A Medieval Fortified Hilltop Village
We left Bourg-en-Bresse for Vienne with a mid-day stop at Perouges which lays about 30 kms to the north before Lyon. We read about it in our trusty DK Eye Witness travel book which has never let us down in discovering the magic sights of France. It is old and dog eared with lots of highlight pen marks. Each highlight in the book brings back memories and Perouges is one of the many special moments.
This hilltop walled village has a population of only 900 today but back in the 13C it had 1500 people with a thriving linen weaving industry. By 19C it had only 90 inhabitants. An influx of artisans saw faithful restoration of the medieval homes in the village to where it has been used for the filming of several movies such as "the Three Musketeers, and Monsieur Vincent" which I must dig out now to remind me of Perouges.
We remember driving to the car park and on walking to the entrance of the village through its arched opening in the fortifications we were walking on cobblestone paths. You could feel each cobblestone through the soles of your shoes. Hob nail boots would have been better to wear.
Although Perouges was only about a quarter of the way to our next overnight stay in Vienne, there was no way we would have missed it. As with all the Beau Villages of France, you find a tranquil environment that is hard to drag yourself away from. Our short visit allowed us to have a decent wander through the streets, and a sit-down at one of the cafes under the spreading lime tree planted just after the revolution.
|The first porte to Perouges|
|Followed by the second entrance which forms part of the fortifications and walls of the church. The steps to the left lead inside the fortified church.|
|Imagine walking on the roads within Perouges in your best leather high heels!|
We spent time just pass the entrance to explore the church, then upwards to the main part of the village. It had a very authentic feel about it and you could see why it was used as a setting for movies of days gone by.
In the very centre of the village was Place de la Halle with this great lime tree as a centre piece supposedly planted in the very late 1700s as a monument to the revolution.
|Some sections of Perouges is still being restored or are they still in a state of decay?|
I did read somewhere there was a time where the village was being considered for demolition - glad it was saved.
|It's not difficult to see why Perouges is one of the Beau Villages of France.|
It is certainly amongst one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France".
After leaving Perouges we skirted Lyon on the way to Vienne which was a little less than 100kms along the main highways. Situated in the Rhone Valley, Vienne attracted us because of its fantastic and well preserved Roman remains from the first century, but more next Wednesday.
I mentioned earlier that Perouges due to its authenticity to medieval times, has been used as a location for many films - the following posters are from the films that I found. Maybe you have seen one or two.