Pérouges was inhabited by craftsmen; mainly farmers and linen weavers. It was probably founded by a Gallic colony returning from Perugia in Italy. In 1167, the Seigneur d'Anthon famously shut the commune's walls against the troops of the Archbishop of Lyon, and as early as 1236 the inhabitants earned communal freedom. In 1601 the town officially became French. Until the end of the 18th century, the textile industry in Pérouges boomed. In the 19th century, however, roads and railroads were re-routed and the population dropped from 1,500 to 90. But, starting in 1911, the town was restored and houses were saved. Today, Pérouges is a popular tourist attraction.
Given its authentic historical appearance, Pérouges is often used as the setting for period films by French directors and others.
Films set in Pérouges are:
A spring festival has been held annually between April and June and hosts musical events ranging from Baroque to jazz.