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Colorado provençal ©COQUARD M

Magnificent walk through the Provençal Colorado

in the heart of the Luberon’s ochre cliffs

Rustrel’s very own Colorado – the Wild West comes to Provence

In the mood for warmth, magic and escape?
This unique walk in the heart of the Luberon, 2 hours from Marseille, is perfect to share with your significant other.

Duration :

1 day

Price:

de 5€ to 12€

Type:

Hiking

Parking :

paid

Summary

  • Formerly a semi-natural ochre quarry, the French Colorado displays a stretch of rocky cliffs in thousands of colours
  • This place is home to the wildest ochres – the perfect setting for a stroll hand-in-hand with your significant other
  • Magical and unusual all at once, it is often used for film sets
  • You can walk, cycle, or visit on horseback

Ochre as far as the eye can see!

As soon as you’ve parked under the shade of the pine forest, you’ll be blown away by the view of the orange cliffs which rise up in a majestic backdrop. Take a moment to admire this breathtaking view of the park, with its red-orange ochre hues.
At the end of the path, the open-air site reveals itself in all its grandeur, with a palette of 20 shades of ochre. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the iron industry was the beating heart of Rustrel, followed by the ochre industry from 1871 onwards. These activities shaped the site, which stretches to almost 4 km.
Visitors are immediately struck by the beauty of this landscape, reminiscent of the Wild West with its mountainous peaks, cliffs and points. Every now and then, there’s a dramatic change of scene, from ochre wilderness to rocky moonscape!

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A
Stroll in Colorado Provençal – ©HOCQUEL A

Expert advice

Remember to bring a hat, sun cream, water, and comfortable shoes. Avoid wearing white clothes – the ochre pigments don’t wash out easily!

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A
Stroll in Colorado Provençal – ©HOCQUEL A

The world is yours to discover

The vivid ochre palette against the azure sky is simply magical. Amongst dunes and cliffs, with hoodoos looming high above you, you’ll feel rather small!
Luckily, your other half is there to share this beautiful spectacle with you.
It’s time to get up a little higher – climb up to crests and lookout points to get an unobstructed 360-degree view – the perfect photo op!

It’s no wonder that this site serves as a film set – it is a must-see all on its own!

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A
Stroll in Colorado Provençal – ©HOCQUEL A
Coup de coeur

Love at first sight

Opt for the final few hours before sunset, when the colours are at their most dazzling!

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A
Stroll through Colorado Provençal – ©HOCQUEL A

LET TIME STAND STILL

In this idyllic setting, two signposted routes offer views that are truly “out of this world”

The 40-minute Sahara circuit presents a selection of the site’s wonders – we never get tired of it. Alternatively, go for the grand tour of lookout points. The unique scenery is literally served to you on a plate!

This longer route unveils all the site’s geological curiosities and the full range of its charms: white desert, fairy chimneys or hoodoos, and glowing red cliffs.
Breathtaking…

Don’t forget

In this very sunny part of the site, sunglasses are a must. So is a camera – you won’t be able to put it down!

Balade au Colorado Provençal

Remnants of an industrial heritage

A journey through time

Many remnants from the industrial era can still be found in Provence’s Colorado.
You’ll be taken back in time to nearly half a century ago and see pipes, settling tanks, brick huts, and the engines of pumps that were used to wash the ochre – all handcrafted by workers at the time.

On your way back, take the time to admire the little aqueduct that carries water captured in the ochre cliffs towards a fountain in the village

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A

The funnels which run along the paths were used to wash the ochre.

Video

A landscape filled with nuanced shapes and colours.

Provence’s Colorado has a rich geological and industrial history which visitors can contemplate.
To learn more, check out this video which takes you through the sights and sounds of the red dunes, with “Carnets de Rando” (walking guide).

SPEND A ROMANTIC EVENING IN A RESTORED FORGE

Prolong your experience in Colorado by spending a night in a historical former forge, now a charming guesthouse. This enchanting place is the perfect destination for a couple’s weekend.

Just 2km from the village of Rustrel, this haven of peace invites its guests into the heart of the Provence Colorado historical site. This imposing stone building has been entirely renovated, but its walls still bear witness to its industrial past.

With its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, pool and tastefully decorated rooms, it’s not to be missed. From the moment you arrive, you are welcomed by Kate, who makes for a sweet and attentive hostess.

La Forge, maison d'hôtes de charme en Luberon
Coup de coeur

Love at first sight

In the haven of peace that is La Forge, start off your sunny day with bread and fresh croissants, delicious fruit salad and homemade yoghurt.

Balade au Colorado Provençal - ©HOCQUEL A
Stroll in Colorado Provençal – ©HOCQUEL A

Ochre activities

The ochre footpath (“Sentier des ocres”) in Roussillon

A true geological curiosity, the open air ochre quarries in Roussillon contribute to making this village one of the most renowned in France.

Ochre activities

Ôkhra – Écomusée de l’Ocre

Housed in the former Mathieu ochre factory, Ôkhra uncovers the secrets of mining and manufacturing the many nuanced shades of this natural pigment.
A must-see!

Ochre activities

The Bruoux Mines in Gargas

A real cathedral of colour sculpted by ochre workers in the Pays d’Apt, the Bruoux mines will lead you on a subterranean journey to find out about the mining of ochre.

Practical Information

Access by car from Apt via the D22

Parking (at the entry to the site under the pine forest): €5

Several bus lines available departing from Apt:
– N° 16 and 16S1
– N°109 and N° 24L1