If you ever wanted to truly feel that you’ve stepped back into the Middle Ages, then I have the perfect spot for you.
Perched high on a hill, the mediaeval village of Perouges is almost entirely intact. Its strategic defence position is immediately clear. Surrounded on all sides by an enormous wall, it’s built for defence.
Extraordinarily, even the church has a battlefield edge. It’s the only church we’ve ever seen that has archer slits built in to its outer wall.
Within the wall, the village wraps around in a circle, centred by the main square. It’s all we can do to walk around in wonder.
With its cobblestoned streets, stone houses decorated with flowers and grand arched entrances it’s a very beautiful setting.
With a complete absence of cars (banned from the old centre) and 83 listed buildings it barely requires imagination to immerse oneself in times past. Although I suspect the combination of long dresses and cobblestones might have led to more laundry than one might care for. Especially with the streets’ central gutters, designed to channel waste water away.
We meet this stunning boy in our travels – he takes in my English greeting with deep suspicion, debating whether to give up his comfy roost and flee, or see what this stranger wants. Lucky for me it’s the latter, and he settles for photos. Handsome chocolate boy.
We explore for a while, then as is our want, we end our tour with a drink in the main square.
Apart from the gorgeous buildings surrounding us, the absolute star of the square is the 200 year old lime “freedom tree”. Planted in 1792, it’s glorious.
The local speciality is a Gallete de Perouges. Not the buckwheat filled version of Normandy that might have sprung to mind, but a crisp baked wheat version, topped with a buttery, lemony and something I can’t can’t quite pin down, ground almonds maybe, paste then topped with sugar and baked until it caramelises. A slice makes a perfect snack to nibble on for the short stroll home.