|L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence, France
|Famous for its river and for its brocante/antique market, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a lovely place to visit.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a long name for a small town in Provence. The name has also become synonymous with brocante, or antiques/vintage goods. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's Sunday market (which includes food as well as brocante and antiques) brings in people from all over Provence.
Owing its name to the Sorgue River and its canals, which flow through and around the town, the old town is essentially an island, with many small footbridges, or passerelles, making it easy to move from one area to the next.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also known for its water wheels, which played an important part in the town's history. The water wheels provided energy for the mills, including corn and more importantly wool and silk. At its peak there were 62 water wheels in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, supporting the many silk and wool factories.
Fourteen water wheels remain, providing a unique identity to the town and plenty of photo opportunities. The sound of running water surrounds you as you visit.
As might be expected, many restaurants line the quais, particularly the Quai Jean Jaurès, offering a variety of options for meals.
Lodging right on the island is somewhat limited, but there are a few hotels and some apartment rentals, and more a little farther out.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has the character of a small Provençal town. Local shops and cafés abound, children play in the school yard, and bakeries have fresh flaky croissants reminiscent of "the good old days." With a population of about 18,000, it's large enough to have all the amenities, small enough to retain its charm.