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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

19 shades of ochre

Roussilon, Provence, August 2020

Our trip to Provence was an experience immersed in art, culture and nature. We passed through places that inspired many expressionist and post-impressionist artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne and Matisse, amidst immense expanses of pink salt, fields of lavender and a thousand colours and scents.

It was among the hills of Provence that Van Gogh, one of the most important and influential artists of the second half of the 19th century, painted his most famous painting: The Starry Night.

We leave Arles, the city we loved most, to head for the last stop on our journey. Located in the heart of the Luberon National Park, Roussillon is one of the 10 French villages to be included in Les plus beaux villages de France (the most beautiful villages in France). It captivates you with its atmosphere from the very first steps, a labyrinth of wide and narrow alleys and small squares. The houses are all painted red and yellow with doors and windows that stand out thanks to their contrasting colours. Everywhere you can find artists' workshops, small artisans and art galleries. These colours come from the fact that Roussillon is located in the heart of the largest ochre deposit in the world. It is here that you can immerse yourself in the Ochre Trail, a palette of warm colours, with an infinity of shades from yellow to red, from pink to purple. We arrived at the start of the trail close to the closing time, at sunset, which allowed us to experience this incredible place almost alone without hordes of tourists.

You find yourself immersed in a veritable canyon with imposing red and yellow cliffs, tall chestnut trees and maritime pines. The colours change with the light of the setting sun in a play of shadows and light. An unreal place from which you cannot get out unless covered in a fine yellow dust.

This is what Provence is, a mixture of cold and warm scents and colours, romantic and welcoming that only conveys to you the feeling, the atmosphere of what surrounds you like that expressed in expressionist paintings. And that is what I love most.


Artists' workshops

The Ochre Path


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