Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 02/10/13
FRAN2005 #35 PÉROUGES
Saturday July 23, 2005
At 9:30 I woke up and went back to sleep and woke again at 10:00 and slept again until 11:00 when I finally woke and got up. We had to get out of the hotel and I was eager to get back to France so we checked out of the hotel at 12:15. Below is a shot of our room.
I was quick and by 12:30 I was doing my run all the way to Plainpalais, the place we parked our car the night before. This neighborhood around the park had many open-air vendors like a market selling things like old vinyl records, used home furnishings and books. It was quite busy and hectic and made the run interesting looking at all the goods and the people.
By 1:00 my run was finished and before I went to get the car I found a place to have a cappuccino, called Central Perk (photo below right.)
It was a delightful place and I enjoyed my coffee and time there very much. At 1:30 I left and walked back to the big park and walked down the gangplank (below) to get the car from underground garage.
After I finally found how to pay my way out, I headed back to our hotel thanks to the GPS. On my way back I drove up and down some of the main streets, coming across this large cathedral (upper left).
When I got back to the hotel, we loaded on our bags and Marcia took the wheel and at 2:15 we headed out for our next destination, Pérouges, France, which was 68 miles away.
At 3:30 we stopped at an AGIP gas station where they have a 7-11-like store called "Ciao" so Marcia could have some lunch. For some reason, I really felt like having one of these prepared packaged sandwiches they have at these French rest stops. I had both a crab and a ham sandwich. I ate them in the car after we got back on the motorway; they were pretty good. They had a wonderful map of France on the wall. From the maps below you can see we are going from Geneva to Lyon with a stop in Pérouges, all in the Rhône-Alps District.
We arrived in the outskirts of the little Medieval town of Pérouges at 4:10. It got its name from a colony of immigrants that came here from Perugia, Italy. It became a fortified hilltop village and saw its heyday in the 13th-Century when it was a thriving center of linen weaving. After mechanization in the 19th-Century the population dwindled from 1,500 to 90. Since its revitalization today it has become the movie set for "The Three Musketeers" and "Monsieur Vincent."
As we were pulling into town we spotted this place where everyone seemed to be stopping in the large gravel parking lot. It was called the Verrerie D'Art and they didn't charge admission so at 4:30 we went in. It looked like a big barn. Inside we saw the glass blowing exhibit. There were signs all over strictly forbidding any photography or video but of course, here are some shots of what they were doing.
You can see the hot furnace in the center (white brick) and the red-hot glass on the bench the man is attending.
While I was busy shooting clandestine photos, I lost Marcia. She had discovered that this "museum" was really a large shop selling all kinds of items centered around the glass works (below.) As usual, I didn't see anything we had to lug back to the U.S. Marcia did, however; she found some necklaces and a few other things to purchase and then we finally got out of there. We got back in the car and headed for the center of the town.
We parked the car just outside the main gate (Porte d’en Bas) and walked through the preserved portal to this Medieval town. During the 19th-Century the Industrial Revolution descended on this town, the railway re-routed local roads, and all of this threatened the survival of Pérouges. The population dropped from 1,500 to 8. Can you believe only 8 people. In 1909, Pérouges was threatened with demolition, until Anthelme Thibaut launched a press campaign in Lyon to save this little town from its fate, and the results of his efforts leaves us with what we see today. Enjoy.
Right inside the gate was a cute little ancient church, so I went inside to see it and they were conducting a Mass. It was almost over so I decided to wait until tomorrow in Lyon to go.
After looking over the possibilities in the central courtyard of the town (below left) called place de la Halle, at 5:00 we sat down at the little cafe called La Relais de la Tour for a cappuccino and a bottle of water (below right.) The square is shaded by a huge lime tree planted in 1792 in honor of the French Revolution.
You could tell this was not one of the major towns of France. We then walked the little historic town and went through some very ancient buildings and courtyards.
We then went into the the museum called Musée Maison des Princes and the Tour de Guet (tower.) There were several floors and they were showing an eclectic batch of art and artifacts including ancient medieval weapons.
They proudly displayed some art (above left) by the "famous" sculpture Vincent Batbedat (born in 1932)..
Below are some stock photos of his work. In the left shot is "Andante" and "Scherzo" is on the right. See his website for many more by clicking on his name above.
Also there was art by John-Franklin Koenig. I had never heard of him either, but he was an American, born in Seattle in 1924, and he developed a reputation in France and Japan.
Above and below left are some of his works [stock photos.]
There were many sculptures by an artist but I didn't get his name.
After walking along the length of several buildings, you climb to the second floor with tons more of things to examine. We both found it very interesting. and spent some time
I wasn't sure who the lady was with 7 swords piercing her.
I thought this medieval chest and these violin-like instruments were interesting.
There were framed documents from the Middle Ages (below left.) By the way, photography of any kind was forbidden in this entire museum.
We wended our way to the top floor (above right and below) which had a display of old weaving looms.
These are all photos Marcia took inside and outside the building.
Then it was a short set of stairs to the top of the tower for spectacular views of the whole city and surrounding countryside. Marcia even came up with me. Below is a shot of the central courtyard.
