This village, characterised by the warm ochre hues of its rocks, is one of the most charming in the Luberon region.
The houses of Roussillon and their surroundings blend together thanks to the many reddish and ochre shades of the earth extracted from the nearby quarries. The result is a village of a thousand colours, which, under the power of the sunlight, lights up and stands out against the blue of the clear sky, surrounded by verdant unspoilt nature.
Take your time to stroll through this village of many shops: you will find nooks and crannies where time seems to stand still, delightful little squares and poetic little nooks and crannies.
This is truly a magical place, a living palette of colours where it is impossible not to notice every nook and cranny, every coloured shutter, every handkerchief of flower garden standing out against the orange walls of the houses.
Known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Roussillon is unmistakable for the facades of its houses, coloured yellow, orange and red, which distinguish it from the other villages of the Luberon. It is the only village in the area where dry stonework does not predominate.
During your walk through the village, you will discover Place du Pasquier, Place de l’Abbé Avon and Place de la Forge. At the level of the old gate of the medieval fortified wall, you will encounter the bell tower rebuilt in the 19th century.
On the left, you can reach the old walkway, the Castrum, from which there are lovely views of the village and surrounding countryside.
Legend has it that this land turned reddish because of the blood shed by the suicide of the beautiful Sirmonde, wife of Raymonde of Avignon. The maiden threw herself from the top of the cliffs out of grief after her husband killed her lover, a young and dashing Provençal troubadour.
In fact, this corner of the Luberon was home to the largest ochre quarry in Europe. Once it was abandoned, it was the work of time, weather and atmospheric erosion that created a magical landscape that seems to have been modelled by the hand of a sculptor.
In the Ochre Path all the shades of reds, oranges and yellows have found refuge in the soils and rocks that make up the Valley of the Fairies and the Giants’ Crags, rock formations with bold shapes and intense colours. A walking trail will take you on a discovery of this wonderful valley that was created millions of years ago through weather erosion.
There are two routes to visit the Ochre Trail, one lasting 30 minutes and the other about 1 hour that will take you to admire the magnificent Giant’s Causeway. The trail begins with a flight of steps leading down into the heart of this former disused quarry. The contrast between the red of the rocks and the green of the trees is absolutely magnificent.
Open to the public from mid-February to December, this site offers the possibility of following the natural path of the earth: panels are installed along the entire route providing information on the formation and extraction of ochre. If you want to visit it quietly and without crowds, go early in the morning or at lunchtime.
Due to the erosion still taking place, the paths are covered with a soft, fine coloured powder that will stick to shoes and clothes, so light and delicate clothing is not recommended. Wear shoes that are comfortable but above all washable, because you will re-emerge with coloured feet.
The weather in this area is very variable and subject to sudden changes, with frequent downpours. We therefore advise you to proceed immediately with the exploration of the trail, if you find beautiful sunshine to greet you on your arrival: better to postpone your visit to the village until later.
Just 20 km from Roussillon, there is another colourful corner surrounded by nature. Originally an ochre quarry, Rustrel is famous for its Colorado Provenzale, a canyon with impressive and sensational relief in the shape of fairy chimneys, shaped over the centuries by atmospheric agents.
Unlike the Ochre Trail, which is easily accessible to all with a structured route organised with ladders and footbridges, Rustrel is an unspoilt nature area, to be discovered via several hiking trails of varying length and difficulty.
With its colourful houses, green landscapes and ancient quarries, it is an unmissable destination in Provence. In summer, the village is taken by storm, but in the evening it empties out almost completely. To fully experience the charming Provençal atmosphere, you can choose a charming hotel or B&B in this timeless village.
Alternatively, you could choose to visit it on a day trip, using Avignon as your base, which is only a 1-hour drive away.
The small village can be reached almost exclusively by car. If you land at Marseille Airport, you can rent a car there and drive to Roussillon in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can arrive at Nice Airport and reach the village in 2 hours 45 minutes.
What's the weather at Roussillon? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Roussillon for the next few days.
The village of Roussillon is located in the Vaucluse department, 50 km from Avignon and 60 from Aix-en-Provence.