05 June 2011

Two Villages in Provence

On one day in April we visited two stunning villages in Provence that could not have been less alike. The juxtaposition was startling; one village high on a red, gold and umber hill, dusty and sunny; the other can only be described as a cool drink of water.

Nestled high in the hills near the Luberon, the little village of Rouissillon is the most beloved village in all of Provence. There we are completely immersed in the vivid color (indeed you will come away with the faintest ochre-colored dust on your shoes and clothes) we associate with Provence: ochre, rose, sienna. We wander up and down the hilly streets through canyons of colored buildings; we reach the top and the view is stunning over the flaming hills. We stop for un cafe and we visit the Conservatory of Color; we cannot escape the brilliant, hot colors of Rouissillon. Her pigments are everywhere.

a village street scene in Rouissillon with pigments from
the local hillsides coloring
everything brilliantly pink, rose, and ochre

approaching Rouissillon on a sunny day!

inside the little church at the top of the hill in Rouissillon
features more color than usual for this little altar
to St. Michael the Archangel

a very blue door stands in contrast to the typical
ochres, golds, and siennas usually seen in Rouissillon
and makes this door stand apart from the rest

a sample of very old tile designs found at the
Conservatoire des Ochres in Rouissillon

another village street scene in Rouissillon near the
top of the hill with warm yellows and roses for the
walls, while the green shutters give a lovely contrast

a beautiful rose colored door wall in the village
of Rouissillon... the white trim makes the
color even more vivid

the fiery cliffsides that you can see from the
center of the village

display at Okhra... the Conservatory of Ochre,
where you can take classes in ways
to use the pigments in applied arts

pigments for sale

the store at the Conservatory of Ochre; you
can also order supplies online

coloring tiles at the Conservatory des Ochres

a walk
through the brilliantly-hued cliffs in


After the strong visual stimulation, bright sunshine and heat of Roussillon, the perfect next stop is Fontaine du Vaucluse. This little village is quite off the beaten path, and it is built around the source of the Sorgue River... the same river that runs through l'Isle sur la Sorgue, of course. After crossing under the Aqueduc de Galas beneath the remains of a 14th C. Chateau des Eveques high on the cliffside, we arrive at this watery, refreshing, cool green and blue oasis.

spring roses blooming in the cool of the village

the Sorgue river as it meanders from the source
towards l'Isle sur la Sorgue

the Sorgue river runs through local neighborhoods

approaching Fontaine du Vaucluse we see the
aqueduct de Galas which was built in 1857

a closer view of the enormous aqueduct as
we approach the village at the end of the
closed valley

a cool terrace beside the river near the source

the popular gathering spot in
Fontaine du Vaucluse over the river

the mairie in Fontaine du Vaucluse

brilliant turquoise water at the very
source of the Sorgue river


thanks for visiting!... Kit


  1. I love both of these villages, Kit; you have reminded me I must visit them again! Belles photos, I look forward to seeing more!

  2. Beautiful post, Kit. You've made the tiny little towns magical. xx's

  3. Magical! Love the blue door and the blooming roses. Would love to have a glass of wine while sitting next to the river.

  4. lovely lovely lovely. Thanks for this! :)

  5. Oh, Kit! Rousillon was definitely one of the most amazing places I have ever been! I loved the vivid ochre colors of the houses, that little church, the bright doors, the white blooms that framed windows. I had lavender and melon flavored ice cream in that town. Unforgettable. :)

  6. My husband and I spent 3 nights in Fontaine du Vaucluse on our honeymoon 16 years ago. It was such fun for me to see this post! Lovely memories of a charming little place! Thank-you. x Sharon

  7. Kit! Your pictures are wonderful! I was in this cities's two years ago, and I still dreaming that someday there go back. Best regards for You from Poland!

  8. What great pictures! I wanted to visit Fontaine du Vaucluse last year but we didn't have anytime left. We spent our three days in Provence in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue because I couldn't tear myself away from the big Antique fair!

  9. Amazing pictures, with those hues they don't even need editing.

  10. How beautiful! I need to go back to Provence and visit these two villages. The colors are amazing. How charming it all is! I guess Peter Mayle was onto something a long time ago when he wrote "A Year in Provence." It is an enchanting part of the world.

  11. He descubierto tu blog y me ha encantado.
    Si lo deseas te invito a visitar mi blog.
    Saludos des de España. Manoli.

  12. Wow, you captured some really great photos. I enjoyed looking at them and learning about the town.

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Have a great day.

  13. I've been to some very special Provencal locations of very great beauty, but these two spots are still missing in my collection. They both look fabulous, and completely unique. Thanks, Kit, for the scenic reminder to get to these spots!
    All the best, Michael.

  14. HI to everyone who visited this post and shared this little corner of Provence with me!! I've been uber-busy with a large project, but am now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to visiting all of you soon!

    A bientot and bisous a tous!

  15. OH, it's beautiful, looks like Paradise.
    Thank you for this wonderful tour, Provence is on my list of places to go this year.
    Big hugs

  16. I went to Provence with a group of 12 friends a couple of years ago, to stay for a week in a very beautiful old house, in a neighbouring village to Fontaine du Vaucluse. We visited Fontaine du Vaucluse several times, since it was so enchanting, and it was only about a 40 minute walk through a very beautiful limestone canyon to get there. One day I hope to return again (soon!). Thanks for bringing back great memories with this post.

  17. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.

  18. The guided tour was splendid. Merci beaucoup.

  19. Anonymous18 June, 2011

    WoW!!! Amazing pictures in this blog!! ;)


  20. Kit, your blog is a true pleasure. I loved that part of France. Beynac is another gem. I have put your fantastic blog on my blogroll! Shiree'

  21. I love Roussillon and all the Vaucluse. My future in-laws are living near Apt. I can't wait to be there again.

  22. It's all a feat for your eyes. Kit, I know that you had a wonderful time. Would so love to visit sometime. Mona

  23. Anonymous20 June, 2011

    Lovely photos! Just returned a week ago from that part of our fantastic world. Spent 2 weeks in L'isle sur la Sorgue but was able to do day trips - these 2 spots were beautiful indeed. (Toronto, Canada)

  24. Kit: You DO know the Laurence Wylie book of his family's stay in Roussillon, yes? It is truly one of my favorite books of all times...and oui, j'adore Roussillon et les couleurs!
    I haven't been over here in quite a while and am loving reading all your posts...you're now on my blogroll, so I'll be back regularly!
    A bientot,Libby

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