I am thinking of retiring to France in about 6 years time I’ve been looking around sarlat st caneda and souillac areas . I plan to visit some time over the winter travel permitting ( and more frequently over the coming years). I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge or advice on those areas. I.e. do you get noise from the plane traffic from the nearby Airport in souillac or do you get swamped in sarlat in the summer with tourists? id plan to live out of town, so not really a problem and intend to visit both summer and winter. but I didn’t want to start off in the wrong town so to speak! any advice welcome and apologies if I broke any rules. thank you
I live on the other side of France but we visited Sarlat on holiday in October last year. It is a beautiful place, some fascinating buildings old and new, but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I think we stayed about 3 or 4 hours before the shrieking tourists were just too much.
hello. and thanks for the reply. yes that does worry me a bit! I was hoping to be rural but near there. I was trying to pick a site between all the gorgeous villages there as well as reasonable access to a number of airports. but it if means its packed from apr to Oct then it may not be worth it! hence the suggested visits in summer aswell as winter. thanks for the on the ground feedback
Sarlat is busy and there’s a good reason for that…it’s beautiful. The Dordogne is always busy in summer, ie. it’s one of the busiest, prettiest places to visit. This isn’t probably the best sight to ask the question…just saying! The responder lives on the other side of France, right.
thanks gillian. I grew up in cornwall, so use to some seasonal influx. I guess it would be insightful if its school holidays or just all the time! maybe the question I should have asked is when is the off season. I’ve got plenty of time to visit and get the first hand experience, would just need to time it right. I live on the outskirts of Manchester in a rural setting so I am use to navigating between the quaint and the busy! thanks for the advice
I’m from the outskirts of Manchester too…not too rural or quaint though! We’ve stayed in a few areas of France but we much prefer the Dordogne overall. Down to preference I suppose and I’ve spoken to some people who find the Dordogne difficult to get around because of the roads but it doesn’t bother us, it just adds to the charm…I’d rather drive on these roads than motorways
No sure why you say this isn’t best site since so many people live in the SW?
And what relevance does the fact I live on the other side of France have? I’m not pretending that I live there and have in depth knowledge of the town, but merely giving my impression of as regards tourist numbers. Which is a question the OP asked.
I think one thing to bear in mind is that being in a place on holiday is a very different experience to living there. Prettiness is all very well when you are seeing the sights, but living full time in a place one’s needs become different - is there a good supermarket within easy driving distance? And yes of course one can buy in local markets but there are times when only a large store hits the spot. What about doctors, dentists, vets? Is there are good local car mechanic, tractor repair shop, excellent DIY store? It’s no fun having to do an hour and a half round trip just to find a good lighting shop, interesting taps, 40 electric wall sockets,
And all those lovely restaurants? Are they open out of season? Go into town on a March day and many of them will be shut or someone will be up a ladder repainting the front for the summer tourists. After a day’s work on the house, being able to pop out to the local creperie that’s open throughout the year suddenly becomes much more appealing than some gourmet place.
Sarlat is very pretty and does get lots of tourists but it is perfectly liveable albeit a long way from Bordeaux - if ever you want to go to the opera or a big concert or have to take a plane at Mérignac etc it is a 3 hour train ride away. If that doesn’t bother you and you are interested in Souillac you have alternatives like Figeac, Cahors, Fumel, even Rodez which is a bit off area but lovely. Loads of villages all over. Then there are not particularly attractive but still busyish places like Agen or Villeneuve sur Lot.
You can find many nice villages/countryside around 45 mins drive from Brive-la Gaillarde (Corrèze). It’s at the junction of Dordogne, Lot and Corrèze and, conveniently, the autoroutes A20 North/South and A89 East/West.
September to March is hunting season; do check and see what your potential neighbors have as far as packs of hunting dogs. These can make a bloody racket that can’t be avoided.
Speaking of noises; the cattle farmer neighbors have regular pickups for the calves each week; after the young ones are taken away, the mothers will low distractedly (in not very low tones, mind you) for several days afterward. It’s not nearly as much of a sound problem (emotionally distressing perhaps) as the packs of dogs.
In the countryside, one does have to accept the hunting season for other reasons; so this time of year while not so tourist-driven, can become populated with the sights/sounds/dangers of the hunting season. We just had a notice posted (well not ‘just’ but it was two weeks ago) on the bulletin boards in our commune about the hunting meeting that took place July 24 in preparation for hunting season. In the countryside, this is a pretty avid thing. May I recommend keeping an eye out for these bulletin boards/posts? You might want to stop and read the notices … they can be illuminating about things happening in the commune.
One important thing, and perhaps here’s where my cynicality might rear its ugly head: French neighbors, out in the countryside, can be a bit moody. Our neighbor is as I mentioned, a cattle farmer and he would love to have our land…he isn’t always pleasant about this unrequited desire of his. We have some lovely meadows that he’d love to acquire and use for pasture. The tension is sometimes palpable.
And finally, a thought about restrictions to what one can build on one’s property even in the countryside. Our neighbors live in view of other houses and a paved road and there is a restriction on them, or some sort of requirement I should say, to keep their property looking in keeping with the history and the aesthetics of rural, stone-built village scenery. They can’t build a swimming pool on their property since it would be visible and would conflct with the aesthetic. Just something to perhaps keep aware of.
Which is why I always advise folk to discuss their ideas with the Mairie… before putting in an offer (or whatever)… this is standard procedure (certainly around here) when land and/or property is for sale.
so long as you know the parcel number or address of the property… the Mairie will be able to say what will or will not be allowed, in board terms. such conversations have stopped folk being disappointed/frustrated later