Restaurant Door, Pérouges, France

Pérouges is a small fortified hill-town northeast of Lyon, France. We visited this charmingly preserved town many years ago. The French government has been very clever in the way that they regulated the preservation of this mainly Fourteenth Century gem.

Functioning as a regular town, with a bakery and shops as well as a legal office and a doctor’s office, Pérouges has been maintained with street controls on traffic. Only those living in this burg may drive their cars into town. That idea is now becoming less than novel. Even Florence, Italy, bars non-resident traffic from the inner city. The historic conservation has been so successful that this French hill town is often used as a film location for medieval costume pieces. The Three Musketeers was shot there, and when we visited, a television company was in the midst of taping right next to our hotel.

The government has allowed only one hotel in town. The Hostellerie de Vieux Pérouges is a small establishment that is really several stone buildings joined together. That amalgamation of houses was really easy because in a cramped hill-town, almost all the buildings are contiguous. Our bedroom, “Sur les Ramparts”, gave off right onto the city wall.

At the heart of this Inn is a fine dining room with candlelit tables and wall-hung tapestries. The specialty of the house is the Poulet de Bresse. This breed of chicken is fed grain only. These birds actually have an “appellation contrôlée” which assures the continuation of these special animals. I knew that the French were particular about their food, but this is really over the top. Marilyn reminded me that the dessert was so divine that we ate an entire small sugar pie all by ourselves.

Since we visited in the Eighties, Pérouges, or the French historic authority managing the village, has become very conscious of promoting this beauty spot. I was stunned when I viewed their website to find how well this once out of the way spot is presented. Another of our private treasures has now gone public.