Ochre

Reds and oranges, scarlets and yellows, purples and crimsons – the fiery colours burned into the earth between Roussillon and Rustrel are astonishing. They're the result of the area's rich mineral deposits, especially hydrated iron oxide, otherwise known as ochre, which has been mined in this part of the Luberon since Roman times. Ochre was traditionally used to colour earthenware and paint buildings. Around the late 18th century, the extraction process was industrialised, and large mines and quarries sprang up. In 1929, at the peak of the ochre industry, some 40,000 tonnes of ochre was mined around Apt.

There are several ochre-themed sites to visit around Roussillon, but for the full technicolour experience, head for the Colorado Provençal, a quarry site where ochre was mined from the 1880s until 1956. With its weird rock formations and rainbow colours, it's like a little piece of the Southwest USA plonked down amid the hills of Provence. The site is signposted south of Rustrel village, off the D22 to Banon.

For extra thrills, try the treetop assault courses on offer at nearby Colorado Adventures.