This week, we are taking a little trip to Roussillon, France in the heart of Provence! It’s a hilltop village like Gordes in my previous post…but with one big difference. Can you see it? The entire village has been painted in beautiful earthy shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and brown. It’s a small village with narrow, winding streets surrounded by bright red ochre cliffs covered with deep green pine forests…such a breathtaking collage of colors!
Roussillon sits on one of the world’s most important deposits of ochre, once used as a natural pigment in paintings. The many shades of ochre covering the walls of the village reflect the seventeen shades of ochre that were mined here. But since natural ochre is no longer used, the quarry is now a tourist attraction. I must add here that, as a Georgia girl, I was right at home among all of the pine tree forests and red clay!!
How did the red cliffs of Roussillon come to be? According to a Provençal legend dating from the Middle Ages, the beautiful Lady Sermonde was the neglected wife of Raymond d’Avignon, the lord of Roussillon who was frequently absent for long hunting trips. The lonely Sermonde fell in love with Guillaume de Cabestan, a young troubadour, but their affair was discovered by her vengeful husband. Raymond invited Guillaume to accompany him on one of his hunting parties, had him killed and then cut out his heart, which he had cooked and served to Sermonde. When she discovered that she had eaten her lover’s heart, she threw herself from the cliffs of Roussillon and they have run red from her blood ever since! Yikes! The kinder, gentler version has something to do with the fact that this part of France was under the sea at one time!
Please head on over to Susan’s amazing blog, A Southern Daydreamer, to see who is sharing some gorgeous outdoor scenes for Outdoor Wednesday! See you next time! A la prochaine!