The French Antique Capital of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Provence

Antique shops and fairs make L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue famous

Antiques in L'Isle-sur-la Sorgue

M. Gebicki / Getty Images

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a delightful town, is located in the Vaucluse in Provence in the south of France. It is best known for its antique shops, markets, and fairs. Located on the banks of the river Sorgue, it's a historic town where antiques fill the small shops located in former industrial buildings.

The town makes a wonderful day out or a weekend break from the nearby cities of Avignon, Orange, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence.

General Information

  • In the Vaucluse Department
  • In Provence
  • Population 18,100

Tourist Office

3 Place Ferdinand Buisson, 84800 L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Contact: 00 33 (0)4 90 38 04 78 or view their website in English.

Antiques

This is the main reason why most people visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The tourist office has a list of antique shops. But unless you have a special shop or dealer in mind, the best thing is just to wander through the streets, visiting those that take your fancy.

There’s also a whole range of antique villages along the main road in the old mills and factories. Le Village des Antiquaires de la Gare (2 bis av. De l’Egalite) is one of the largest. It houses around 110 dealers in an old weaving factory and is open Saturday to Monday.

Antique Fairs

The two major antique fairs a year, one over the Easter weekend and the second in mid-August, are famous both in France and in much of the rest of Europe. There’s also a regular Sunday antique market and two brocante markets on Saturday and Sundays.

History of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was developed in the 12th century as a fisherman’s town. Built on stilts above a marsh, water played a major part in what has inevitably been called the ‘Venice of Provence.’ By the 18th century, 70 huge waterwheels lined the canals, powering the major industries of paper and silk making.

Attractions

It’s a town for strolling, people-watching, and, of course, for antique shopping. There are some small museums, like the Museum of the Santon (santons are clay Christmas figures, made in Provence), and old tools (Saint-Antoine), and the Museum of Puppets and Toys, a collection of dolls from 1880 to 1920 (26 rue Carnot).

The church of Notre-Dames-des-Anges was rebuilt in the 17th century; don’t miss the clock showing the time, date, and phases of the moon and its ornate interior. The 18th-century Hôpital (pl des Freres Brun), has a grand staircase, chapel, and pharmacy plus a delightful garden with an old fountain. Ask to view at the reception.

Where to Stay

La Prévôté, 41 rue J-J Rousseau Tucked behind the church, this restaurant with rooms is in a prettily restored Provencal house. The rooms are a good size, simply decorated with light flooding in through the windows. On the first and second floor (no lift), all rooms have a good view. Breakfast is from local, regional produce.

Read guest reviews, compare prices, and book this hotel on TripAdvisor. 

Best Western Domaine de la petite Isle, Route d’Apt Set in spacious grounds, this pretty hotel has better than average rooms, all with air conditioning and all modern touches, including free WiFi. Comfortable beds and good views. Read guest reviews, compare prices, and book the Best Western Domaine on TripAdvisor.

Read guest reviews, check prices, and book other hotels in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with TripAdvisor.

Where to Eat

  • La Prévôté, 41 rue J-J Rousseau With stone walls, an outside terrace, and good food, this is the best place for a leisurely meal. They use seasonal and regional local ingredients for dishes such as herb-crusted lamb, or fish dishes such as grilled scallops in cinnamon butter. There’s a good wine list and menus running from 26 to 44 euros. The wine bar has some serious wines and a good light menu of snacks.
  • Jardin du Quai, 91 av Julien-Guigue Eat either in a pretty room full of antique furniture and artifacts or in the delightful garden. Try red mullet with baby spinach, roast lamb, and a chocolate tart. The cooking is excellent, and the cellar has good local wines. Menus run from 35 to 43 euros.
  • Le Vivier, 800 cours Fernande-Peyre If contemporary is your taste, book here. Modern décor is the setting for classics with a new light touch. Foie gras comes in a terrine with smoked eel and a sherry sauce; or try the veal steak with marrow bone, parsley, and garlic. The wine list is serious; the service charming.
  • Le Carré d’Herbes, 13 ave Quatre Outages Eat on the patio in this restaurant located among the antique villages. Local produce and Provencale cooking produce dishes such as magret of duck and irresistible desserts. There’s an excellent daily three-course lunch menu at under 20 euros.

How to Get There

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is about 800 kilometers (498 miles) from Paris, 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Lyon, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Marseille, 61 kilometers (38 miles) from Aix-en-Provence, and 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Avignon.

By Car

From Lyon or Marseille: Take the A7motorway (the Autoroute du Soleil) then exit 23. Follow the D6 south then take the N100 to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue From Avignon: Take the N100 signposted to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue From Aix-en-Provence: Take the D7 north signposted to Avignon, then join the A7 at exit 26 to exit 23. Follow the D6 south then take the N100 to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

By Train

The high-speed TGV runs to Avignon TGV rail station, 19 kilometers (13 miles) away.

From Avignon station, there are around 10 buses a day on Ligne 6 to the town. The journey takes about an hour and costs 2 euros. There’s an infrequent service on Sundays.

By Plane

The nearest airport is Avignon. Marseille Provence Airport is 70 kilometers (43 miles) away.

For transfers from Avignon or Marseille Provence airport, go to Sun Transfers.

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