While on the roof, I decided to try my first 360 degree stitched-panorama photo so I carefully turned in a circle while holding the camera in as a straight a line as I could to capture the entire scene. Marcia held on to me while I was turning so I wouldn't fall. Later I stitched them together and below is the panorama taken from the left side of the tower ....
.... and here is the panorama from the right side of the tower.
Below is the the full 360 degree panorama "stitched" into one shot. If you look carefully you can see the nuclear power plant with its four steaming cylinders in the very center far off in the distance (look at the first photo.)
Can't see it? I took extreme zoom shots of it from here (below.)
We got down from the tower because time was running out for us and we wandered through the ancient courtyards and gardens below the museum.
One of the gardens was full of sculptures by Vincent Batbedat, and it was fun get a shot of Maria taking one of her photographs (which are very good, by the way.)
You can see below that there is still a lot of restoration that needs to be done.
Anyone wishing to stay here for the night might consider:
1) Ostellereie du Vieux Pérouges***, Place des Tilleuls, +33-(0)4-74-610-088, or
2) Chardon +33-(0)4-74-611-244
We finally had to leave and at 6:00 Marcia drove the remaining 20 miles to Lyon, the third largest city in France. We had stopped there for one night in 1997 on route from Italy to Paris to fly home on the Concorde after our first EU trip to Italy. I remembered that I liked the city very much. During this drive I was able to work on Diario #17.
After Julius Caesar's (below left) death in the year 44 BC, ten years after his conquest of Gaul, the Roman Senate ordered Munatius Plancus and Lepidus, governors of central and Transalpine Gaul respectively, to found a city for a group of Roman refugees who had been expelled from Vienne (a town about 19 miles (30 km) south) of here [we visit there tomorrow.] Evidence shows that Plancus was the principal founder of the city and named it Lugdunum (coins minted here, right.) The city now has a population of 453,000 people and it is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region. The metropolitan area consists of 1.6 million people and thus is the second largest metropolitan area after Paris. The city's flag (above left) combines the French fleur-di-lies on the top with the lion (lyon) below. The latter looks exactly like the rampant lion in the Scottish national flag. Lyon (map right) lies at the confluence of the Rhône River (on right) and Saône River (on left), forming the "presqu'île" and driving here can be very confusing trying to figure which bridge crosses which river and therefore what part of town you are in. The center of the old town is located in the skinny area between the two rivers.
We drove around and finally found our hotel at 6:30. We checked into the Ibis Lyon La Part Dieu Centre (left) [78 rue de Bonnel, +33-47-862-9889] and they gave us room #531. At 7:00, I decided to relax in the room and work on Diario #17 photos while listening to 2 hours of a Roger Hedgecock podcast I had downloaded earlier.
After that relaxation, at 9:15 we headed out with the car to find the area of old town with the multitude of restaurants which we had visited in 1997. We drove to rue Merciére and found a parking garage and started walking. Remember our cab driver that took us down the mountain in Grenoble, Frédéric Begnier? We started looking for the place he recommended called Bouchon (= bistro) Lyonnais which he said serves the best Lyonnais sausage called andouilette. While looking we decided to stop at a lively bar called Façade Café (below left) at 9:30. We each had a glass of wine and while Marcia relaxed, I went off looking at all the restaurants. There must have been 40 of them in this 3 blocks. I couldn't find the place the cab driver talked about so since they had the sausages on the menu and it said "Bouchon Lyonnaise" on the sign, I settled for putting our name in for a table at Le Merciére [56 rue Merciére, +33-47-837-6735] which wound up being the exact same place we ate dinner at in 1997. So much for variation.
Since the bar was right across the street, I kept signaling the waiter that we were still there waiting. We waited long enough to have more wine and finally at 10:30 he gave us a table outside in the front. I decided to go to the men's room and had to climb this set of spiral stairs which was intriguing. From this vantage point the outside tables looked inviting.
While we were waiting for our menus to arrive, a lady showed up in front of us and began singing French songs which we recognized. In some ways it was a little much and in others it was very nice. I tipped her, which I did very little of to the French. So I guess I must have enjoyed her or thought she was a grandmother with kids to raise.
Finally, the menus came and I had a chance to look for those sausages the cab driver recommended. Carte d'été means Summer Menu.
We started by sharing a bottle of Cote de Rhône wine (below left) and a bottle of eau gaseous and then we shared a plate of appetizers of pate (below right, upper right), white beans (left) and believe it or not, potatoes with bologna (right.) It wasn't bad.
Marcia then had shrimp with green beans (left, "salade de haricots verts fraîs et queues d'écrevisses à l'écorce d'orange") followed by an entree of chicken from Bresse called poulet de Bresse with small crepes (right, "Volaille de Bresse à la créme, crêpes parmentières.")
I started with "Veritable andouillette tirée à la ficelle, de chez Bobosse, sauce moutarde et pommes paillasson;" basically my "sausages" (below left.) I followed that with the wonderful Bresse chicken ( see #38) that Marcia had, both of which I enjoyed very much.
After this wonderful meal, we decided we had had enough and at 12:30 Marcia drove us back to the hotel and at 11:50 I started stitching the 360° photos you saw above. I finally got to bed at 1:40 AM.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #36
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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