Renowned for its antiques fairs and flea markets, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an island town that grew up as the wetlands around it were gradually drained by canals. Set just east of Avignon on the Sorgue River, it was once a thriving industrial hub whose streets are now lined with a rich collection of historic buildings, antique shops and a few remaining waterwheels that once powered the town's silk and paper mills. It's a place our specialists admire and return to regularly. They can guide you on the best places to see, depending on your interests.
The riverside town is surrounded on all sides by the Sorgue River and criss-crossed by a series of canals. Little iron bridges link the narrow streets, waterfront cafés abound and fishermen still ply the waters for trout, crayfish, grayling and eel.
Its waterside geography has led to the town becoming known as the 'Venice of Provence', and the river has shaped its history in every way. Fishermen originally built houses on stilts above the marshlands, gradually digging canals to drain the land. By the 12th century, enterprising individuals had built the first flour mills here, the river now serving as a moat outside a series of ramparts.
The ramparts were largely removed in the late 18th century to allow for expansion, and soon the town had 62 mills serving the silk, wool, oil and paper trades. Millers and merchants made fortunes and built mansions befitting their newly acquired status, many of which remain today, their Gothic and Renaissance façades giving the streets a timeless quality.
As you wander about the town you'll also see numerous old washhouses on the canals and an inordinate number of antique shops. More than 300 permanent antique dealers are based here and the town's popular antiques fairs, held at Easter and in mid-August, draw in hundreds of others from across Europe. There's also a large Sunday market, held here since 1596, and a smaller Thursday market, where you can browse all manner and variety of antique furniture, memorabilia, house wares and art.
Suggested itineraries featuring L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Places & hotels on the map
Places near L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
- Gordes 8 miles away
- Ménerbes 10 miles away
- Roussillon 12 miles away
- Avignon 13 miles away
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 15 miles away
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region 15 miles away
- Les-Baux-de-Provence 18 miles away
- Orange 20 miles away
- Pont-du-Gard 26 miles away
- Arles 28 miles away
- Uzès 33 miles away
- Aix-en-Provence 34 miles away
- Provence 58 miles away
- Rhône-Alpes 89 miles away
- Saint-Tropez 92 miles away
- The French Riviera 92 miles away
- Grasse 96 miles away
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence 105 miles away
- Antibes 107 miles away
- Nice 111 miles away
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 115 miles away
- Èze 116 miles away
- Monaco and Monte Carlo 120 miles away
- Lyon 128 miles away
- Talloires 145 miles away
- Annecy 148 miles away
- Chamonix 160 miles away
- Dordogne 174 miles away
- Sarlat-la-Canéda 202 miles away
- La Roque-Gageac 202 miles away
- Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 204 miles away
- Beynac-et-Cazenac 204 miles away
- Saint-Émilion 266 miles away
- Alsace 285 miles away
- Bordeaux 286 miles away