Vaucluse (84220) Population: 1,165 Altitude: 343 m
The ocre-red village of Roussillon is a tourist destination on the southern edge of the Plateau de Vaucluse. Roussillon is a beautiful village, with its red rocks, red stone buildings and red tile roofs.
Roussillon is one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France. Market day Thur.
Roussillon is lovely from the outside, set in a deep green pine forest on bright red-ocre hills. Roussillon is even more spectacular inside the village, with the colorful old buildings and narrow medieval streets. The village center is fairly small, so wandering the streets to discover the many lovely sites doesn't take very long. A couple of our favorites are: the square with the pair of old buildings [Photo 5] and the 19th-century clock and bell tower [Photo 1] with its (campanile), bells and ancient sundials.
Village Parking. On an earlier visit a few years ago, we were disturbed about the pay parking in and all around the town, with apparently random people collecting random amounts of money wherever you stopped your car. It's still pay parking, but now organized and with clear information: there's a 2-euro charge for parking the car for the day, with automatic dispenser machines to obtain the tickets. We feel this is a reasonable charge (and cheaper than the 3-€ parking at nearby Gordes).
The Giants' Causeway (Sentier des Ocres) is a natural park of jagged cliffs of ochre beside the village of Roussillon. A walking tour of the park should take well under an hour. (See our Reader's Comments, below.) The entrance is on the small hill facing the village, beside the cemetery and one of the parking lots.
This is a tour you really should take. It's marked as 35 minutes, but you could well take longer, especiall if you have kids with you — the very fine redish-orange sand is great to play in. Which reminds us, if you do have kids, have a spare set of clothes ready for them at the end: we saw a lot of orange-colored kiddies heading back to clean cars. Your walking tour starts and ends at the same place, with a loop down into a shady forest in between, all on earth trails with a coating of fine sand.
Entrance is 2 euros.
Samuel Beckett Moved to Roussillon in October 1942 and lived here until 1945. In his book Waiting for Godot, Beckett's character Vladimir says (parphrasing) 'We were together in the Vaucluse. We did the vendange at the Bonnelly place in Roussillon'.