L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an adorable Provençal market town surrounded by a moat of criss-crossing canals, bridges and mossy wooden water wheels. It’s also the antiques capital of France, with a weekly Sunday market that draws in international crowds. Read on to find out more about visiting L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market, and why it’s considered one of the best markets in Provence.
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Why you need to visit L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue
During my month-long stay in Avignon last summer, I took every opportunity to explore Provence by bus and train. One of my favourite finds was L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a gorgeous little town set on the Sorgue river. It’s surrounded by canals, with bridges and retro wooden water wheels. My friend Sara came to stay for a long weekend from London, and we took a relaxed day trip on the train.
L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is not exactly off the beaten track — its vintage shops and antiques flea market are famous throughout the region — but it still felt like a delightful secret discovery when we stepped off the train and onto its quirky, crowded streets.
We visited on market day, and by the time we arrived there were stalls lining the streets and shoppers bargaining over gilded mirrors and porcelain dolls. It felt like a slightly chaotic country fair, and although it was crowded, the crowds were stylish French people buying cheeses, fresh herbs and donkey sausage and therefore completely acceptable.
Totally apart from the market though, L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a truly lovely little place. The old town area is made up of charming stone buildings, cobbled streets, churches and pavement cafes, and grand period mansions with painted shutters. And, apparently, it also has France’s biggest concentration of vintage stores outside Paris.
>> Looking for more France ideas? Here are 21 amazing day trips in Provence.
There are lots of cute restaurants along the riverside, and as you meander into the old town the flea market morphs into a food market. The best bit is the the Place de la Liberté, the central town square where you’ll find the baroque church La Collegiale Notre Dame des Anges and lots of cafes and pastry shops. The most Instagrammable one is probably the Café de France, but everyone else thinks so too and on a Sunday you’ll be hard pressed to get a table.
L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue market day
To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in seeing L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue’s antiques market before I arrived. It was pretty much just an excuse to visit the cute town and winding streets I’d spent ages “researching” photos of. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by just how quirky and interesting some of the stalls were.
Rather than strolling past the market and straight into the town centre, we actually spent a couple of hours meandering alongside the canal and exploring the open-air market in the grounds of an old country house across the river from the town.
There was an eclectic selection of objects and artefacts for sale that day. Retro 60s-style posters and signage, Victorian-era dolls, lace fans, porcelain ornaments, African carvings and antique books edged in gold. There was literally a stall selling pitchforks.
It was actually pretty fun and diverting poking around the different stalls, especially in such a festive atmosphere and with actual French people bustling about with bronze candlesticks sticking out of their bags where traditionally one might expect to see a baguette.
But, while there were loads of cute vintage mirrors, paintings and antiques that I’d have loved to take home with me, we did not progress past the window shopping stage. Because, although there were lots of stylish and quirky items on display, everything was ludicrously expensive. If you were planning on stocking up on adorable vintage finds at budget prices, you’re likely to be disappointed.
Thanks to the popularity of this market and the fact that L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is famous throughout the region for its vintage shopping scene, it’s actually super pricey and you’ll probably find yourself paying extra for the cute factor. That said, if you don’t mind paying a premium to shop surrounded by French adorableness, this is the place to do it!
Food market heaven
Once we were done messing around with pitchforks and antique wheelbarrows, we crossed the river and followed the crowds into the town centre, where the food market was being held. The streets are narrow and there was a serious crush as we strolled painfully slowly into the main town square.
It’s a small but gorgeous honey-coloured square, lined with cafes and pastry shops. It’s the type of place where you’d want to sit and sip iced coffees for hours — on non-market days at least, when the crowds are less intense. The open-air food market was small but delightful: herbs and fresh produce, dried bunches of lavender, French cheeses and charcuterie, including some actual donkey sausage we spotted! Plus, amazing looking breads and pastries because, in case I forgot to mention this, L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is in France.
Obviously, given that my Patronus is probably a croissant and my love of food is well documented, this was the most exciting part of the day for me.
Getting there: how to visit the L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue market
If you’re based in Avignon, you can get to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on the train in 25 minutes. You can also drive or take the Line 6 bus in around 40 minutes. The Tourist Office in Avignon’s cute old town is super helpful if you need moral support understanding the bus routes. (That’s a thing other people do, right? Just wander into tourist offices asking people to validate information you already googled?)
From Aix-en-Provence, it’s around an hour by car or on the train, but direct trains aren’t very frequent so you may need to pre-plan your journey quite carefully to make it work. It’s also just over an hour’s drive from Arles, and 1.5 hours from Nimes, so it’s definitely a doable half-day trip from some of the most popular base cities in Provence.
Once you arrive in L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, it’s impossible to miss the market or the town centre. There will be streams of people perusing wares and street stalls basically blocking the road with random paraphernalia strewn across the pavements. And to get into the town centre, you just have to cross a little bridge over the river and follow the crowds. (Also, that makes it sound bigger than it is, the bridges are about 3 footsteps across).
When is the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market held?
The antiques and vintage flea market takes place each Sunday. Stalls open from around 9am, but it gets incredibly busy later in the day, especially in the central town square and and the winding streets where the food market can be found. I’d definitely recommend getting there early, especially if you’re driving and need to find a parking space.
