Roussillon is a town of Vaucluse, in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, 25 km northeast of Cavaillon.
The town became in the second half of the twentieth century the second most visited village in the Luberon, after Gordes, particularly because of its singular charm that gives it the ocher color of its houses.
In the Middle Ages Roussillon is however still a stronghold with a small castle and church of which depends on the Abbey of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. But soon the Ancien Régime, through the operation of quarries and the installation of plant, ocher Roussillon becomes the first wealth of the territory. The ferric rock in shades ranging from yellow to red notably allows to dye fabrics and the industry employs more than one thousand workers until after the First War.
The beauty of the old quarries now converted into walking areas, the picturesque market town and the greenery of the surrounding countryside (or wooded hills covered with vines) then allow tourism to develop.
Throughout the year and especially in summer, thousands of visitors enjoy every day to walk the streets of the town that has joined the circle of the most beautiful villages in France and contemplate the spectacular landscape formed by quarrying... Pearl of the Luberon, this small massif that connects the Rhone valley to Provençal Alps, Roussillon (about 1300 inhabitants) is simply a wonderful "unavoidable".
Before the village, when you get the southeast in the town, site on the site of old quarries which offers a landscape worthy of a western, is obviously a first step that is required (a large car park being built at close, then we can win the village itself).
For visitors, a "ocher trail" was designed dotted with educational signs that explain the origin of the rock, its operations, erosion has also played a role in shaping the paths and reliefs, besides the flora successful in this extraordinary setting, to flourish. Two courses are offered (long of 30 or 60 minutes) integrating the most remarkable points ("needles", "Giant"). Warning: it is now forbidden to collect every bit of rock!
A conservatory of ochres and pigments located in an old factory can complete the visit, with exhibitions, workshops and conferences dedicated to the manufacture of ocher, geology, techniques used by painters, weavers and other artisans using this amazing raw material. Open daily except January. Entrance: 1.50 and 2.50 euros, 7.50 euros with the entrance to the conservatory. Information at +33 4 90 05 66 69.
Then direction the village, slightly raised, through which a main street leading to the top. It consists of houses with colorful facades dating mainly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and where many shops and galleries are located, trade development has not affected the beauty and picturesque places.
Throughout this walk are thus successively see the place du Pasquier who acts successively instead of grazing, fairground, school yard and parking now and then instead of Abbé Avon where the oven baker was carved into a rock.
Raised at the old gate of the fortified medieval walls, the belfry rebuilt in the nineteenth century became the annex church steeple. On the left, it is possible to reach the old rampart walk (from where one enjoys fine views over the village and the surrounding countryside). See then, instead of the Forge, which was in the tenth century the first castle courtyard.
Nearby, the Saint-Michel medieval foundation was heavily reworked especially for security purposes, the building next to a cliff... Note the facade of the seventeenth century, the choir eighteenth, and within, the paintings, a statue of St. Michael the wooden baptismal font framed by a stone canopy. Very close to the edge of the cliff (though the site is secure) a viewpoint is located to enjoy the wonderful panorama that encompasses the Luberon mountains.
The eighteenth century houses in the town hall square, the fountain of cattle instead of the Post and below the village, the Naiad fountain further complements this route. Obviously, besides the food shops can be plenty of time to make steps: craft shops, galleries...
In summer, guided tours of the village are proposed. Departure from the place du Pasquier. Information at +33 4 90 05 60 25.
Other walks or hikes are proposed including woodland (pines, oaks), small peaks, heritage features and the vineyards of the municipal area, large 30 km². Several sectors are also known for their ecological wealth. Maps and information +33 4 90 05 60 25 or +33 4 90 74 03 18.
It may be relevant also to contact the Luberon Regional Nature Park that program regularly exhibitions, conferences, themed walks and activities. Information at +33 4 90 04 42 00.
Finally, note that play a tennis match is possible in the town. Join the local club at +33 4 90 05 65 46.