This beautiful commune, just 25km southeast of Avignon city centre, is home to some of the best antique shops, cafés and restaurants in Provence.
Located within the arrondissement of Avignon, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has a totally different atmosphere to the busy streets of the main city. The fishing town’s defining feature is the glittering Sorgue river, which runs parallel to a selection of bars, cafés and restaurants, as well as the numerous working water wheels, which bring the Sorgue to life and provides a soothing backing-track of trickling water as you wander around the commune.
Though a small town, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is famed for its many antique boutiques and Sunday markets, which transform the quiet town into a vibrant hub for seasoned collectors and amateur bargain-hunters alike. The commune hosts various antique festivals throughout the year which draw large crowds of people searching for their unique piece of furniture. When in full-swing, the town’s shops open their doors to display their finest pieces, and vendors line the streets along the river with their speciality items, making it a real sight to behold.
Naturally, the town’s link to water is difficult to ignore - the town is nicknamed ‘the Venice of the Comtat’ - and local fishermen have had the exclusive rights to fish in the waters for centuries. Every July, the town hosts a fishing event to commemorate the tradition of local fishermen who would glide down the river searching for fish to provide to the wealthy families and even to the Popes who once resided in the Palais des Papes in Avignon.
For visitors less interested in antiquing or fishing, the Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Tourist Office offers a water wheel discovery map, pinpointing the various spots of beauty and tranquility around the town. On a summer’s day, the wheels glisten as they turn in the sunshine, making for a truly magical experience that anyone can enjoy.
The commune can easily be reached by train, bus or car from Avignon, and is close to the neighbouring village of natural beauty, Fontaine de Vaucluse. For those of you seeking tranquility and calm (or just a one-of-a-kind antique), the immense beauty and charm of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has to be seen to be believed, so what are you waiting for?