The Ochre Footpath of Roussillon, Vaucluse visitors guide
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On the edge of the charming village of Roussillon in the Luberon region of Provence you can explore the historic Ochre mines next to the village, now listed as a conservation area.
Explore the Ochre Footpath through the Ochre mines of Roussillon
France This Way comment: the chance to visit old mine workings may not sound very exciting, but the Ochre mines at Roussillon are now eroded into remarkable shapes, the rocks have spectacular colours and are surrounded by lovely woodlands, and a visit to follow one of the paths that leads through the mines is now a highlight of your visit to the Luberon.
The Ochre mines are just a short walk from the centre of Roussillon village, easy to reach on foot and clearly signposted. You can also see the red cliff that is on one edge of the mines from the centre of the village, so they are very easy to find!
You pay a small charge to enter the mines then choose between two marked trails that you can follow. According to the information the path marked with yellow arrows takes 35 minutes and the path marked by red arrows takes 50 minutes: we thought they took a bit less time than this, but you will want to stop and take lots of photographs so might take longer. We recommend you take the longer path.
Both of the paths have uphill and downhill sections but are otherwise easy to follow and you will not need walking shoes but yu might like to carry water if the day is hot!
There are various information boards about the geology and history of the mines along the path, as well as benches where you can sit and enjoy the landscapes.
After exploring the mines if you would like to learn more about ochre and what it is used for you can visit the factory just outside the village called the Conservatoire des Ocres et de la Couleur.
There are several other places in the Luberon where you can see Ochre mines including:
- the Colorado de Rustrel, another historic Ochre mine and about 20 kilometres east of Roussillon at Rustrel;
- the Mines de Bruoux at Gargas, a few kilometres east of Roussillon, where you can enter the subterranean ochre mines and follow several hundred metres along the tunnels where the ochre was extracted.
Of course you will also want to explore the village of Roussillon while you are here: it is classified among the "most beautiful villages of France" and is one of our favourite Provencal villages. Other indispensable visits nearby include the village of Gordes, the Village de Bories with its traditional stone dwellings, and the village and castle at Lacoste.
Map of The Ochre Footpath of Roussillon and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Roussillon: most beautiful village
- Abbaye de Sénanque (Gordes): religious monument (7 km)
- Gordes: most beautiful village (7 km)
- Jardin de la Louve: remarkable garden (9 km)
- Apt: recommended detour (9 km)
- Menerbes: most beautiful village (10 km)
- Venasque: most beautiful village (16 km)
- Luberon: regional natural parc (16 km)
- Colorado Provencal: site of natural beauty (16 km)
- Gorges de la Nesque: site of natural beauty (16 km)
- Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges (Sorgues): religious monument (16 km)
- Lourmarin: most beautiful village (17 km)
Market days in The Ochre Footpath of Roussillon, France
Regular market(s) are held in The Ochre Footpath of Roussillon each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at The Ochre Footpath of Roussillon (Francais)