Pérouges – medieval walled town

Pérouges (fr. Pérouges) is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France. It is a medieval walled town 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Lyon. It is perched on a small hill that overlooks the plain of the river Ain.

The medieval city of Pérouges is classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France and makes it one of the most touristic places in the department.

Pérouges was inhabited by craftsmen; mainly farmers and linen weavers. It was probably founded by a Gallic colony returning from Perugia in Italy.

The Medieval Fair that takes place every June is a particular highlight, with parades, shows, markets and all kinds of events, creating a truly unique atmosphere in Pérouges… and everyone has costume of course!

Pérouges also lends its name to the summer music festival, though not all of the concerts take place in the town itself. The eclectic programme and big names on the line-up make it one of Ain’s biggest events.

The picturesque Place du Tilleul square at the heart of the village is a must to see, with its 13th-century inn, Old St. George House, Tree of Liberty planted in 1792, and Museum of Old Pérouges. The latter, based in the House of Princes, the former home of the Dukes of Savoy, tells visitors all about the town’s history, through collections of paintings, engravings, furniture, objects, tools, ceramics and musical instruments.

A Hortulus, a charming medieval garden, as well as a beautiful view of Pérouges and the surrounding area from the watchtower, complete the visit.

Main attractions

  • The Porte d’En-Bas is the former main entrance to the medieval city;
  • The Porte d’En-Haut;
  • The rue des Rondes which has retained its former appearance with its awning roofs and the stone hooks that mark each entrance to the house;
  • Rue des Princes is a shopping street;
  • The Sainte-Marie-Madeleine church, built at the beginning of the 15th century, is also one of the rare examples of a fortress-church.

Given its authentic historical appearance, Pérouges is often used as the setting for period films by French directors. Among the most famous movies filmed in Pérouges: Monsieur Vincent (1947), Les trois mousquetaires (1961), Fanfan la Tulipe (1962),  etc.

GPS coordinates: 45°54′26″N 5°10′22″E

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