The Medieval Village of Pérouges

Another short train ride from Lyon is the small town of Pérouges.   The old walled village is a 30-minute walk through the “new” town, uphill from the train station.  There are two gates into the old town.

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Pérouges was probably founded by a Gallic colony returning from Perugia, Italy in 1167, hence the name.  It developed a prosperous textile industry of craftsmen and weavers, situated on the road between Lyon and Geneva.  In the 19th century, roads and railroads bypassed the town and the population dropped from 1,500 to 90 residents.  In 1909 it was going to be demolished but in 1911 the town was preserved by the French government and restoration began.

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The heavy limbs of the Liberty Tree, planted in 1792, on place de la Halle, must be propped up.

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Our mid-morning snack was the famous sugary and buttery Galette de Pérouges.

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Pérouges is so picturesque.  It’s no wonder it has been used as a set for several French movies.  In the summer it can be packed with tourists but on a gray Thursday in October we had it to ourselves.  I couldn’t get enough of the pretty windows and doors. 


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All the restaurants specialized in traditional French food.  We were getting the hang of using Google Translator and our waitress spoke a little English. Still, we were never sure we knew what we were ordering.

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My salad was topped with duck gizzards.  Will’s was topped with fried Brie cheese.  You can see they were huge.  I could have stopped there but we’d already ordered mains too.

Mine was chicken and Will had sausage alla Lyonnaise.

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And fries.

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The chicken was very tasty but every piece was full of little bones.  Not sure what part of a chicken has that many bones!

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We walked back to the train station a different way which took us past farms and through a park.

Looking back at the hilltop of Pérouges.  I loved this little romantic village.


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A Side Trip to Vienne

A short train ride from Lyon is the town of Vienne which was an important Roman trading center and is known for its 1st century BC ruins.

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We stopped for a mid-morning snack before crossing the Rhone River to Saint Romain en Gal.

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The Musée Gallo-Romain is built around ruins from 100 BC.  We visited the indoor museum first. It has a very good English audio tour.

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Artifacts found at the site are displayed, but what this museum is known for are the amazing mosaics.  They also have lots of models of ancient Vienne.

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I loved the little models of the homes. The ancient Romans were very “modern”.

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The museum began excavations in 1967.  We really enjoyed walking around the actual archeological site, and we had the place to ourselves.

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A large estate was unearthed with mosaics, marble walls and gardens.

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There were also communal baths and latrines.

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We walked through the town of Vienne.

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This is the Temple of Augustus and Livia from 10 BCE. It is one of only two Roman temples remaining in France. We saw the other one in Nimes (coming in a future blog).

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For a late lunch, we found a little sandwich shop run by Kurdish brothers. We had a Mediterranean wrap and salad.

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There are small ruins all around town.

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Vienne is worth a visit, especially for the Gallo-Romain Museum and archeological site.

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