Vaucluse (84400) Population: 753 Altitude: 422 m
Rustrel is a large enough village to offer long, narrow streets for exploring, some nice sundials hidden away here and there, and a large, square castle with four round tower corners.
There aren't any real tourist attractions in Rustrel, except for the chateau with the semblance of a little museum inside. It is an active village, though, with local inhabitants, some gites or B&B type lodgings, a three terrace café-restaurants. We spent three hours in Rustrel: an hour for lunch and a couple of hours exploring, but mainly searching out sundials.
Chateau de Rustrel
The chateau is dated 1626, with the source of the date from the engraved sundial on the chateau.
Inside the chateau are photos, maps and information panels about the area, ancient sources of water (very important historically) and some hikes. All in French.
Olive Oil Mill
The inside of an ancient olive oil mill is open for visiting (free) in the center of the old village. It's at an unmarked doorway inside a small courtyard that appears to be private property -- it isn't; if the round-topped door is open you can go in and have a look. We didn't want to intrude on private property, so didn't enter. We learned more and went back later, but it was closed by then.
Rustrel was heavily involved in the ocre industry from around the 17th century, with the ocre hills south of the village.
Just southwest of Rustrel at the edge of the ocre hills was a major foundry, with four high furnaces. It's marked on the local, detailed maps as an "ancient usine" and site to visit, but it's now a private vacation village with absolutely no entry for visitors. There's also a popular, but uglly, campsite and restaurant at the location.
Rustrel has several ancient sundials in the village, and we had sundials as the theme for our August 2015 visit. Having a theme is an interesting way to explore a village, searching out small streets, peering around on back walls and up under eves, and often discovering unusual things.
We found six old sundials in Rustrel, including the very faded one on the left tower of the Chateau. Very faint writing beneath the remains of the faded sundial has the date "1626".
History of Rustrel
First record, 12th century Rograstrel and in 1274 De Ruastrello
Gallo-Roman: Gallo-Roman artifacts, including tiled tombs and statue heads, were unearthed in the area of Piédanaygue [we couldn't find this; possibly the Pied d'Août area?].
• GPS: 43.924361, 5.484692
Rustrel is an excellent choice of village for a lunch stop. At the road junction beside the main square are three terrace restaurants or café-restaurants. We had an excellent meal in the Auberge de Rustreou, opting for the dining room rather than the shady terrace in the 40-degree (C) August heat.
The other two places also looked good, and were popular. One, the Pierrot d'Antan is a combined bakery and brasserie (café-restaurant); interestingly enough, they also have shaded picnic tables available free for clients of the bakery.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.