Best Things to Do in Roussillon, Provence

Located in Provence, between the natural park of the Luberon and the Vaucluse mountains, is Roussillon, one of the most beautiful villages in France.

It is one of the towns that seduce all types of visitors.

Whether you want to walk the Ochre Trail, wander its ancient streets or visit the village where the writer Samuel Beckett hid during World War II, this wonderful place has a lot to offer.

You must let yourself be carried away by its streets and contemplate the simple facades of ocher colors.

Plan a one or two-day getaway to this beautiful village in the south of France in the heart of Provence.

View of Roussillon

Walking through the Historic Center

Before leaving to discover the surroundings of Roussillon and its geological wonders, I recommend you visit the village’s center.

The history of this town dates back to Roman times. It was a small village in the Middle Ages, and the place grew in modern times thanks to the richness of its soil.

Today, this picturesque village is a treasure of Provençal heritage.

streets of Roussillon, Provence

Therefore, first, you have to get lost among its colorful houses. During your walk to visit Roussillon, you will discover

  • Place du Pasquier,
  • Place de l’Abbé Avon
  • and Place de la Forge.

At the height of the old gate of the medieval fortified enclosure, you will also admire the tower rebuilt in the 19th century.

On the left, it is possible to join the old footbridge, the Castrum, from where you will enjoy beautiful views of the village and the surrounding countryside.

Visit the Place de la Mairie, Roussillon

Roussillon is perched on a hillside, and the buildings and squares fit perfectly into the site’s relief, like a jigsaw puzzle of traditional houses.

At the top of the hill is the place de la Mairie or Town Hall Square.

The Town Hall itself is postcard-perfect, but it is also a place to sit for a while and recharge your batteries, especially in the hot summer months.

It is also an excellent place to sit at one of the terraces or cafes in the square.

Visit the Church of Saint Michel

In the highest part of the village, and on the cliffside, you can visit the church of Saint-Michel.

Outside, you will admire its 17th-century façade, its 18th-century choir, and inside, paintings and a wooden statue of Saint-Michel.

Right next to the church, on the cliff’s edge, you will find an orientation table and a fantastic panoramic view of the Luberon mountains.

Walking the Sentier des Ocres (Ochre Trail)

The Ochre Trail, or “le Sentier des Ocres” in French, is a path through one of the old ochre quarries of Roussillon.

And it is one of the things to see and do in Roussillon, as the French say, an “incotournable.”

There are two trails to choose from, one that takes 30 minutes and a longer one that takes an hour on foot.

The trail starts in the heart of the village, and along the way, you will find explanatory panels.

Read them to learn more about the geology, flora and fauna, history, and the Luberon ochre massif.

It is an excellent way to discover the ancient ochre deposits and see the red sand, birds, and other animals up close.

In addition, you will see this fascinating landscape that mixes cliffs, fairy chimneys, and mounds of ochre-colored sand.

Many are formed by wind erosion and rainwater, but men dug them with picks and shovels in the past.

sentier d' Ocres de Roussillon en Provence

Visiting hours of the Sentier des Ocres

In the summer months, during the high tourist season, the trail opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 7:30 p.m.

However, during the winter, it opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., so check the website for hours on your travel date.

Children under 10 years of age are free; otherwise, the entrance fee is 2.50€.

Visiting the Ecomuseum of Ochre

On your visit to Roussillon in the Luberon, you must also visit Okhra, the ecomuseum of ochre.

Here you will learn more about the industrial adventure of this region in this former Camille Mathieu factory, abandoned in the 1950s and restored to learn about the history of this place.

Ochre has been used since prehistoric times; it has been here since the occupation of Provence by the Romans.

Later, thanks to the intuition of Jean Étienne Astier, it became a true local industrial product. The ochre sands were then washed to extract the famous pigment.

This ecomuseum will allow you to learn more about this process, but also about the history of the region.

You will see the washing systems, ovens, and mills, which have been restored. It is fascinating to visit.

In addition, visits and technical courses are organized there. So be sure to visit it during your stay!

Rock formations and trees in Roussillon

Visiting Art Galleries

Roussillon is surrounded by such stunning scenery that artists have made this town their home over the years, and there are some eight art galleries scattered throughout the town.

The renowned writer Samuel Beckett hid from the Germans in Roussillon for three years at the end of World War II between 1942 and 1945.

He was very committed to helping the French Resistance in Paris and had to flee from the Gestapo.

What Roussillon is famous for

Roussillon stands out among the beautiful villages that you will find in Provence. It stands out for its unique color from the ochre deposits surrounding the town.

The ocher color that you will see on the facades of the houses is given to provide more resistance to heat and sun. And it creates a striking contrast with the cypress trees that dot the town and surrounding area.

The ochre deposits of Roussillon were not only crucial for the construction of the village houses.

Ochre mining has been the main economic activity in this region since the 18th century.

