France is a destination for all seasons and all tastes. Recently, we were given a voucher to stay and dine at the castle hotel, Hostellerie du Perouges, in the medieval walled town of Perouges. The cobble stoned village, typical of many such French walled towns, is perched on top of a hill from where you can get bird’s-eye-view of the surrounding countryside. The easiest way to get there is by car. The closest big cities are either Lyon or Geneva. We drove there from Geneva and the drive itself was stunning, passing through lakes, vineyards and rolling hills. On the way to Perouges, we stopped at Chateau de la Chaize in Odenas for wine tasting. Advance booking is recommended in order to get a tour of the property. The different Gamay wines were exquisite to say the least. We were shown around by the grand son of Marquise Roussy, the owner of the estate and the surrounding vineyards.
From Odenas, it only takes an hour and a bit to get to Perouges. By the time we reached there, it was late afternoon and the entire town was glowing in a warm hue from the setting sun. Upon entering through the imposing gate, you are immediately transported to a different time altogether. The town is a a labyrinth of narrow cobbled lanes and stone houses with imposing wooden doors. Some of the houses were built so that we could see right through the glass windows into the quaint interiors while walking around. The whole atmosphere was as if lifted from a period film and we were waiting anytime for the knights on horses to appear demanding what we were doing there.
The Hostellerie owns different houses inside the fortification. The one we stayed in was called “Les Remparts” and is situated in the outer walls of the castle with a little door that opened to a quaint passage way. Dinner at the restaurant was equally different. The dining area was decorated with copper kitchenware and iron objects straight out of history books. The menu came on a scroll and the waitress wore medieval costume. I have never had a bad meal in France but the experience of eating at Hostellerie in Perouges was a notch higher. The best part of the meal was the dessert that included local specialty called “Galette” which were like caramelized crepes served with home made cream, fruit compote and ice cream. Never had a better dessert before!
The next day after breakfast in the outdoor area, we visited the “Musee du Vieux Perouges” right opposite the hostellerie. We recommend visiting this museum, if for nothing else than to get great views from the terrace and a medieval garden.
After all the wining and dining we wanted to make use of the gorgeous day to do something outdoors. So, we drove along the wine route to a small town called Charnay-les-Macon in Macon in Bourgogne. The day was spectacular. Beautiful sunshine with not a cloud in sight. Perfect for cycling! We hired bikes from the old train station (disused) in Charnay Macon and cycled for few hours alongside the vineyards and through more tiny French villages. For lunch, the restaurant next to the old train station serves excellent food and good selection of Macon wines.