Roussillon Travel Guide
Roussillon is a lovely, ochre-stained village in the south of France, its houses bursting forth in stunning shades of yellow, orange and red. Which, however, is hardly surprising, for the village stands on a ridge in the Parc Naturel Regional du Lubéron, smack in the middle of one of the largest and richest deposits of ochre in the world. And while the natural pigments have mostly been replaced by synthetics, natural ochre continues to be highly prized, with the ochre factory on the periphery of Roussillon still producing around 2,000 metric tons of ochre annually. A lane from the center of the village leads directly to the ochre cliffs in the Val des Fées, or "Fairy Valley," where a marked path, Le Sentier des Aiguilles, offers a half-day hiking itinerary set out by the Lubéron Natural Regional Park that features informational signs describing the formation and uses of ochre. Roussillon itself is thoroughly atmospheric, largely pedestrian-only, with steep, narrow streets, some of them covered, dotted with quaint shops and outdoor cafés, especially popular during the summer months.
Roussillon is situated in a broad valley between the Monts du Vaucluse and the Petit Lubéron in the region of Provence in southeastern France, with the river Calavon running along its southern border. The closest railway station to it is in Cavaillon, and the nearest TGV high-speed train station in Avignon.
Roussillon's most famous resident was novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett, who hid out from the Germans in this village between 1942 and 1945. Beckett's novel Watt was written here, and in his famous play, Waiting for Godot (1955), he mentions the village. Another, film director Henri Colpi shot the movie Heureux qui comme Ulysse in 1970 in Roussillon.
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