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A Photographic Tour of Roussillon

December 21, 2011

(Cliquez ici pour lire une traduction de cet article en français:

During the month my wife and I spent in Provence and the Côte d’Azur, in October of 2011, we set aside a day to visit the spectacular hill town of Roussillon. Roussillon lies in the heart of the region known as the Luberon, a large and mountainous area to the north of Aix-en-Provence which occupies a part of the department of the Vaucluse. The drive to Roussillon from Aix, where we had rented an apartment, is about 40 miles but can take well over an hour even by the most direct route. The narrow roads wind around hills and through picturesque valleys, running past or through other hill towns such as Bonnieux and Lourmarin, which are themselves eminently worthy of a stop or a day trip.
Roussillon sits on massive deposits of red, orange and yellow ochre. The colors of the ochre result from the presence of large quantities of hydrated and anhydrous iron oxides which were deposited over 100 million years ago when the land that is now Provence was part of the seabed. One of the first sights which the traveller sees upon entering Roussillon is a large ochre cliff immediately opposite the eastern side of the town (click on any photo in this posting to see a larger version):

A short walk from the town up the hill along the top of this cliff brings you to the ochre quarries, where for centuries the colorful building materials from which the town was constructed were obtained. In the quarries are many colorful and fanciful stone shapes such as these:

From the top of the cliff there is a striking view of the town:


Inside the town itself, the red, orange and yellow colors of the ochre dominate:

As in so many towns in Provence, there is a beautiful clock tower, made in this case of the same red ochre materials one sees elsewhere in Roussillon:

I couldn’t resist taking a photo through the archway in the clock tower from the other side:

Every street in the town bears witness to the ubiquitous ochre materials:

Doors, windows and shutters are also strikingly colored to match or contrast with the prevailing ochre colors of the walls:

It does not take long to see why this town is included in the official list of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France). A visit to Roussillon is an unforgettable experience.

The photos shown in this article and other photos of Roussillon and of other towns and villages in Provence and the Côte d’Azur are available for viewing and purchase in full original resolution in the gallery Provence-Côte d’Azur on my photography website, Phil Haber Photography. For additional information about my photography, please see my photography Facebook page.

Phil Haber

Copyright © 2013 Philip A. Haber

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