Walk to the town of Roussillon on a mixture of quiet country roads and forest trails. Highlights include the ancient Pont Julien and the ochre-coloured cliffs, rocks and earth as you approach Roussillon.
This walk has some sections on quiet country roads, but for the most part consists of farm tracks through orchards and vineyards, with the latter stages climbing steadily through well maintained pine forests, before a short descent through vibrant coloured rocks and paths to Roussillon itself. You have to cross a busy main road just after the Pont Julien, and some sections of the final descent can be dry and slippy – please take extra care at these points. Otherwise, underfoot conditions are fine.
This is a very pleasant walk that takes you through orchards and vineyards, and past the ancient Pont Julien which now serves as an intersection on the busy cycling network that brings many holiday makers to the area. The walking is easy, with a steady ascent towards the end, which is rewarded with views of lovely ochre-coloured cliffs and rocks.
Stop off at the Conservatoire des Ocres for an insight in to the wonderfully coloured earth, rocks and cliffs that you have just walked through.
At the start of today's walk there are sections of road walking. Take good care, particularly when walking around bends in the road, to avoid passing traffic.
You may wish to have walking poles to help on the short tricky section of terrain on the descent into Roussillon. The ground here can be slippery and walking poles may help with balance.
Food and Drink
Bonnieux is well served with bakeries and a supermarket allowing you to stock up for the day. Other than toilets at the Pont Julien, there are no facilities en-route. Roussillon has numerous shops covering all the basic needs as well as many fine restuarants. We recommend always starting your day carrying at least 2 litres of water per person per day, and maybe even more on particulalry warm or longs days. Provence can become very hot and it is important to stay hydrated.
Points of Interest
The Pont Julien (French for Julian Bridge) is a Roman stone arch bridge over the Calavon River, in the south-east of France, dating from 3 BC. The supporting columns are notable for openings to allow floodwater to pass through and is a fine example of pioneering Roman engineering. You will pass here on today’s walk.
Les Sentiers de Ocres
Easily accessible from Roussillon village, this former ochre quarry now forms parkland groves of chestnut and pine surround sunset-coloured ochre formations, rising on a clifftop. Two circular trails, taking 30 or 50 minutes, twist through mini-desert landscapes. Information panels highlight 26 types of flora to look for, as well as the history of local ochre production. This is a “must see” if you are in Roussillon. There is a small entrance fee, payable at the entrance gate. Wear walking shoes and avoid white clothing!
The village itself forms a tourist attraction, as it is officially recognised as one of the prettiest villages in France (Plus Beaux Villages de France). Wandering through the narrow streets, enjoying the many craft shops and cafes is a great way to spend a few hours, and the views from the terrace at the top of the village are impressive. The village has links with the author Samuel Beckett who lived there during World War II, and even mentions it in his novel Waiting for Godot.