Day 32 Camping Road Trip 🚗Off-the-Beaten-Path Perouges, France 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Family Travel Video

The beauty of being flexible and not having a strict schedule on the road is that when you spot a sign on a highway that grabs your attention, you can always STOP and make a detour to check it out.  So, while looking for a place to stop and things to do in the south of France, near Lyon, this is what happened with us in a well-preserved, medieval village of Perouges.  What a pleasant surprise, especially to our children.  They had been fascinated with “The Three Musketeers” the moment we crossed the French border, after visiting CERN and Geneva on the way home from Poland to Spain on day 32 of our family camping road trip through Europe this summer.

Day 32, road trip with kids: a family travel video of an off-the-beaten-path destination–Perouges, France.

Some scenes of the classic 3 Musketeers movie were apparently shot in this walled medieval village. “This is where we’ll get the musketeers swords!,” our kids  shouted with glee!!!

Perouge was like walking on a movie set, or better yet, like going back in time to the 1600s (maybe except for the gift storesJ).  The cobblestones and architecture looked authentic and well preserved  from many centuries back.  Strolling the narrow streets within the city walls, you only wish you could bump into the actual musketeers and have a jug of the local brewski with them.

A young boy, looking away, holds a white paper by the broken wooden gate, under a stone archway entrance of a cobblestone village.

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Treasure hunting at the gate of the medieval village of Perouges, France

The town is located between Lyon and Geneva which, according to informational materials,  back in the day made it a very attractive stop for tradesmen.  Overlooking the grape producing sunkissed hills, you would understand why the locals became experts in producing good quality wines.  Artisans of all sorts up to this day sell their crafts here; things like handmade paper, stationary, jewelry, paintings and linens. “Arcadie” on the Place du Tilleul, which is the central square of the town, is just one of the many gift stores where you could indulge yourself with a nice souvenir.

Two young boys, walking on cobblestone street towards a stone archway entrance with a dragon against a red banner crest of a medieval village.

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Learning how to walk on cobblestone street; at least for the little one, it was quite a fun challenge.

On the same square you have a choice of two restaurants which offer an opportunity to submerge yourself in the medieval spirit of the town by trying local food and deserts. . .  and yes, BEER!  Now, the choice is naturally yours, but surely depends on the thickness of your wallet too.  We went to what seemed to be a more adequate place for gypsy roamers like us, Le Relais de la Tour Restaurant, with a nice outdoor seating area.  Let’s just say that the surrounding view enriched the food experience that we had there, more than the food itself.  Surely, the dessert was a real highlight… the famous Galette Pérougienne.  This large doughy pastry dripping in sugar, butter, lemon zest and sometimes served with cream was created by Marie Louise Thibaut in 1912 who also restored the Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges—a hotel and your alternative place to dine in that square.

A house made of stones with luscious plants growing up its external walls.

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Would you live in an old medieval-aged house like this?

Perouges is a place that really makes your imagination work and in the end you do not need a time machine to find yourself back in the Middle Ages, even for just a little bit during your family road trip.

Traditional stonehouse building with decorative wooden beams on the outer wall and hanging green plants and red flowers.

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One of the oldest hotels in France… apparently. My kids tried to sneak in!

WHERE to stay IN PEROUGES: GO camping!

During our first camping road trip in Europe, going from Spain to Poland and back again, we did not go camping for the entire 6 weeks of round trip camping. Our family of four with two young kids (then 6 and 2 years old) stayed in AirBnB flats, inexpensive hotels, cabins and even youth hostels.

We did not feel comfortable going camping with the kids during the entire trip. So, we understand that you might be hesitant to go camping. Afterall, we (parents) had never done camping before in our lives (ok, Six, the dad, had done it once as a boy scout).

A family sitting in front of a tent and a car on a grassy camping pitch next to a tree in an idyllic-looking campsite. 

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Camping is an affordable and family-friendly way to see Europe.

We did not like it until we tried it 2 years on our first summer camping road trip simply because it was cheaper to do so. The practical benefits of family camping outweighed our hesitation. We needed to be on the road but we need to do it on the cheap.

