Classed as ‘one of the most beautiful villages of France’, Roussillon is truly an exceptionally unique place. The houses mirror earth tones from the ancient quarry creating an artist’s palette of yellow, orange, red, brown and pink nuances set against the pure blue sky and surrounded by rich green pine trees –impressive anytime of the year.
I first visited Roussillon as a child and kept fond memories of the unusual place for years before visiting again with friends and our children…
We park in the village and head through the streets commenting on the attractive colours of the houses and how the blue and violet doors and shutters contrast with the ochre coloured walls. We pass by art workshops, galleries and exhibitions, promising to buy a souvenir for the kids after their favourite lavender ice-cream but as we spot such lovely looking restaurants, we plan to ditch our picnic in the car for a fine meal with a view. You will certainly work up an appetite on the ochre trail or you will at least want to quench your thirst with an ice cold beverage.
Tip 1: Book a table before you go on the hike, there are a lot of tourists having the same idea!
Tip 2: Take a big bottle of water with you for the hike. There is a fountain at the top of the hill before the entrance where you can fill it up.
Tip 3: Don’t wear white, unless you want to walk out looking like a clown!
The Ochre Trail
The ancient quarry of Roussillon is the largest in Europe and makes such an interesting hike. There are informative panels along the trail explaining the methods used for extraction but a game of ‘Red Light, Green Light’ keeps the children going and playing warriors with ‘ochre war paint’ makes it all the more interesting.
There is the possibility to extend your trip by visiting the 5 acres of the Conservatoire des Ocres. Once a pigment treatment factory, you can now learn about the ancient methods and join an initiation workshop in natural painting – if you opt for a guided tour of the quarry this will be included.
–Saint Michel Church
–The clock tower
-Wander the streets
-Visit the castle and enjoy fabulous panoramic views
–The ochre trail on foot takes about 1 hour. Cost: 2€50 and free for children under 10. Open mid Feb-mid Dec
– Conservatoire des Ocres
-Cycle La Route des Ocres. Accessible to all. 50 km/10h30 through beautiful landscapes. Starts from Apt (13 km away) to Gargas (exceptional biodiversity) past the ancient ruins of Oppidum Gaulois to the Saint Radegonde chapel then to Cap de Villars ending up in Rustral.
Sade de Marquis castle
Quaint perched village
Stunning perched town, Sénanque Abbey, Neolithic settlement
Large town, truffle market
Home to Peter Mayle
How to get there
Train: Avignon (60mins)
Plane: Avignon (40mins). Marseille (1:10)
Car: See map
Fancy staying in Roussillon?
Contact us for more details or take a look at some other stunning properties to rent in Provence.