A few steps away from the commune of Rustrel, in the Luberon, is this incredible site. Here, the ochre-coloured sand forms amazing sculptures that stand in the middle of trees. The colors degrade from green, to yellow, to orange and then to ochre. Even if we can't really speak of a natural site because it is the extraction of ochre from previous centuries that has shaped the site, here we find ourselves in the middle of nature and we take our eyes off it.
1Incredible Ochre Sculptures
The ochre sculptures are scattered in a beautiful deciduous forest. Some are in the form of chimneys (fairy chimneys), other forms of ridges or small canyons that can be walked through easily. In the background, a sort of amphitheatre sculpted in the cliff (the Barriès circus) still bears the marks of the old quarry.
The advantage here is that all the sand formations are accessible. One can thus get used to the game and climb on it for the happiness of the children.
Watch out for the ochre which will colour everything it comes into contact with. Provide adequate shoes and clothing.
For beautiful photos, choose the sunset which highlights the orange aspect of the sand sculptures, you will also find less people there.
2Getting to Colorado provencal de Rustrel
To get there, take the direction of Rustrel. The site is then indicated. On site, a parking lot allows easy parking, but access is free per day. Nevertheless, it is possible to park on the lower side of the road, along the D22, about 100 meters after the campsite entrance to the east. Then we'll have to walk. A small road leads to the beginning of the wooded area. Be careful, from there onwards, the trail markings are very discreet (there may be a guide but we didn't have it, and we weren't the only ones: on the way back many asked us where to find points of interest). Several trails run through the woods and lead to different places. Memorize well the way forward.
It takes about a quarter of an hour between the parking lot and the big ochre quarry.
Note that in 2016, access to the fairy chimneys site was prohibited. For the moment it is therefore no longer possible to access this area, but the amphitheatre is still open to the public.