1 – Pérouges origins
After the archealogical excavations on the « Croix Tombée » site, it was confirmed that humain beings where present in Pérouges from Chalcolithic (about -2500 to –1800) until the Merovingian period (5th-8th centuries), close to the « Longevent » river.
58 tombs or graves revealed extraordinary items, even though the whole site has still not totally been excavated.
We know almost nothing about the 8th and 12th centuries.
2 – Pérouges and the end of middle ages
The first written mention about the Pérouges old fortress dates from the begining of the 12th century.
From this fortress we have no description, or no date of construction.
When the feudal era come to an end, the Anthon lords’ land entered the earldom of Savoy at the 14the century.
Privileges charters were given between the 13th and 14th centuries. The inhabitants had many rights that gave them the opportunity to build a city on the site of the castle.
The city was built between the end of the 14th century and the begining of the 15th century. At the end of the 15th century the city was attacked by the french soldiers. It was a long siege but the perougiens won.
3 – Work and trade at the modern age
Between the end of the 15th century and the end of the 18th century the little town was very active.
The were nearly 1500 inhabitants in Pérouges at the end of the 18th century.
The speciality was to weave hemp.
Benefitting of the passage of the merchants on the road between Lyon and Geneva, and its numerous craftsmen, the city was quite flourishing, despite of some difficult times.
In 1585 Claude Favre de Vaugelas, Baron of Pérouges, was born in the “Red” mansion. He will become the very first french grammarian thanks to the publication of his book ” «Observations on the french language”.
In 1601 the area became french under Henri IV’s reign. It’s the end of the “savoyard” era.
4 – Great upheaval and modern times
Between 1790 and 1792, the perougians welcomed by the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the first Republic.
The economical difficulties will arrive with the industrial revolution during the 19e century.
To find a modern way of life the inhabitants will leave the medieval city, to find a new job on the new textile factories, close to the train.
At the beginning of the 20th century, only one family was living in the medieval city.
In 1911 the Defence committee is created to save and restore the old town.
Edouard Herriot, the mayor of Lyon, will actively help the committee to refurbish the town.
5 – Pérouges nowadays
Once proudly restored, the old town welcomed a lot of public figures, politics or artists.
At the 20th century, some famous people haveleft their mark in the memories of the inhabitants minds, such as the french actors Yvonne Printemps or Pierre Fresnay , Albert Lebrun (french president), the writer/adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Maurice Utrillo (famous french painter) or, more recently, Bill Clinton, when he was president of the USA in 1996.
During the 20th century, the old town became a favourite location amongst film directors.
Nowadays,it is favoured by French television which comes to shoot films, in a natural historical location. Thanks to its many protected monuments, the magic happens everytime that actors are working on the medieval city.
At the 21th century, Pérouges still amazes anonymous or famous people, and the story goes on…