Tag Archives: Roussillon

Roussillon

Roussillon was my favorite neighboring town to Lourmarin when I was a child.  It was the most far-out place, and when you went there you inevitably got dirty.  Although I was pretty prissy as a child, the type of dirty you got in Roussillon was all right with me–it wasn’t muddy blasé brown, it was bright orange.  That was a kind of dirty I could get down with.

new cliff

town new

As if the bright orange and red cliffs aren’t enough, all of the buildings in Roussillon are built with the pigmented clay that surrounds the village.  The naturally occurring ochre in the hillsides was mined until the 1930’s.  Mining has since been banned in order to protect the site from destruction.

Being in Provence inspired an obsession with crumbling old walls with plants growing out of them.  Roussillon’s reddish ones are particularly high on my list because of the red/green contrast (these pictures are so much more vibrant in original–the upload to WordPress just ruins the color).

wall

And my favorite door, from 1678.  Well, I’m not sure about the door, but the doorway is from 1678.

roussillon door

If you walk to the highest point in town you find a ceramic-topped circular map of the region, with Roussillon at its center.  You’ll find similar maps in many of the neighboring towns.

new map

close map new

Right before you reach the map at the top of the hill you’ll find the 16th century church surrounded by lavender.

new church

The exterior is fairly simple, but there is intricateness to be found inside.  One of my favorites is the altar.

altar

altar detail

Wheat and grapes have been the primary crops of Provence since the middle ages.

baptismal font

The baptismal font was added in the 17th century.

God

I love the intricate high relief on the ceiling.  Very dramatic.

lighting candles

After the church we walked back through town to the cemetary, which is quite beautiful.

cemetary

masoleum

egyptian jacques

I like calling this guy “Eqyptian Jacques.”

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La force d’aimer

From Roussillon:

IMG_1501

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Sud de France

Recently, when I think about how I would rather not go to work, tomorrow, this week, for the month of February, or ever, I browse vacation rentals in the Luberon.  Tonight’s pipe dream is a little studio near/in Roussillon.  Humble, but a very livable love nest if you ask me.  

When I was in 6th grade we wrote weekly essays that we would sometimes be called upon to read aloud in front of the class.  No one believes me, but I was shy till a certain age, and feared beyond any fear having to stand and read my essay.  One week, when we had been assigned to write about a vacation or far away place, I was called upon to read.  My essay was about the vibrantly colored chalky hills of Roussillon–literally bright red, ochre, and sometimes purple–which I visited when staying with my grandmother in nearby Lourmarin.  

hotel-roussillon-provence-01

My teacher accused me of lying and publicly admonished me for fabricating a fiction when the assignment was autobiography.  Had it been nine or ten years later I might have argued my teacher, armed with conceptual art theory and said something like, “and what exactly do you propose is the difference?!”  But since I hadn’t gotten to Marcel Duchamp and John Cage yet, I had to quietly nurse my humiliation through the weekend (essay reading was always on Friday) until Monday when I triumphantly returned to class with a postcard bearing an image of Roussillon’s hills and was vindicated.

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