Deep red cliffs, green pines and pure blue skies combine to artistic effect in the little ridge-top village of Roussillon. It’s set in a broad valley where rich deposits of ochre have tinted the ground into a painterly sunset scene of oranges, yellows and reds.
The village stands alone on a ridge, surrounded by this surreal landscape, its twisting streets lined with artists' and ceramicists' workshops, cafés and picturesque houses. Understandably, it’s a popular destination, but our specialists can help you experience this little village at its quietest and most atmospheric.
Roussillon lies within the Parc Naturel Regional du Lubéron, a regional park which now protects the surrounding landscape once so heavily mined for its ochre deposits. The pigment, which can range from yellow to red, was mined here from the end of the 18th century to about 1930 and was used mainly in textiles and paints.
Where quarries and factories once stood, the landscape is now still, and fields of vines, and cherry and peach trees have sprung up between stands of chestnut and pine trees. It's a desert-like landscape in places, shaped by the extraction of the pigment, splashed by rich tones and dotted with pockets of growth.
Mined to depths that have left the little village sitting on the top of a lonely ridge, Roussillon has replaced heavy industry with artistic living. The streets are lined with higgledy-piggledy houses, galleries, workshops and restaurants and painted in an array of reds, yellows, oranges and pinks.
Although commercial mining has long since ceased, many artists and ceramicists work here and open their galleries and workshops to visitors. The village's most noted inhabitant was Irish playwright and poet Samuel Beckett. He lived here for a time during World War II, hiding from the Germans and helping the local resistance, and he mentions the village in his play Waiting for Godot
The Sentier des Ocres (Ochre Trail) offers two walks through the surreal local landscape. Information panels along the route offer details on flowers and plants you might see and the history of ochre extraction in the region.
Suggested itineraries featuring Roussillon
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Roussillon, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Roussillon
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Roussillon
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- Ménerbes 11 kilometers away
- L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 20 kilometers away
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 40 kilometers away
- Avignon 40 kilometers away
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region 41 kilometers away
- Aix-en-Provence 44 kilometers away
- Les-Baux-de-Provence 44 kilometers away
- Orange 47 kilometers away
- Arles 60 kilometers away
- Pont-du-Gard 61 kilometers away
- Uzès 71 kilometers away
- Provence 75 kilometers away
- Saint-Tropez 130 kilometers away
- The French Riviera 131 kilometers away
- Grasse 134 kilometers away
- Rhône-Alpes 142 kilometers away
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence 149 kilometers away
- Antibes 152 kilometers away
- Nice 159 kilometers away
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 166 kilometers away
- Èze 167 kilometers away
- Monaco and Monte Carlo 173 kilometers away
- Lyon 210 kilometers away
- Talloires 228 kilometers away
- Annecy 233 kilometers away
- Chamonix 249 kilometers away
- Dordogne 298 kilometers away
- Sarlat-la-Canéda 343 kilometers away
- La Roque-Gageac 343 kilometers away
- Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 346 kilometers away
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- Alsace 453 kilometers away
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