The imaginary adventure> Shapes and colors

Day 1: Shapes and colors on the Provence side

alt_route Stage 1 / Colorado Provençal de Rustrel

access_time 1h45 - €

The Colorado of Rustrel recalls the landscapes of the westerns of North America with its palette of colors, its ocher sand paths and the unusual shapes of the chimneys.

This site is the result of the exploitation of ochres in open-air quarries in the middle of the forest. The landscape (cliffs, cirques, chimneys and hills), shaped by 6 generations of ocher trees, testifies to the important industrial activity of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The oldest use of ocher is that of pigment and dates from prehistoric times. From the 19th century, ocher was used in the manufacture of paints and its clayey nature made it a thickener in the manufacture of rubber.

Cost: Information 

Level: Easy to Medium
Duration: 40 min or 1 h 45
Type: Round trip
Length: 2,1 km or 3,9 km
Elevation gain: 10 m or 70 m
Departure / Arrival: Parking des Mille Couleurs
Vigilance: Protect your skin in summer and keep your dog on a leash

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Minerals and paint
Paint is separated from an essential ingredient called pigment. These tiny particles come from earth and clay. They are crushed colored materials.

Since prehistoric times, to produce a usable pigment, they have been mixed with other substances such as animal fats and "binder" minerals such as gypsum or calcite.

Prehistoric artists (Cro-Magnons) painted the caves of Lascaux, France (15 BC), using charcoal as well as red and yellow pigments (ocher).

Later, Egyptian artists covered the limestone walls of the tombs with a thin layer of plaster on which they painted various scenes. The painters mainly used black, red, yellow, brown, blue, green pigments and played with thickness to create a wide variety of colors.