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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