As one of the most exquisite villages in France, Roussillon certainly lives up to its reputation. Perched on a ridge in Provence, charming residences in a range of ochre hues are surrounded by charming squares, streets, boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Take a day to explore the small village, take in the lovely church and bell tower, and go hiking on the Ochre Canyon route. Provence’s Roussillon region is unique in France and a must-see while visiting!
About Roussillon and its Le Sentier des Ocres Trail
It isn’t easy to top Roussillon’s beauty! The town is perched atop a ridge overlooking a profound canyon below. The valley and nearby rocks contain ochre, a naturally occurring clay originally mined from the canyon.
Ochre was the ideal material for the buildings here because of its range of colours. Because of this, residences in Roussillon range in colour from terracotta orange to dusky pink, warm yellow, and deep red, making the region as colourful as an artist’s palette. Painted entrances and vibrant shutters enhance each home.
Roussillon’s landscape is genuinely stunning, enhanced by the vivid green trees and the unobstructed blue sky of summer.
Visiting Le Sentier des Ocres (The Canyon)
The former ochre mine near Roussillon is Le Sentier des Ocres, or The Canyon. The canyon is bottomless because ochre, a natural clay, was mined there for many years. The valley is now a tourist walkway between the cliffs’ ridges and waves. The striking range of colours in the clay stretching across the pathway, ranging from dark browns to golden yellows and deep reds, is the most unique aspect. It isn’t easy to realise you’re in France at times!
The red hue of the soil in this place is the subject of numerous stories. Among the dramatic traditions is that it is the blood of Lady Sermond, who plunged off the cliffs following a dispute with her envious husband.
While strolling among the vibrant colours and taking in the breathtaking views from the trail, these stories are a stimulating conversation starter!
Routes and Opening Times
At “Le Sentier des Ocres,” there are two paths you can choose from. The shorter trip takes about thirty minutes, while the longer one takes about an hour.
Entry cost: €2.50
Hours of operation: Daily from mid-February through December. The route is open from 9 AM until 7.30 PM during the summer. Please be aware that the winter hours are considerably shorter and fluctuate.
Roussillon village in France
Walking around the small settlement won’t take long. Commence at Place de la Marie, the main square, and sip coffee in a restaurant while observing the residents doing their daily business. After that, meander through the winding lanes until you reach the stunning Eglise Saint Michel church. This quaint church is a great place to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of Roussillon, France. It features a clock tower with bells from the 19th century.
Many artists have been lured to Roussillon by its poetic surroundings, and many of them now call the area home. This is why there are so many excellent art galleries in this area. Numerous quaint stores offering lavender goods and other regional specialities are also present. Make room in your backpack for all the gifts and souvenirs you purchase!
Tip: Roussillon hosts a fantastic market featuring regional goods every Thursday. Savour the experience of procuring wine, charcuterie, and fresh produce.
How to get to Roussillon, Provence
Nestled deep within the Luberon natural regional park is Roussillon. It is incredibly secluded and serene, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Because there aren’t many connections to public transportation, driving is the most convenient way to reach Roussillon.
On the other hand, if you’re taking the train, get off at the “Cavaillon” station.
To see the area, you can also schedule a day trip. Usually, this includes your transportation and a tour guide. They depart from nearby cities like Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, or Avignon.
Where to Stay in Roussillon, France
Numerous individuals from major French cities such as Avignon or Marseille visit Roussillon daily. But for a few days, it’s a terrific spot to unwind and enjoy the charm and speed of French living.
Best Time to Visit Roussillon
Visiting Roussillon, Provence, is preferable when the ochre trail is accessible, as walking along is one of the most excellent things to do.
It’s best to visit in late spring or early summer when it’s not too hot, the route is dry, and you can take in the sun-drenched streets of Roussillon!