Sarlat is remarkable among the villages south and east of Bordeaux, in the Perigord region, to have kept most of its buildings from the late Middle Ages to the early Renaissance. Its beautiful sandstone architecture against a bright, clear-blue sky, is stunning. Sarlat benefited from the art and architecture loving mind and influence of Andre Malraux, France's cultural minister who advocated for preserving the cultural heritage many French villages represent. He convinced the government to fund restoration efforts and used Sarlat as a model site.

We stayed in a guesthouse/hotel above a pub managed by a couple from near Lascaux, from an urban area like Paris at one time. They came to Sarlat and decided to stay. We were there for a few days from just before Palm Sunday. Fois gras (duck only; would have tried goose, but it's too expensive--now in May we hear there's a crisis because of a bird virus going around), good local red Bordeaux, liver, good pork and chicken dishes, with lots of vegetables.

I attended Palm Sunday services at the cathedral, not far from where we were staying. I expected the blessing of palms, as we do at home, outside if the weather is okay, or inside church when it isn't, with lots of hymns. In Sarlat, the congregation gathered in front of the church, though it was chilly, and they all had bunches of green leaves -- not palms. Apparently, it's a spring and Palm Sunday thing, and they all had bought their sheaves a day or two ahead of time. An older woman pointed me toward a store up a side street from the church where I might find some fronds. No luck. Just before the priest came out with incense to bless everyone and their plants, the lady gave me one of her stems. Very sweet of her. So, I was able to join the rest in the traditional entrance into church on that day as did Catholics worldwide that day to celebrate Christ's entrance into Jerusalem before the Last Supper.