Village of Rustrel, The Provençal Colorado

Just an hour’s drive from the campsite, the village of Rustrel is not to be missed. With its unique history and stunning landscape, this Provençal Colorado will delight the whole family. It is unusual for an industrial site to be such a place of beauty.

Ochre quarrying in the village of Rustrel

The first industrial site was opened in the village of Rustrel in the Pays d’Apt Luberon at the end of the 19th century. This is where the red clay was extracted after clearing the trees. The nearby water courses were a blessing and were used to wash the clay and separate the sand from the ochre. The ochre was then taken to the settling tank to obtain a pigment used historically by the cave painters of Lascaux or by the Egyptians. The site lasted a century and permanently closed in 1992.

An industrial and natural landscape

A stunning landscape remains in the heart of the Luberon mountains, nicknamed the ‘Provençal Colorado’. The cliffs range from yellow to bright red and encompass all the various different shades of red. An organisation wanted to preserve this industrial and landscape heritage and offers guided and unguided tours on the site. Remember to take your suncream, hat and water…. Plenty of water…. It’s like the Sahara here it and gets very hot on the marked-out trails and in the ochre quarry! The site is fragile and you are asked not to wander off the marked trails. Nature is gradually reclaiming its rights, trees, bushes and wild orchids need to be protected.

Olive oil mill

The village of Rustrel is perched at 400 m but you can climb to 900 m for a magnificent view over the ochre cliffs and village. There are numerous marked-out trails so you can enjoy beautiful walks. The town hall provides all the information on the routes.

The village of Rustrel also features a former olive oil mill just as it was at the beginning of the century and that is open to visitors. A rewarding excursion that makes you want to sprinkle the beautiful tomatoes from the local market with a dash of Luberon olive oil… All around the village of Rustrel, olive trees share the land with vineyards including wine with AOP classification from the foothills of Mont Ventoux.