Provence Region III: Rousillion


The next stop during our tour of the Provence region was the small town of Rousillion, a bright and colorful village perched up on a hill set amongst a green backdrop of pine trees and an almost jungle like forest.


The drive from Gordes brought us down into the valley along a narrow winding road that passed through scenic farmland known to the region. It was here that we saw the fields of lavender mentioned in my previous post, along with several vineyards and mkre than a few olive orchards. Something else of note during the drive was when began our approach of the town itself. Here we passed a small cluster of trees growing in mounds of dirt that were as yellow as tumeric spice. The color was so bright against the surrounding green that it almost shown like a beacon from the side of the road. I had never seen anything like it and had to pull over and take a picture. The trees might be olives but I'm not sure. As for the yellow dirt, I can only guess that it is ocre, a pigment common within the region.


Rousillion is located in hills of Luberon and the heart of one of the largest ocre deposits in the world. Ocre is a natural clay earth pigment that comes in a variety of colors ranging from bright yellow to deep red. All of the homes and buildings in town have been washed in a traditional ocre rendering making it truly unique in its appearance.



Its colorful buildings of red, yellow and orange make it unlike any other city that I've been to in France and it's quite easy to see why it made the list of one of Frances most beautiful villages.


The town hall building stands in the main square next to the post office and a few quaint looking restaurants. I personally love the color combination of the green shutters against the redish-orange exterior.


The whole town reminded me of one of those inspiration pamphlets that you can find at any paint store, the ones meant to show you which colors go well with each other, which compliment and which contrast. This dark blue-green color really contrasts nicely with the red and orange and seemed to be a theme within the small village.


Even the the cats in town seem to compliment the the color of their surroundings, though this one didn't seem all that pleased to have his picture taken.


I think this guy was feral by the looks of him. It looks like his ears and around his nose are full of mites. He didn't seem uncomfortable or anything but it still makes me sad.


The town itself is quite small and it doesn't take long to wander through its streets and take in everything it has to offer.


There are a few interesting shops though, like the one above that specializes in balsamic vinegar. There are also several art galleries and workshops and many stores selling pure pigments made from ocre mined in the area.


Among the other sites is an old church dating back to the 11th century and a bell tower marking the entrance of an old fortified part of the town called the Castrum.


We saw this old Mini parked in front of the church. I'm not sure what the significance is of the live green garland draped over its hood but we thought it was pretty cool nonetheless.



We didn't spend a great deal of time here at this location, maybe an hour or two just to see it and take some photographs.


Our trips tend not to be the type where you stay in one place for very long. As such, they tend not to be very relaxing. I guess we prefer the type of trip that is constantly on the go, where you see a lot in a short period of time. Rousillion for us was like Gordes, the type of place where you see what you want to see and then you moved on to the next location.


So again, we basically just wandered around town for an hour or so then headed off to our next location.


One last thing of note is that at the height of the city there is a platform with a really great view of the town itself and the valley below.



Another location also has a view of the ocre cliffs and old mine located next to Rousillion. The location in the distance was also the location of our first hike for the day in the "Sentiers de Ocres." But that will be the subject of a future post.


Well, that's it for now. If you're interested in reading more about the Provence region then stayed tuned for my next post on our hike in the Sentier des Ocres. You can also check out my last post by clicking in the link below. Thanks for reading!

The Hilltop Town of Gordes

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