Wonderfully preserved (though a little too precious), hilltop Pérouges, with its medieval houses and narrow cobbled streets—leave those Louboutin high heels at home—surrounded by ramparts, is 200 yards across. Hand-weavers first brought it prosperity; the Industrial Revolution meant their downfall, and by the late 19th century the population had dwindled from 1,500 to 12. Now the government has restored the most interesting houses, and a potter, bookbinder, cabinetmaker, and weaver have given the town a new lease on life. A number of restaurants make Pérouges a good lunch stop.
Encircling the town is Rue des Rondes and from this road you can get fine views of the countryside and, on clear days, the Alps. Park your car by the main gateway, Porte d'En-Haut, alongside the 15th-century fortress-church. Rue du Prince, the town's main street, leads to the Maison des Princes de Savoie (Palace of the Princes of Savoie), formerly the home of the influential Savoie family that once controlled the eastern part of France. Note the fine watchtower. Place de la Halle, a pretty square with great charm, around the corner from the Maison des Princes de Savoie, is the site of a lime tree planted in 1792.
Elsewhere in Lyon and the Alps
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