Discover your Canadian roots in France, in the footsteps of the Percheron pioneers in Normandy

1 or 2 day tour in the Perche region of Normandy

Discover the history of the Percherons who left for New France, starting with the Museales of Tourouvre andits Museum of Emigration in Canada. Why did they leave France, where did they settle and under what conditions? 

326 emigrants left from around Tourouvre; follow these families to which you may belong and the places your ancestors lived in before leaving for New France in 17the century. Many of them were born in Canada and are among the most numerous descendants today (Tremblay, Gagnon...).

Thousands of Canadians have their roots in the Perche, a French region known for its rich agriculture and oak forests.

 

01.

Tourouvre: Gagnon, Giguère, Mercier, Rivard, Roussin...

(½ day to 1 day)

The church of Saint-Aubin de Tourouvre, built in the 15 th centurye Since the 19th century, it has stained glass windows depicting Julien and Honoré Mercier, after the latter's visit in 1891 when he was Prime Minister of Quebec.

Commemorative plaques recall the names of the Tourouvrains baptized here and set out for New France, such as Giguère, Gagnon, Roussin... You can admire the frame of the staircase leading to the bell tower built by Jean Guyon before his departure.

*The houses of the ancestors belong to private owners, we ask you to respect these places during your visit.

02.

Autheuil : Robert Giffard

(½ day)

Reach Autheuil, the birthplace of Robert Giffard, a pioneer of Perche emigration. The church of Notre-Dame, where he is said to have been baptised, is the oldest and best preserved Romanesque church in the Perche.

03.

The Gagnon House*.

day to 1 day)

Not far from there is the "Gagnonnière", the birthplace of Mathurin and Jean Gagnon. As for Pierre, he was born not far away, in the Ventrouze, the family having moved there. The three brothers Gaignon or GaingnonThe Gagnon family, as their name is spelled on the deeds, were among the first to settle in a part of the Beaupré coast that forms Château-Richer. For years, the Gagnon family embodied family solidarity. Together, they obtained a land grant in Lower Town where they built a house. A few years later, enriched by trade and agriculture, they acquired a shop.

More information

*The houses of the ancestors belong to private owners, we ask you to respect these places during your visit.

Oratoire Sainte-Anne - M. Ganivet

04.

Saint Anne's Oratory

(1 to 2 days)

Pass by the oratory of Sainte-Anne, the site of an old chapel which has now disappeared. This chapel was a popular place of pilgrimage, where many Percherons sought the protection of the patron saint of sailors and travellers before leaving for New France.

05.

Randonnai: Pierre Tremblay

 (1 to 2 days)

On the edge of the Perche, just before the Pays d'Ouche, are Randonnai and the "Fillonière", the birthplace of Pierre Tremblay who left in 1647. Not far from there is the manor of Belle Perche, former fief of the "du Tremblay", a distant branch of the Tremblay family, masters of forges and lords of Gaillon, who also owned a foundry in Conturbie.

*The houses of the ancestors belong to private owners, we ask you to respect these places during your visit.

crédit M. Ganivet

06.

The Perche forest

(1 to 2 days)

Near these places, the Étoile du Perche in the heart of the forest where the emigrants lived in the 17th century, is a good example.The state forest of Perche and La Trappe is a haven for nature lovers. An area of 3,203 hectares that spans two different regions with steep slopes interspersed with valleys makes this an incredible destination!

07.

Bivilliers: Madeleine de La Peltrie

(1 to 2 days)

In Bivilliers is the manor house of La Peltrie, named after the founder of the Ursuline convent in Quebec with Mother Marie de l'Incarnation. 

  • Around Tourouvre, many hamlets bear witness of the birth or presence of the pioneers of Canada: Julien Mercier's Grandinière, Robert Giguère's Giguerie, Jean Creste's Les Boullais, Guillaume Pelletier's Cristerie... 
  • Extend your visit by letting yourself be guided through the narrow streets of the Little City of Character of Longny-au-PercheYou will discover half-timbered houses, wash-houses, waterways, the church of Saint-Martin, the castle of Longny, theold water mills.... to reach the Chapel of Our Lady of Pity, one of the jewels of the Perche  and many other places: brickyard of Chauffetières, brewery of Perche, artists and craftsmen...

A stay in the Perche is the perfect opportunity to explore the forest massifs with its walking tours, horseback riding, cycling and to meet the local people. manors and typical Perche houses. 

Find these walks, itineraries, sites to discover, emigrants, on the website of theoffice de tourisme des Hauts du Perche

  • Further information: Mortagne: Pierre Boucher

A few kilometres away, the town of Mortagne-au-Perche, the former capital of the county of Perche, has many monuments,e private mansions dating from the 12th to 18th century, and museums.e It is also the birthplace of the philosopher Alain and of Pierre Boucher, founder of Boucherville and governor of Trois-Rivières.