Of French markets (again!)

I know what you are all thinking: here we go again! But this market is special. It takes place in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue every Sunday morning, and every time I am in the area, I simply have to go. It’s almost like a pilgrimage. The setting is perfect: the river running through the town cools the air and the many bridges across it are heavy with stalls and people. Add to that the sounds and smells of summer (regular readers will know what I mean) and you will understand why I cannot stay away.

But this market is special for yet another reason. As well as containing the usual mix of all encompassing stalls laden with fresh fruit and vegetables, local produce and almost everything else you might think of, it doubles up as an antique centre. The town houses many an antique shop, but on Sundays, more stalls mushroom up into a marché aux puces.

Furniture, paintings, plates and dishes, antique linen sheets and 1950s design classics. It’s all there, catering for all tastes. And wallets. You can of course find bargains if you arrive early and are prepared to look hard, and it is such a pleasure to find what you thought you’d never find and know you don’t exactly need. Like a bread guillotine, maybe? It’s a long story, one I will tell you maybe soon…

I can’t wait to go back to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.



Je sais ce à quoi vous pensez tous: oh non, pas encore! Mais ce marché-là a quelque chose de spécial. Il a lieu à L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue tous les dimanches matins, et à chaque fois que je suis dans la région, je dois simplement y aller. C’est comme un pélerinage. La scène est parfaite: la rivière qui coule à travers la ville rafraîchit l’atmosphère et les nombreux ponts qui la traversent sont lourds d’étalages et de badauds. Ajoutez à ça les sons et les odeurs de l’été (mes lecteurs assidus sauront de quoi je veux parler) et vous comprendrez pourquoi je ne peux pas m’en éloigner.

Mais ce marché est spécial pour une autre raison. En plus des étalages remplis de tous les objets de A à Z, chargés de fruits et légumes, produits locaux et tout ce que vous pouvez imaginer, ce marché est transformé par les antiquités qu’on y trouve. La ville abrite plus d’une brocantes mais le dimanche, un vrai marché aux puces fleurit.

Meubles, tableaux, vaisselle, draps de lin ancien et designs classiques des années cinquante. On y trouve de tout, pour tous les goûts. Et pour toutes les bourses. Bien sûr, vous pouvez y faire des affaires, si vous arrivez assez tôt et êtes prêt à farfouiller, et cela fait plaisir de trouver ce que vous espériez trouver et dont vous en ignoriez le besoin. Comme une guillotine à pain, peut-être? C’est une longue histoire, que je vous raconterai peut-être une prochaine fois…

En tout cas, j’ai hâte de retourner à L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

  • Tim Maynard

    just beautiful and full of character! Is this where we went while in Crillon? Or maybe some lavender came from here.

    • We did indeed visit the market when you came over to Provence Tim. I have fond memories of our trip there, and of our stay in Crillon le Brave.

  • Laure

    Markets are so evocative of a certain way of doing things…I love them. Is there a good one near where you live? London is supposed to be full of them.

    • There are hundreds, Laure, catering for everything and anything you like, want or look for. My favourites at the moment are the Leadenhall and Borough markets, both fascinating. The Spitalfields market is great for bric-a-brac and good-value items like t-shirts. Shoreditch is also full of little-known places worth a look, and closer to home, we have farmer markets and the Chapel market, with fruit, veg, street food and all sorts… Thanks for reading the blog, by the way!

  • Peter

    Ah yes! I remember it well.

  • Fenella Jackson

    Wonderful blog. The French do the markets so well and it is always a joy taking UK visitors around them.

    • Merci Fenella! it is easy to write about things you love. I will be there again this Sunday, and I cannot wait!

  • Kasey

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    My website goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!