Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vacation in France, October 2009 - Part #2: Moleskine sketches and photos in Sarlat la Canéda, France.

In the first week of our October trip to France, we spent two glorious days in the medieval commune (town) of Sarlat la Canéda - better known simply as "Sarlat". Sarlat is located in the southwest of France in the Perigord Noir region of the upper Dordogne department in the Aquitane.

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat View from the Donkey Milk Soap Store
colored pencil, watercolors, pen & ink in Moleskine sketchbook

I loved the view above just as I walked out of the soap store, so I leaned up against the wall, on the steps, in front of the store to draw. Added some color on the spot and more later on that night back at the hotel. Oh, and I also bought some of the donkey milk soap. It's lovely, handmade, creamy soap and comes in different natural perfumes - I bought one that smells like wild blackberries.

Not far from the soap store corner, was this winding street stuffed with many different little artisan stores and café restaurants. People live above these shops and cafés. That's me in this picture ...

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - Artisans' Shop in the Medieval Center - Oct. 2009

The area, in the photo above, is tucked just behind the main street in Sarlat's medieval center - it's one of many such streets/areas in the old center. It's mostly foot traffic in the area, especially on these narrow winding paths - the occasional little delivery truck does come through, but it's so incredibly narrow that donkeys would be a better choice, imo. lol

Time for lunch ...

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
The Sign of La Crêperie de Sarlat
Pen & ink and watercolors in Moleskine sketchbook

We sat down to have lunch at the crêperie and the sign caught my eye. Not sure why, but it did, so I drew it. We both had "galettes" rather than the traditional sweet crêpes. Galettes are a Breton savory, thin pancake filled with any number of savory choices. I had one with ham & Emmental cheese and an egg on top. Yeah I know, not exactly on the diet, but it was good and I was on vacation!!! I was good though, because the crêperie was just across the corner from a handmade chocolate shop and I avoided the temptation to go in!

The view looking towards "La Crêperie" (that's me on the lower right).

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - street view in front of creperie and chocolate shop - Oct. 2009

Me drawing at "La Crêperie" - nice to have a table to sit at while drawing!

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Drawing in the Moleskine in Sarlat, France - Oct. 2009

This is the area, near the crêperie and the town's main cathedral, during the day. If you take the street through the archway on the left of this photo, next to that ornate building with the pointy roof, you find yourself in the area of the artisans' shops and café resturants - the area in the first photo above (the one I'm walking in).

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France street in front of cathedral - day view - Oct. 2009

And this is the same view as above, but shot later that same night. We did a lot of night photography in Sarlat - it was absolutely beautiful everywhere we walked.

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - street in front of the cathedral, night view - Oct. 2009

All over the old center, there were so many restaurants to choose from and in October they aren't overly crowded as they are in the summer months - which is why we went in October! This restaurant caught our eye as we turned down one of the old winding, cobblestoned, streets. Though we didn't have dinner there, the view was just so interesting, so we "snapped" it.

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - street view in the old center at night - Oct. 2009

Ah yes, the Kermits went with us. As is his custom, Grande Kermit takes a break from all that walking (hopping?). ;o)

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Kermit enjoying the day (and a beer) at the Hotel la Mairie Café in Sarlat, France - Oct. 2009

On the central square in the old center, the Hotel la Mairie Café is a great place to take a break and enjoy some people watching ... or happy, green, frog watching! He does enjoy these trips and his beer... at least he's always happy. lol!

Looks like someone spilled pastel chalk, doesn't it? It's not...

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - Stained glass window reflection on St. Sacerdos Cathedral floor - Oct. 2009

Isn't that simply beautiful? All the stained glass windows, in Sarlat's St. Sacerdos Cathedral, were just showing off how magnificent they were with all the reflections on the floor and walls. It's was marvelous to see this; a real treat.

photo copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - St. Sacerdos Cathedral interior with stained glass reflections - Oct. 2009.

The day was just perfect and the low October sun was hitting those windows just right - it was like an abstract pastel exhibition on the floors and walls. St. Sacerdos is a 17th century Gothic style cathedral which was built on the existing foundations of a 9th century Romanesque style church and abbey - there are some remaining vestiges of the 9th century church to be seen here and there. While we were in this cathedral marvelling at the architecture, the windows and the reflections, the church organist was practicing different pieces on the large pipe organ ... it was fantastic to be there.

I made this mosaic of some of the many photos we took of St. Sacerdos.
(click image to enlarge)

all photos copyright, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sarlat, France - Image mosaic of St. Sacerdos Cathedral - Oct. 2009

In two days, we took over 500 pictures in Sarlat. Everywhere you looked there was some inspiring view to capture in a photo, or to draw. Though I only did two small drawings while there, if we go back to Sarlat (in May of next year) I will do some more sketching for sure. Now I know where the sitting steps and tables are!

tot ziens,

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