Roussillon, land of Ochre

  • Rustrel © HOCQUEL A. / Coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Colorado Provencal © HOCQUEL A. / Coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Mines de Bruoux © HOCQUEL A. / Coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme
  • Mines de Bruoux © HOCQUEL A. / Coll. ADT Vaucluse Tourisme

Roussillon, the red and orange village

Roussilon in VaucluseLocated 10 kilometres west of Apt and 50 kilometres from Avignon, Roussillon was the capital of ochre until 1945.


This small village, classified as “One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France”, blends into the surrounding cliffs. As you walk through the narrow streets and enjoy the small squares, you see and feel the colour that is an inherent part of its history.





It all goes back to the sea which once covered the area. When the sea dried up several million years ago, pouring rain slowly transformed the accumulated layers of limestone into ochre-bearing sands.

Ochre was first used as a natural paint in the painted caves that prehistoric man embellished. It was later rediscovered at the time of the French Revolution, and was sold throughout the world for over a century. Ochre is a natural pigment with indelible colour.

After falling into disuse for 50 years, it is now enjoying a much-deserved revival. Its natural components, its vibrant and long-lasting colours make ochre a wonderful material to use in home decoration, but also in painting and ceramics. Places such as the Ochre Conservatory Okhra in Roussillon offer a vast selection of training workshops to learn how to use them.