Pérouges is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the prettiest villages I have ever visited. Perched atop a hill, this medieval walled village has rustic charm by the bucketful: winding, cobbled streets, wisteria bursting out of cracks in the walls and traditional metal shop signs that creak in the breeze. The timber-framed buildings with their pebble-dashed walls and exposed beams ooze character; aside from the occasional TripAdvisor sticker in a merchant’s window, it’s as if time has stood still.
Pérouges’ streets and alleys have a few furry residents, all of whom were out when I visited in late February with Laurence and none of whom were out when I was there on Easter Monday with my family. A handful of artisan shops and family-run cafés line the main square; amongst them are a couple of touristy shops selling medieval costumes, maps and trinkets. Classed as an église-forteresse, Église St. Marie-Madeleine has a simple, angular structure, complete with arrow slits in the walls and crevices which could once have been used to spy on forces advancing on the fortified village. On a sunny bank holiday, everything was open – a stark contrast to when I visited with Laurence and, bar the boulangerie, everything was closed – and tourists were abound, though the narrow streets never felt congested. Pérouges is an ideal half-day trip from the hustle and bustle of Lyon, and one that you’re sure to remember for years to come.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes, here’s a pictorial travelogue of Pérouges . . .
- The nearest train station is Meximieux (sometimes called Meximieux-Pérouges), a twenty minute walk away from Pérouges proper. From Lyon, it’s a thirty minute journey costing €8 return with a Carte Jeune (or equivalent railcard offering 50% off), or €16 without.
- While you’re there, don’t forget to try the local speciality: the Galette de Pérouges. It’s a sweet dough, not dissimilar to a sugary pizza, and makes for a tasty snack while you’re wandering the cobbled streets.