderful weekend...

Botanic Bleu said...

You know, now that I think about this, my sister had a two-digit address in New Hampshire. Her house number was 15.

Thanks for coming by, Lois. I always enjoy your comments.

Suzan Sweatman said...

Hi Judith - came by because you joined up at the hop - OMG - you had me at " France " one of my favorite countries - your newest follower!
Much love,

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

My dear.....this is absolutely special to me; when I lived in France for studies, my husband came to visit me after a month of being ON MY OWN! We traveled all around the countryside, and for some reason, SARLAT was our favorite place. We were surprised by the special goodies that we found at this most wonderful marketplace that you share with us today. Sarlat will always be our dream spot, together, as we ate, walked, listened, watched and took in all the magic of this space in the world. THANK YOU for participating and I hope you get a chance to visit my post where all the links are provided. HAPPY TOURING! Anita

Sarah said...

Oh, what a fabulous post! Thank you for introducing me to this magical town. All the times that we have traveled to France, we've not been to Sarlat. It is now on my travel list. Your posts always take me to new adventures. Thanks for sharing this lovely spot with all its charming structures and markets. Merci!

SizzleandZoom said...

Gorgeous, charming post(so is your blog)!

Sandy at You May Be Wandering said...

What a lovely post! I am not familiar with Sarlat so it was delightful to discover a new place through your beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing! I am a new follower on Bloglovin'. Have a great weekend!

Nantucket Daffodil said...

Oh what dreamy pictures! And I had a little chuckle, as I live at No. 9!

vignette design said...

Love your blog! Sarlat is on my bucket list now. A beautiful post! ~Delores

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Judith my dear! Oh really picked a magic town. Hasn't it been so much fun? When I woke up this morning, I just got started immediately, and it was thrilling to see the European friends have their posts up, then the Canadian bloggers, then little by little from east to west here in the states. It truly have been phenomenal, YOU ALL, and me, linking together. You know, next year, I want to do this with ENGLAND!!!!! We shall see....but thank you for allowing me to meet you and may you enjoy your touring! Anita

Botanic Bleu said...

Anita, THANK YOU for hosting the incredible FRANCE Simply Irresistible party. Thank you, also, for including me in the party. The group of participants is amazing with such a joie de vie for all things France.


Botanic Bleu said...

Sarah, I hopped over to your post for the FRANCE link party and was just enthralled by your beautiful photos of Angelina's. It were as though I could smell the chocolate.


The French Hutch said...

Oh we do have the same love for France. I love to get away from the cities and into the countryside. I feel I get to know a country better here. Thank you for introducing me to this lovely town. I have never been to Sarlat but I would love to now! Thank you for sharing a bit of French country living. I’ll be your latest follower.

The French Hutch

Sherry "Edie" & Marie Antionette said...

More beautiful photos.I don't think I could ever tire of looking.
Very Lovely blog,Thank you for sharing,
Marie Antionette

Red Rose Alley said...

The market is charming, and is my favorite picture, and I can see myself browsing through all the goodies. I also love the picture of the door, it is very mysterious to me.

It's nice to meet new friends.

~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

Botanic Bleu said...

I am following you on Google Friend Connect, but should have clicked the bloglovin' follower button. I will go back and select bloglovin'. :)

Botanic Bleu said...

We were meant to be friends!


Entertaining Women said...

Thanks for the introduction to Sarlat. Whenever I am able to return to France, I'll carve out a spot of time to visit Sarlat! I appreciate the follow, and I'm happy to now follow you, too.

Luisa Mª Benito said...

Sarlat Oh! a magical place and an inspiring Tour. I'm loving.
Thank you very much for your great photos

Luisa Maria said...


It's me said...

Welcome in France...nice to see you to do this together...Anita is such a good friend to all of us...enjoy the weekend love

Jeri Landers said...

( I live in the country, and my house has 3 numbers.) I love this glorious old town, (through your photos) it makes me think of the movie "Chocolat", and that wonderful old village with the delicious wares in the window. This is what I imagine when I think of France, I am much more intrigued with the small towns than with the idea of Paris.
PS, yes, the blue background on my blog is my artwork.

Sylvia said...

Magnificent! I adore small towns and am already in love with Sarlat! Love your writing and your photos. French country is a joy of life, indeed!

Linda Primmer said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos and inspiration. Sarlat looks lovely. There's a certain mysterique about France. I love the architecture, markets and art, plus the food is Ooh La La! From your newest follower. Thank you stopping by and following as well.....Linda

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

You took me to a place that I had not heard of. Sarlat is beautiful! If I am ever so fortunate to return to France, I would spend more time in the countryside.

I am so pleased to meet you! I must tell you... I have a special place in my heart for Texas and it's people. My son attended school at Western Texas College on a baseball scholarship in his sophomore year. It was one of the experiences that helped shape him into the amazing person he is today.

I have lingered here for about a half hour. There is so much pretty to view! I am definitely in my comfort zone! (My fave T-shirt says Paris, Texas on it!) There is no doubt that I will be following!

SmilingSally said...

What a nice spot to visit. Thanks for playing and incorporating blue with France.

Happy Blue Monday, Judith.

Carol L McKenna said...

Wow love the blue photo for HBM ~ and the French photo tour ~ Wonderful ^_^

I tend to think of Switzerland and the suburbs of Geneva ~ very similar ~ Enjoy

YONKS said...

Sarlat looks amazing. Oh dear, another French destination to add to my ever growing bucket list. I will need at least 2 lifetimes to visit all these places :-)
Thanks for the tour.

Draffin Bears said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of Sarlat. I agree some of the smaller villages are so quaint and charming.
We hired a car when we visited France and there is just so many gorgeous places to visit.
Lovely to discover your blog

Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

I never pass up a post if it is about France or lemons. Sarlat seems a lovely place to visit/live.

deana sidney said...

Thanks for the introduction to the beautiful town that I've never heard of! It is all the more so with your remarkable eye for detail. Thanks to Anita for introducing us all at her party... it's been great fun.