France, Landscapes, Lifestyle, Nature, Road Trip, Tourism, Travel, Type A, Type B




Ever thought you were born in the wrong era? Ever wondered what it would be like in the Middle Ages? A trip to Pérouges in France will scratch that medieval itch.


Pérouges, which is listed as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France), is roughly 30 kilometres northeast of Lyon, in the the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France.

Bed and breakfast in Pérouges

Preserved in time, between the 14th and 15th century, this fortified city sits on a hill perched over the Ain River, giving it a breathtaking and clearly strategic view of the land around.


Our leisurely and scenic drive from Lyon to Pérouges meandered through woods and villages before reaching the parking below the walls of the medieval city. Each step up the short cobbled walk took us centuries back in time until we stood in the courtyard before the looming main gate of the city.

The road to Pérouges

The Rue des Rondes is a cobblestone road that runs in a circle through the entire village.

Rue des Rondes

A walk down Rue des Rondes takes you past the ancient church Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, and old buildings that housed residents as well as merchants and artisans. We could see curiously walled-up windows in some of the stone houses, and we were told that they had been sealed up after evil spirits had been chased out so that they couldn’t come back in.

The 15th century church Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Pérouges continues to have a population of around a hundred residents, probably descendants of original inhabitants, and who now live modern lives in this fascinating medieval city.

Modern craftsman in his workshop

When we visited one of the gift stores in the main square, the wonderfully friendly older lady who owned the store (with a small dog named Lancelot!) insisted on gifting us a bottle of the local hippocras when she learned it was our wedding anniversary.

Olivier going medieval in a gift store

Rue des Princes

The Rue des Princes is a mercantile street where vendors used to sell their wares though the windows of their houses.

Rue des Princes

Even today you will see many stone houses in the central square selling through open windows the traditional galettes pérougiennes à la crème, a kind of sugary dessert pizza, typically washed down with Cerdon, a sweet sparkling rosé produced in the vineyards of nearby Bugey.

Shops selling galettes pérougiennes

The galette recipe was registered in 1912 by a family that still owns a restaurant and hotel in town and sells the calorific treat.

Shops selling galettes pérougiennes

The incredible historical preservation of the medieval city made it a perfect setting for numerous films, such as The Three Musketeers with Michael York. During one of the G8 summits, Bill Clinton also visited.

The central square of the town, Place du Tilleul is embellished by a 225 year old lime tree (propped up by wooden beams due to its age) which was planted in 1792 after the French Revolution, to symbolise liberty. It is surrounded by little cafés where you can spend a beautiful, lazy afternoon with a refreshment.

Place du Tilleul with its 225 year old lime tree

Although Pérouges is a not so common destination for most people visiting France, and requires a pair of comfortable shoes, it’s certainly a place we recommend!

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