Large quantities were mined until the middle of the 20th century when the mines were gradually closed in this area.

Today, the extraction of ochre is prohibited to protect the site’s natural history. Tourism has become the main industry.

What to see in the area around Roussillon

The Julien Bridge (5.5 km)

Located on via Domitia, a Roman road that linked Narbonne to Turin, this ancient bridge is 80 meters long, 6 meters wide, and 11.5 meters high.

It is composed of three arches and is located south of the village of Roussillon. It was built with limestone from the Luberon quarries.

Downstream, you can discover the trace of the old road, clearly visible for 6 kilometers, and upstream, the Roquefure gorges.

Lavender fields (in the surrounding area)

Throughout Roussillon, you can discover magnificent vineyards but also lavender fields.

In the country of Sault, a neighbor of the most beautiful village in France, you can enjoy magnificent walks in the middle of this magnificent landscape of mauve or violet flowers.

In particular, you can follow the “Lavender Trail” or Sentier des Lavandes to discover this beautiful area.

Gordes (10 km)

Gordes

After discovering this village and the colorful landscapes surrounding it, don’t miss the charming neighboring town of Gordes. The latter is another attraction of the Luberon Natural Park!

Also ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, Gordes rises in front of the Luberon massif.

This hilltop village is home to the magnificent abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, surrounded by lavender fields. When you visit Roussillon, don’t miss this magnificent treasure of Vaucluse.

Lourmarin (23 km)

Village of Lourmarin

Very close to the Luberon National Park is another of the most beautiful villages in France. Most beautiful villages in France. Lourmarin is another medieval town that captivates tourists.

Surrounded by olive and almond trees, this pretty village is characterized by its typical Mediterranean narrow alleys, beautiful shaded squares, and fountains.

The gastronomy is the highlight of this village because it has many restaurants serving traditional food of Provence and has two restaurants in the area in the Michelin Guide.

Pont Du Gard (70 km)

The Pont Du Gard, 26 km from Avignon, is one of the tourist attractions that you should not miss. The Pont Du Gard is one of the most important Roman aqueducts in Europe.

In fact, it is the second-best preserved after the Segovia aqueduct.

Avignon (56 km)

Avignon bridge Rhône river

You will find Avignon just 35 miles from Roussillon and located on the banks of the Rhone River in the beautiful Provence region.

This city was the papal see from 1309 to 1377, which made it, at the time, the most powerful city in Europe.

You will be able to appreciate its outstanding architectural and cultural heritage that has been maintained in excellent condition until today.

Plus, there are plenty of impressive Gothic buildings you’ll want to visit.

There will be no shortage of things to do in Avignon to discover its past and enjoy its present.

Aix-en-Provence (60 km)

typical street of Aix en Provence

Aix-en-Provence is, a city of approximately 143,000 inhabitants, is an ideal place to discover due to the wide tourist offer it presents.

You can find diverse natural attractions such as limestone mountains or wine fields to cultural attractions such as the Aix Cathedral or the Granet Museum. In addition, there is a room dedicated to the painter Cézanne.

How to Get to Roussillon

Located in the heart of the Luberon Natural Park, Roussillon is fortunately easy to reach from the surrounding villages. You can arrive by car, bus or even by bicycle!

By plane: You can land at Montpellier airport or Marseille-Provence airport.

You can then go to Cavaillon or Avignon by bus or train. From these towns, you can take a local bus line to go easily to Roussillon.

On the price side, remember to check the offers on a flight comparator type Skyscanner to benefit from the best offer according to your departure dates.

You can follow the D900 road from Avignon if you come by car. The trip takes only 50 minutes from this city. The A9 highway passes nearby.

From Carpentras to the northwest, you can follow the D4, then the D177, the D244, and finally the D4 to Roussillon.

From Salon-de-Provence, take highway 17, exit at Cavaillon, and then join the D900 to reach Roussillon.

Where to Stay in Roussillon

If you plan to visit Roussillon, you will inevitably wonder where to stay. Fortunately, you won’t run out of options in this most beautiful village in France.

You will find many establishments in this beautiful village, whether in a hotel, a hostel, a campsite, or even a motorhome area.

Hotel Les Ambres

The hotel Les Ambres is located 1.5 kilometers from the center of the village of Roussillon.

It has 17 rooms decorated in Provencal style, free wifi, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

This hotel is an excellent place to use as an HQ for visiting Roussillon, Gordes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, and Menerbes.

Les Sables D’Ocre

Les Sables D’Ocre is located in one hectare of the Luberon natural park. It is only 5 minutes walk from the village of Roussillon.

It has a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with terrace and green areas. And free secure parking for your vehicle.

It is ideal for cycling or walking routes in the area.

Parking in Roussillon

Parking is limited in the center, so to save time, park your car in the assigned spots before the entrance to the village.

Parking costs €2/day.

I recommend you go early in the morning to find a place, especially during the high season.

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