Place:Perche, France


TypeGeneral region
Located inFrance
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Perche (French: le Perche) is a former province of France, known historically for its forests and, for the past two centuries, for the Percheron draft horse breed. Until the French Revolution, Perche was bounded by four ancient territories of northwestern France: the provinces of Maine, Normandy, and Orléanais, and the region of Beauce. Afterwards it was absorbed into the present-day departments of Orne and Eure-et-Loir, with small parts in the neighboring departments of Eure, Loir-et-Cher, and Sarthe.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Before the French Revolution, Perche was bounded by the following ancient provinces: Normandy to the north and west, Maine to the west, Beauce to the east and Orléanais to the south.

Perche is dominated by four topographical-featured arcs:

  • An outer arc marked by the high edge of a flat high plateau to the west and south of the Perche's eastern and northern limits
  • An inner arc, concentric to the high plateau edge arc, defined by the Huisne River, a tributary of the Sarthe River, situated in Perche's irregular lowlands.
  • Forest arcs in les collines du Perche (the Perche hills) on either side of the Huisne, consisting of a main forest arc off the Huisne's left bank stretching from Moulins-la-Marche to Montmirail and a secondary forest arc off the Huisne's right bank from Pervenchères to Le Thiel.

Within the Huisne watershed lie the three unofficial Perche capitals: Nogent-le-Rotrou (economic capital), Mortagne-au-Perche (administrative capital) and Bellême (historical capital).

The Perche hills are the source of numerous small tributaries of the Seine River watershed via the Eure, Avre, Iton and Risle rivers and the Loire River watershed via the Huisne, Loir and Sarthe rivers.

Perche's principal towns

The following table lists the principal towns in Perche province along with the distance of any given town to Condé-sur-Huisne, situated near Perche's geographic center:

km km km km km
Arrou 48 Ceton 23 La Ferté-Vidame 29 Luigny 31 Senonches 29
Authon-du-Perche 29 Chateauneuf-en-Thymerais 40 La Loupe 18 Montmirail 41 Tourouvre 34
Bellême 27 Condé-sur-Huisne ~0 Le Gault-du-Perche 43 Mortagne-au-Perche 31 Verneuil-sur-Avre 44
Brezolles 45 Digny 32 Longny-au-Perche 22 Nogent-le-Rotrou 8

Peripheral towns

Nearby towns in the four ancient provinces along the periphery of Perche province include (starting from the north, clockwise): L'Aigle, Dreux, Chartres, Châteaudun, Le Mans, Mamers, Alençon and Sées.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


Perche's prehistory is manifested by megaliths (dolmens, menhirs) and prehistoric tools of flint, bronze, and iron.

Middle Ages

See also Lords, counts and dukes of Perche

Perche was essentially a region between other regions:
". . . the Perche was not based on an existing administratative unit, such as its neighbors, the counties of Maine and Chartres, nor was it coterminous with an ecclesiastical jurisdiction. It grew up at the margins of several larger units, and there was no major population focus nor great religious centre such as a cathedral or ancient abbey within it. It owed its existence to the ambition and energy of successive members of a lineage of warrior elite."[1]

The Romans found possession of the Perche forests was necessary for the conquest of the vast and Normandy territories extending from the Loire estuary off the Atlantic coast to Dieppe off the English Channel.

Until the Viking or Norman invasions in the 9th century, Perche was a relatively remote area bounded on all sides by the following Gaul-Roman territories and Celtic peoples: to the east and south the Carnutes people in Chartrain territory based in Chartres; to the northeast the Aulerques Eburoviques people in Évreux territory based in Évreux; to the southwest the Aulerques Cénomans people in Maine territory based in Le Mans; and to the northwest the Hyesmois (Essuins) people in Exmes territory based in Séez. These territories eventually became first Roman civitates, to then become the dioceses of , Evreux, Le Mans and Séez. that did not change significantly in terms of geographical limits until the Revolution. Thus Perche has traditionally been shared between three of these four dioceses as follows:

  • Parishes in northwest Perche such as in the town of Mortagne have been part of Séez diocese;
  • Parishes in eastern Perche such as in the towns of Tourouvre and Nogent-le-Rotrou have been part of Chartres diocese;
  • Parishes in southwest Perche such as in the town of Bellême have been part of Le Mans diocese.

In the Middle Ages, the County of Perche was controlled by an independent line of counts. By the 12th century, two large families contended for control of the Perche region: the Talvas of Bellême family and the of Nogent-le-Rotrou. In 1114, Rotrou III annexed Bellême. In 1226, Count Geoffroy V would have been a leader of the Fourth Crusade had he not died before its departure to the Near East. This end of the Rotrou dynasty led to the region's annexation to the Crown of France (by inheritance). At this time, the crown divided part of the region to create the county of Alençon. After 1325, both counties were generally held by a member or members of a cadet branch of the House of Valois. During the Hundred Years War, partisans of England plundered Perche, destroyed its nobility, and burned many castles and abbeys. In 1449, free from English domination, Perche began reconstruction. Upon the death of Alençon's last duke (1525), rule returned to and remained under the French crown, and was granted only sporadically thereafter.[1][2][3]

Modern times

In the three decades starting in 1632, a large proportion of immigrants to New France came from Perche, in what has been called the Percheron immigration movement. Many Percherons were thus recruited to work in seigneuries being establishing along the Saint Lawrence valley. The Beauport seigneurie, New France's first agricultural-oriented seigneurie, was granted in 1634 to Robert Giffard de Moncel by the Company of Hundred Associates. While the total number of emigrants was small, Perche had a much higher rate of emigration to New France than most other regions of France. Nearly all French Canadians have some ancestors from the villages of Perche.[2] Prominent last names from Perche who came to Canada starting just before the end of Samuel de Champlain's tenure include: Côté, Boucher, Cloutier, Guyon (Dion), Tremblay and .

After the French Revolution, Perche was divided into four departments: Orne, Eure-et-Loir, Sarthe, and Loir-et-Cher. At this time, national law replaced or local, customary law.[2]

In 1998, the government of France created the Perche Regional Nature Park (Parc naturel régional du Perche – see ). The park is forested mostly by beech, birch, chestnut, oak (especially sessile and pedunculate species), as well as conifers (especially Douglas fir and pine species) populated by wildlife including boar, buzzard, deer, squirrel, woodcock and woodpecker species.

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