Wednesday 12 August 2009

Roussillon in the Luberon

One summer, we pedalled madly under the scorching sun for an entire week, across vineyards and cherry fields in Provence, stopping occasionally to check our maps for directions to our next village destination.

The villages in Provence are mostly perched on a hilltop. Whilst the excitement and desire to reach the destination is strong, the legs always turn to jelly after a long uphill climb. That evening, we were trying to reach Roussillon quickly to give our tired legs a rest.

We could see the beautiful ochre village under the azure blue Provençal sky, where the earth blazes with color, broken only by the deep green of the pine forests.

We could see the village in the distance and we had to pedal very hard to get to the top of the hill.

Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Roussillon is a jewel of a town, with a population of only 1100. Red ochre, which is used for paint pigment, cosmetics and food colouring, was mined here. For a long time, 17 shades of ochre has proven to be this village's lifeblood. Though the mining industry has dried up, hordes of artists and visitors still flock here to marvel at and be inspired by the gorgeous ranges of the vibrant warm tones.

We had to ride past Bonnieux to get to Roussillon.

Exposed, sunburned rocks - a sign that we had arrived.

We found many charming artist shops.

We explored the narrow, steep streets on foot, soaking in the rusts, reds, and ochres of the stone used in the construction of the houses.

We admired fat chicks fashioned from the ochre sand.

And came face to face with a cat in a shade of ochre!

Charming isn't it? A house built beneath a rock.

What a picturesque village.

Our hotel was very near Le Piquebaure, a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide.

Unfortunately it was closed that day! We ended up eating at a cafe nearby before treating ourselves to ice cream at the creamery.

Before we continued our journey the next morning, we stopped by the pattisserie to grab some bread. And then we were on our way.

Bye, Roussillon!


huier said...

I'm mesmerized...the pictures are lovely!

Petunia Lee said...

I greatly miss all this.

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