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 Régional 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.
Map of Roussillon
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Roussillon
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- Ménerbes 7 miles away
- L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 12 miles away
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 25 miles away
- Avignon 25 miles away
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region 26 miles away
- Aix-en-Provence 27 miles away
- Les-Baux-de-Provence 28 miles away
- Orange 30 miles away
- Arles 38 miles away
- Pont-du-Gard 38 miles away
- Uzès 45 miles away
- Provence 47 miles away
- Saint-Tropez 81 miles away
- The French Riviera 81 miles away
- Grasse 84 miles away
- Rhône-Alpes 88 miles away
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence 93 miles away
- Antibes 95 miles away
- Nice 99 miles away
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 103 miles away
- Èze 104 miles away
- Monaco and Monte Carlo 108 miles away
- Lyon 131 miles away
- Talloires 142 miles away
- Annecy 145 miles away
- Chamonix 155 miles away
- Dordogne 185 miles away
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- La Roque-Gageac 213 miles away
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