Sunday morning and it’s market day in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, and you will soon see why so many people travel here !
Isle sur la Sorgue is situated 30 minutes to the east of Avignon (Provence), just at the entrance to the Luberon Valley. It is essentially, as its name suggests, an island on the Sorgue River. This village is two towns; one on the market day of Thursday or Sunday, and the other on a non-market day. I love the calmness of the place when it is empty of armies of happy travellers, but also love the craziness of the scrum of people visiting it for the market days.
Isle sur la Sorgue has developed quite a reputation for its Sunday market especially over the years but has experienced a rapid creeping urban sprawl in the suburbs that are best avoided, but head to the centre of the town and its utterly charming like most other Provence villages.
The Sunday market is what Isle sur la Sorgue has become famous for around the world. The food market operates all morning through until lunch time, whereas the bric à brac and antiques are open all day. As Peter Mayle said about it “the only thing you can’t get in l’Isle sur la Sorgue is a bargain”. I love pottering here, and in each of the last three years I have found and bought some very good art, which I have then had re-framed and cleaned, and could have sold many times over!! See if you can find your own treasure!
If you come here, make a day of it. Start at the market where you will find an unlimited supply of useful and not so useful stuff, and then treat yourself to lunch. For the best post market lunches I warmly recommend you to head to either the Le Jardin du Quai, located near the train platform (set menu), or to Le Vivier (on the road heading out to Carpentras) where you will be treated royally with their Michelin star reputation. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday!!
Even if you are not in the market for food, bric à brac or antiques, the images you see will enchant you!
If you do not have a car, there are buses that go here from Avignon train station, but if you are staying in places such as St Remy de Provence, then I’d suggest taking a taxi and making a day of it.
Parking is always an issue, but if you get here before ten o’clock you should find a park somewhere!