1st Monday of May, Snail Festival (Bertric Burée)
Nearly 100,000 snails are cooked in huge vats and devoured by locals and visitors from all over France. An all day event, in traditional French style, which involves the consumption of lots of white wine and a huge evening feast. Great fun day for the whole family as they normally host a brocante (equivalent of a car boot sales), fun fair, bar and market where they serve food including snails, beef or confit de canard (duck) and lots of wine. Great fun and always on the first Monday in May.
2nd Sunday of May, Strawberry Festival (Beaulieu)
The main event is the baking of a giant strawberry pie, but it is accompanied by a market with regional produce and French and international music and dance performances. The medieval, cobbled streets, a splendid Romanesque abbey, and the Chapel of the Penitents offer a magnificent setting for these strawberries! Entertainment for the whole family; horse riding, wooden exhibition, face painting, wooden games, various workshops (cooking, arts and crafts), parade and races, nature sports events (canoes, making kites, fishing simulator), plus street entertainment and magicians.
Pentecost Sunday, Rocamadour AOC Cheese Festival (Rocamadour)
This festival of Rocamadour AOC cheese is celebrated on Pentecost Sunday each year. There is a competition for the best farmhouse cheese, cheese tasting, traditional music, face painting and feasting. A chance to shop at a wonderful cheese market as well being able to taste all the wares. From the Rocamadour AOP throughout the 25 past editions of the event, they have given us a tour of French cheese gastronomy; and what diversity! Cow, goat, sheep, known and less known.
Mid July, Fete de la Madeleine (Duras)
This is a three day festival in Duras, which traditionally celebrates Baroque music. There is local camping in the château grounds, BBQs each evening, as well as a fireworks display. A rough guideline for the programme is below but is always subject to change. Saturday: Grilled sandwiches and concert with the group Sangria, entry is free. Sunday: Grilled sandwiches and concert (free admission). Monday: Grilled sandwiches and concert with Mickaël Vigneau and Collective Métissé. Closing the three-day festival with fireworks.
Late September, Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Rocamadour)
A hot air balloon fiesta in Rocamadour in late September. This gathering of European hot air balloons forms a stunning sight against the backdrop of the pilgrimage town of Rocamadour. Attracting some 20,000 spectators, it pays to get your viewing spot early.
Places to see and things to do in the region of Sarlat
- Visit the Eyrignac Gardens
- Discover the Valley of Dordogne (e.g. by boat in traditional Gabarres or canoeing down the river)
- See the prehistoric Lascaux Caves
- Visit one of the numerous castles, such as Chateau des Milandes
- Expolre the Caves of Lacaves or Caves of Pesques (pre-booking might be required)
- Drive to "the most beautiful village of France", La Roque St Christophe
- Take a hot air balloon and marvel at the region from above
- Savour famous French delicacies such as Foie Gras and Magret de Canard in one of the plenty Michelin-starred restaurants
GMT + 1 hour
The official currency is the Euro (€). Coins are available in 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50, cent , €1 & €2 denominations. Notes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500 denominations.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted for exchange or purchase in major cities, but in more rural areas, visit a bank to exchange them for Euros. Major credit cards are widely accepted here (though a limited number of merchants have American Express accounts) and ATM access is widespread. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as banks and hotels, and exchange only what you think you will spend in-country. Coins cannot be reconverted on departure. Save all receipts from any currency exchange transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
Tips in restaurants are usually added on at 10/15 % of the bill. However, it is often a subject of controversy whether this amount actually goes to the waiter or not, therefore it is your choice whether to tip more.
Arrival & Departure Formalities
Travel documents are your responsibility. In general you should have:
- A signed, valid passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. Your passport must have enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps issued when entering and exiting immigration points.
- Visas are required for certain nationalities and you are strongly advised to check your status allowing plenty of time for visa application.
The South West is in a temperate zone that is far enough in the north to experience all four seasons. The region has pleasant and warm spring weather. There are hot summers with an average temperature around 30°C. Daylight in the summer averages between 8 and 9 hours. Autumn in the South West is also pleasant, with warm daytime temperatures and cool evenings. The days can be quite short during the winter months, with an average number of sunlight hours between 2 and 3 in December and January and temperatures below the freezing mark.
It is advisable to contact your doctor before you travel if you have any specific health concerns and take out appropriate travel and medical insurance.
Electrical service in France is supplied at 220-240 volts/50 hertz.
- Traffic from the RIGHT has right of way, except at roundabouts or if their road has a white line across it.
- You should always be carrying in the car your Passport or national ID, driver's licence, the car insurance papers and ownership (rental) papers.
- An international driving licence is not required. Your locally issued driving licence, as long as it is accompanied by your passport, will suffice.
- National speed limit is 50kmh (31mph) in towns, 90kmh (56mph) on secondary non-urban highways, 110kmh (68mph) on dual carriageways, 130kmh (80mph) on motorways (autoroute). Speeding fines: 30 - 300 Euros. Minimum driving age is 18.
- For use of the motorways (autoroute) it is invariably necessary to pay a toll before access. Payment can be made by coins or by credit card.
- There are strict laws concerning drinking and driving. Blood alcohol levels must not exceed 0.05%. There are random breathalyser tests carried out regularly by the police.