From Fontaine de Vaucluse, where it finds its source, the Sorgue river meanders to the town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue, which was originally a fishing village built amongst the arms of the river. L’Isle sur la Sorgue still has many of the water wheels which once powered its textile industry.
Over the past thirty years, L’Isle sur la Sorgue has become the French capital of antiques, with many antique dealer groupings in the town. There are galleries and shops, and a large Provencal flea market every Sunday.
Every year, two major L’Isle sur la Sorgue antiques markets are held – one over the Easter weekend and the second on 15th August. All in all, over 800 exhibitors set up their wares throughout the town and this fair is now internationally renowned. Our particular dates didn’t tie up with the larger occasion but we were able to go along to the weekly Sunday morning food and flea market in the town.
We have spent a number of years exploring the region’s wonderful flea markets and L’Isle sur la Sorgue is a favourite, not least because of the high quality of wares on offer. That said, the French have a deep belief that the simplest, most rustic object can be enormously appealing and can become your most treasured piece.
It seems that at Isle the traders have mastered the art of impact and drama as they carefully arrange their wares, the result being beautiful vignettes and still-life sets that you simply can’t help but stand back and admire.The price points may be somewhat higher than the more rural flea markets but the traders are happy to enter into negotiations and there is never any pressure to buy.
We didn’t actually buy anything this year mainly because we were already pushing the boundaries flying home with our Avignon purchases! Our trip was not wasted as the morning was one that crystallised what Provencal decor is all about and will act as a further reason to keep on returning year after year.