Day 8: Dark Alleys and Fear in Sarlat-la-Canéda

Day 8/22. Amboise to Sarlat-la-Canéda. Four trains. Six hours. 100% worth it. It’s exactly the gorgeous medieval town I was expecting.

My train arrived in Sarlat at 8 pm. It was a lovely 20-minute walk from the station to my hotel, down a wide tree-lined main street with shops down either side. I didn’t see many restaurants, though, and other than the odd car going by I didn’t see any people.

After checking in, I took a look at Google Maps to see if any nearby restaurants were open. There were plenty, and seemed rather clustered in an area the opposite direction of where I’d come from. Off I went.

It was after dark at this point, though. Perhaps I’m overly nervous or cautious, but I don’t like being out alone after dark and don’t generally do it. In this case, my walk took me down dark alleyways, into secluded areas that felt quite nervous-making.

Once in the area where the map showed a cluster of restaurants, I found restaurants were open and some were even quite crowded. I decided on a creperie and enjoyed a ham and emmental cheese crepe (as mentioned yesterday, I’m eating as much ham as possible these days) paired with a glass of white wine.

When I left the restaurant I was delighted to find many more people were out and about than had been previously. Presumably, they had just finished eating, too.

More people around made me feel safer, and free to look around and fully absorb my surroundings. I felt far more comfortable pausing to take photos and meandering as I made my way back to the hotel than I did during the short and eerily silent walk into what I learned was called “the old town.”

Ah, the old town. It felt ancient, and romantic, and meaningful, and I adored it.

Imagine limestone walls, narrow passageways, gas lanterns casting a warm friendly glow and the sounds of people talking and laughing in restaurants you know are around a corner but can’t see yet…

That’s Sarlat, and dammit if I’m not already in love with it.

Here are today’s (mostly tonight’s) favorite photos.

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