An Afternoon in Roussillon

Red rocks and red buildings

May 21, 2016 | afternoon

We spent the afternoon in another one of the prettiest villages in France. I really should find that list somewhere to a) make sure it really exists and b) start crossing them off. Maybe that will become my European adjunct to visiting all 50 states…visiting the 100 prettiest villages in France. And thinking about it, how pissed off is number 101…are they plotting to sabotage number 100 to sneak up a spot? Think about how many tourists dollars are lost because nobody cares about 101?

Roussillon is built on the hills near an ochre quarry so it differs from many of the other villages, everything from the surrounding hillsides to the city itself is the same ocher red color. The ocher from this quarry was also used as pigment for artists throughout the years.

We spent hours were spent walking through the village. The late afternoon sun bouncing off the sandstone red colored buildings created a fantastic warm light. You would think, you take a photo of a small alley…they all look the same…but not quite. Red doors, blue doors, steps, no steps, deep green ivy, small patios full of diners.

Without any real plan we followed the various walkways until we make our way to the top of town and the old church (which is of course surrounded by shops…being the prettiest village and all creates lots of business opportunities) and vistas of the surrounding rolling hills of the Luberon.

Breathtaking…you have to take a moment to just soak it all in…rolling hills dotted with farmhouses surrounding by staked rows of grapevines. I felt compelled to try various methods of creating a panoramic image…zoomed in just didn’t seem to do anything justice, the majesty of the scene was how vast…and simple…it all was.

After a few hours exploring the various corners of Roussillon we start our journey towards Gordes, utilizing the backroads. I’m sure this is a fabulous experience for Sam, as this is his first time in a car with me as I practice my patented scout/shoot method of driving. Oh look, there’s the sign for Gordes, go right…as I make a left turn and head off in the opposite direction.

Why would I do this? To find lavender and poppy fields of course.

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