Horizon ProvenceDiscover Provence
Luberon [fr] Luberon [en]


Roussillon ocher village in Provence

Roussillon > The Ochres trail > Laurence Wylie > Photos > Informations

Roussillon © VF

Roussillon, the ochre village in Provence

Roussillon is a village in the Vaucluse region located in the Luberon Regional Natural Park, it is built on an elevation slightly off the road that connects the cities of Apt and Avignon, and, in Roman times, the ancient Via Domitia linking Spain to Italy.

The landscape around Roussillon is surprisingly beautiful: the ochre-toned village covers the top of a hill covered with a pine forest with deep greens. Under the azure blue sky, the earth explodes in a firework display of colours. Roussillon is classified among the most beautiful villages in France.

"Roussillon Luberon Provence Roussillon Luberon Provence

This particularity of Roussillon has been known since antiquity: the name Roussillon comes from "roussoulus" which means "red furrow" in Latin. The first known occupants of the village of Roussillon have a Greek origin, around 450 BC. .

The ochre facades of the houses, patinated by the sun and wind, give a unique character to the village of Roussillon.

There are still some remains of the ramparts, and the ruins of the old castle that once dominated the village are now part of more modern buildings.

The village square is alive with pretty shops and friendly restaurants. The Clock Tower marks the entrance to the old town, the church of Saint Michel is built at the top of the village on the edge of a cliff, its facade is from the 17th century. An orientation table helps you to enjoy a beautiful view of the Vaucluse mountains.

The Ochres trail

Legend has it that the colours of the Roussillon rock come from the blood of Lady Sermonde, who precippered herself from the top of the cliff when she learned that she had eaten the heart of her lover, whom her jealous and cruel husband Raymond d'Avignon had served her.

The Roussillon hills are made up of quartz sands, to which oxides give an infinite variety of shades of colour: from yellow to orange to pink, from red to purple.

Roussillon ochres were known and used since antiquity. With the industrialization in the 19th century, its exploitation became intensive to reach its maximum at the beginning of the 20th century. After the 1st World War, the production of ochres quickly declined in favour of chemical dyes, the exploitation definitively ceased shortly after the 2nd World War

Sentier des Ocres Roussillon photoSentier des Ocres Roussillon photo

The exploitation of ochres has had a profound impact on the landscape in Roussillon, deeply cutting into the coloured earth, creating its lunar reliefs and tormented cliffs, giving it a somewhat supernatural appearance. Tourists have now replaced minors. The ochre path (for a fee) allows you to enjoy the beauty of the landscape.

A village in Provence, the view of an ethnologist

An American ethnologist, Laurence Wylie, made several trips in the 1950s with her family (her wife and two young children) to the village of Roussillon. He published a book entitled "Village in the Vaucluse" in 1957 in which he described life in a village in Provence a few years before it became a major tourist. The author had renamed the village Peyranne and he takes us into the life of the village with a look of a sungular acuity coupled with kindness. In order not to shock the people of Roussillon, the French edition was delayed, "Un Village du Vaucluse" was published in 1961. The content of the book, distorted by the press, hurt Laurence Wylie's relationship with some of the village's inhabitants for some time. The book "Village in the Vaucluse" is a classic of ethnographic literature and an ideal way to discover the Provence of our parents and grandparents.

Visit of Roussillon in photos : slideshow

Accommodation and information about Roussillon

Selection of b&b for your stay Roussillon on Provence's B&B portal

Website of the Tourist Office: otroussillon

What to do and to see in Roussillon :

Coming to Roussillon in Provence

GPS coordinates N 43°54'10'' - E 5°17'32''

Location: 318 meters above sea level, 1,200 inhabitants, 5 miles from Goult, 6 miles from Apt, 6,5 miles from Bonnieux, 6 miles from Apt, 6,5 miles from Murs, 7 miles from Gordes, 10 miles from Ménerbes, 24 miles from Avignon.

Horizon Provence 2024

textes et photos

all rights reserved

Information is given only as an indication /p>

Discover Provence

Social network

Share on Facebook

Facebook partager


Facebook Horizon ProvenceInstagram Horizon Provence