Ochers in the Luberon
Ochers are ferric rocks made of clay and containing natural mineral pigments with grains of sand. Offering spectacular colors, ochers have been used since prehistoric times for cultic purposes, before being used to produce paints and dyes for the fashion or construction industry.
The ocher extraction industry developed in the Luberon and throughout the country from the end of the XVIIth century, thanks to the work of Jean-Étienne Astier from Roussillon. It underwent a strong development in Roussillon and Rustrel from the end of the XIXth century, the arrival of the railway in Apt. The Colorado ocher mines of Rustrel were exploited until 1992, before becoming a major tourist attraction in the south of France.