Roussillon is the quintessential Provence town. Perched on a hill from which you can enjoy the most astonishingly beautiful views of the surrounding National Park du Luberon. It isn’t a big town, there are less than 1500 inhabitants but go there in the summer months and you’ll discover many more people wandering its pretty, winding little streets, taking in the views and taking lots of photos!
It is classified one of the most beautiful villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages). It’s not hard to see why. Every street is a photo opportunity, every shop lures you in with the prettiest of doorways. There are plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants and this is definitely a place to while away a few hours, relaxing, enjoying the atmosphere and people watching. There is a house with a painted door and if I’ve seen it once on the internet, I’ve seen it a hundred times; it seems everyone who visits just can’t resist trying to capture its prettiness. And, in case you haven’t seen it yet here it is!
An homage to Ochre in Roussillon Provence
This town is famous for its ochre deposits, it’s one of the biggest in the world, or ‘sentier des ocres’ as it’s called in French, that surround the village. Every house seems to have a little of the ochre-infused landscape melted into its walls, from pale lemon to vibrant orange and blood red and every colour in between. The ochre used to be mined here for use in dyes, this doesn’t happen anymore, the natural pigment has been replaced by cheaper synthetic versions, but you can still visit the former mine and take a walk through the ochre landscape, discover the old wash tanks and ochre mills. There is now one last ochre plant in operation, not too far away in Gargas.
Huge red cliffs stand tall and imposing, you can’t help but liken it to Ayers Rock in Australia or the landscape of Colarado US, in fact it’s often called the “Provencal Colorado”. There are plenty of panoramic view points including one just outside the village that overlooks the rooftops.
Visit early in the day or late afternoon to avoid the mid day heat and afterwards enjoy chilling out at one of the many cafés or bars in the town. There are some great shops here, gorgeous little boulangeries, quirky souvenir shops and wine shops, I passed one that had boxes stacked just inside the door which had labels reading “Brad Pitt’s wine”. Because, yes, Brad and Angelina rather sensibly used to live close to this little bit of paradise on earth in a beautiful chateau with a vineyard where they produced wine.
Go at the end of the day to see the architecture of Roussillon at its best, the warm last, long rays of the sun cast shadows and make the colours zing. Enjoy with a glass of local rosé (Brad’s or not!) and simply let the sights, scents and sounds of Roussillon enchant you.
Want to see more photos of gorgeous Roussillon Provence? Just click here to check out our photo gallery with lots more, bigger photos!
Website for useful information: www.provenceguide.com
Get there and getting Around
By Car: Roussillon is easily reached by road and there’s a car park at the top of the hill.
By Train: There’s no station in the town, it is protected and modern development has pretty much passed it by since the 1940’s. The nearest station is Cavaillon from where you can catch a bus (No. 15.3 to Roussillon town).