Sunday 7 August 2011

Market day at Isle-sur-la Sorgue

It's water, water everywhere in Isle-sur-la Sorgue, where the Sorgue river flows in and around the town, full of bridges, canals and giant moss-covered water-wheels.

Every Sunday is market day here - a huge, sprawl of stalls criss-crossing the waterways, side streets and town squares. There's local food produce - a stunning array of vegetables, meats, cheeses, fruit and flowers - and Provencal wares from cloths to clothes to soaps to jewellery.

Growing from a Roman castrum to a medieval town fortified by the Popes of Avignon, the latter's intervention did not protect this place from being laid waste by successive epidemics of the plague and cholera, to being sacked and burned during the French revolution, and finally, 'just to maintain the rhythm' as someone has said, being bombed by the Allies in the second world war.

Though last Sunday, it looked much more like the peaceful, prosperous bourgeois town that it's been in between bouts of plague and destruction when its water-powered mills supplied paper, wool and silk to the courts of Avignon and mansions of wealthy merchants lined the canals.

If you're brave enough to cope with the August crowds, there's everything imaginable on offer here on market days ... was it straw baskets you wanted in every colour, giant flowering artichokes, cheeses or maybe a cute rescued pup?

If it's antiques you're after, you've come to the right place - Isle sur la Sorgue is famous as the antiques capital of Provence. Literally hundreds of permanent antique dealers and second hand shops are concentrated here ... 

... though I preferred to snap some of the less serious stuff that caught my eye.

The brocanteurs were at the market too, in full force. You could easily furnish an entire house (and wouldn't you just love to?) with bargain brocante finds, from old silver and books to brass doorknobs and grain-sack cushions ...

... to furniture, mirrors  and vintage linen ...

And if you needed a break from the multitudes, there are parks alongside the river banks where you might find a chanteuse and a fountain to quench your thirst ...

and a shady patch of grass to catch up with the important things in life ...


  1. Magnifique. Tout simplement.
    I wanna go there next time I'll be in France.

  2. Karen, every single description and picture allowed me to imagine myself in such a lovely Sunday setting, while infusing me with wishes to actually be there on some future Sunday.

    The light in your photos really says Provence!


  3. Superb post! I miss it there already :/

  4. Karen - though I have not had time to blog lately I have been dropping by your posts. Beautiful, clear, colourful pics that always cheer!

  5. Oh so beautiful!

    Love the artichoke blossoms.

  6. Oh lovely dog ! And wonderful photographies !

  7. Fabulous photos!
    utterly delicious
    I meant to go this past May and then could not.
    It's been 5 years since I've visited - this brought it all back ten-fold!

  8. i have just discovered your blog and read your lovely documented posts and enjoyed all your pictures ! we are on holiday here in L'Isle sur la Sorgue and i must say your description of the town and its brocante shops is rather accurate except i've found no bargain prices in these antique shops but excessively high prices !!! i have not bought anything from these shops because everything was too expensive but i caught up by visiting the area's vide greniers/car boot sales and there i found very good bargain prices from locals and wonderful finds !
    i''m looking forward to reading more articles and will go one reading your blog after i've got back home in the outskirts of Paris !


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