So, for this year’s family camping road trip we made it our goal to go camping all the way… again for 6 weeks roundtrip.

During the height of the summer season, we paid as low as 19 euros and as high as 45 euros per night. The average cost was between 25 and 30 all inclusive (electricity, pitch for car and tent). Keep in mind that this is for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids during the HIGH TOURIST SEASON.

Here are the 17 must-haves to bring on your fun family camping trip.

So, instead of paying a lot of money for accommodation, especially in expensive cities like Geneva, Paris and Liechtenstein, you can cut the cost significantly.

Same reason why we took roads that did not have tolls. On our second camping road trip, we went camping all the way through for 6 weeks in total WITHOUT pre-booking campsites!

Less than 10-minute drive from the medieval viallage of Pérouges, is Camping Claire Riviere that cost 30.60 euros a night (all included) at the end of August.

If you are on the way to CERN/Geneva, Switzerland check out an excellent state/municipal campground in Satigny called Cantonal Camping Val de Allondon for 28 euros a night (30 Swiss Francs or $31 USD), that would make it affordable for you to visit the expensive French-speaking capital of Switzerland.

An advertisement sign that reads "Galette Perougienne Specialite de L'Ostellerie depuis 1912."
1.50 euros to try out a small piece of the town’s specialty pastry.

RECOMMENDATIONS for family with kids

Travelling with children? Here’s some logistical recommendation for your family.

A map of the Cite de Perouges with part of a stone house in the background, grass and blue sky.
Perouges village map at the entrance to the village to help you get acquainted.

1. There’s an affordable limited Parking Des Combes (2 euros) with ample space at the bottom of a hill about 6-minute walk to the village entrance.

2.  There’s a clean public restroom close to the parking area.

3.  From the parking lot, you will have to climb up a gravel road and a set of wooden stairs. The climb is not steep.  Keep in mind that the road is not paved, making it difficult for strollers or anything with wheels. Come to think of it, the whole town is paved with cobblestone streets.  So, best to leave those things with wheels in your car, if you can.  Otherwise, add some time and patience to your visit.

4. As expected, dining in this two-restaurant village can be expensive. Hey, you’ve got to support the local economy somehow when visiting such off-the-beaten path destinations. So, go ahead, SLOW DOWN, SIT DOWN and HAVE SOME of the local FOOD. . . some are “medieval” themed. Make sure you try the local specialty called Galette Pérougienne.

A small shop with fully grown vines overhanging windows open and offering pizzas and other foodstuff with blackboards listing names and prices.
Yes, also available. . . pizzas and other snacks on the . . . GO!

5. The entire walking tour is easily under an hour. We recommend to walk slow, let the children explore the peace and quiet, and, later, chill at the local outdoor restaurant and enjoy a local beer.

6. Don’t forget to explore the outer edges of the town that have panoramic views of the city.

Two young boys in the middleground walking away, on their own, on a quiet cobblestone street, with various craftwerk for sale from a shop in the foreground, and other stone houses in the background.

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A quiet walk to discover what the village has to offer.

That’s it. Thanks for stopping by. Remember to SUBSCRIBE and CHECK OUT our family-friendly travel videos in Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain.

NEXT STOP: Le Puy. . . Then, Lourdes, FRANCE for some unexpected “pilgrimage” stops.

PREVIOUS STOPs: CERN and Geneva, Switzerland

miles logged:

Two young boys, sitting in the foreground and looking away, backs turned and looking towards a spartan altar of an old church with stone columns and wooden benches..

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Finding peace and solitude in an old, old church, after a couple of hours of discovering the village.

Heading to geneva? CHECK-OUT One-day family-friendly itinerary

A Google map, marked with one day itinerary/walking (and boat ride) tour.

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A free electron family one-day itinerary in Geneva, Switzerland… with kids!
Day 30, road trip with kids: a short family travel video of a day trip in Geneva, Switzerland.
Day 29, road trip with kids: a short family-friendly video on Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Day 28, road trip with kids: family-friendly video in the city of Bears–Bern, Switzerland.

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