There’s also a smaller market day in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue every Thursday, which is a more relaxed affair and mostly food focused.
Twice a year, over the Easter weekend and in mid August, the antiques market ups its game and transforms into the biggest open-air flea market in Europe. To be honest, I can’t even imagine how giant and busy it is, having experienced the manic press of the regular Sunday version!
How long is it worth visiting for?
I’d say you should plan to stay for at least a couple of hours — that’s enough time to snoop around the vintage stalls, sample some snacks at the food market, and sit down by the river for a coffee or an ice cream. There are lots of gorgeous little restaurants and cafes with tables alongside the riverbank, so this could be a good place to stop for lunch.
That said, if you love antiques and are looking to do some serious shopping, you’ll want to stay for longer. And, if you’re allergic to crowds, you might find you want to cut your visit short. I really can’t overstate just how insanely busy those central streets get around lunchtime, with tourists and locals jammed in so tightly that foot traffic was basically at a standstill. I would have braved it and had lunch at one of the riverside bistros, but my friend was really put off by the number of people packed into such a tight space, and we ended up leaving and lunching elsewhere.
The next time I have the opportunity to visit Provence, I’ll absolutely be going back to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. But instead of visiting for the Sunday market, I’ll go on another day of the week — perhaps Thursday when there’s the smaller market and less of a commotion — so that I can enjoy the quaint streets and have a French pastry at Cafe de France unmolested by other people’s elbows.
While you’re in the area…
Fontaine de Vaucluse, a 15-minute drive or bus ride from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, is where you can see France’s biggest underwater spring. You could easily visit both in one day trip, especially if you have a car. When I visited though, the buses were running infrequently and we decided to skip it.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also within easy reach of several gorgeous towns and villages in Provence, so if you have a car you could pair it with a visit to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Les Baux-de-Provence, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and lots more, all within a 40-minute drive.
>> Read my post about the best day trips in Provence for more inspiration.
Also, if you aren’t already based in Avignon, it’s essential that you visit, especially since it’s only 25 minutes from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on the train! For extra inspiration you can read my posts on the best pastries in Avignon, its most beautiful squares, and the delightful Les Halles food market.
If you don’t have a car and want to see a couple of areas in the region in one day, it’s totally doable but will take more forward planning and organisation because although the buses and trains are good value and easy to use, they often only run at certain times of the day. So you can’t really just wing it and hope for the best.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue day trips and tours
If you only have a short time in Provence and want to make the most of it, it’s probably most effective to take an organised day tour. I love the look of this day tour from Aix-en-Provence that includes L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes and Roussillon. This tour from Avignon packs in a lot of Provence’s most lovely attractions, including L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue if you book for a Sunday. Or, if you’re someone who thinks an 18-mile bike ride sounds like the sort of thing you’d do on purpose, this private bicycle tour from Avignon involves a scenic ride through country lanes between L’Isle-sur-La-Sorgue and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
My husband and I rented an apartment in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, and based our Provence adventure from there. But the town itself is just delightful. We stayed in the old section, a moment's walk from a wonderful boulangerie and the fresh food market on Sunday morning.
The market is held on Sundays in the town center of L'Isle sur la Sorgue. The market generally really gets going between 9am and 9:30am, but it is advisable to arrive by 9am or earlier to ensure good parking.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (French pronunciation: [lil syʁ la sɔʁɡ]; Occitan: L'Illa de Sòrga [ˈlilɔ de ˈsɔʀɡɔ] or L'Illa de Venissa [ˈlilɔ de veˈnisɔ]) is a town and commune on the Sorgue river in Southeastern France.
Avignon, Les Halles – Every day: This is a covered market every morning except Monday in the centre of Avignon, with 40 stalls selling local produce – a must for foodies.
L'Isle sur la Sorgue is accessible via the Airport Avignon - Caumont, especially ministered to by low - cost airlines. The other nearest airport are those of Marseille Provence Airport.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue means the island on the river Sorgue. It is the crystal-clear Sorgue which gave birth to the town, the water wheels scattered about provide the clue.
The market runs on Wednesdays from around 7am to 1pm. Be sure to arrive very early if you are travelling by car or be prepared to park well away from the centre. You stand a good chance of finding a (free) parking space in the Parking de la Libération, on the avenue de la Libération.
Gordes market takes place every Tuesday morning. With stalls set around the foot of the castle at the centre of the village, this is a colourful and very photogenic market.
The big market days in Aix-en-Provence are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This is when the daily market opens its doors to even more street sellers from the region, widening the remit. It stretches out through the neighbouring streets and snakes down the iconic boulevard, Cours Mirabeau.
The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market is the largest outdoor market in the idyllic Luberon area within the Provence region of France.. The large Sunday market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a food market, flea market, and antique market rolled into one so you can buy everything from olives to fine art here.. If you are wanting to spend some time seriously checking out antiques in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, you might want to look at the town website which lists some of the larger antique dealers and their specialties.. Once in town, a good place to start is the large antique center called Le Village des Antiquaries de la Gare (2 bis avenue de l’Egalité, closed Tuesday-Friday) which is one of the largest antique centers in town with dozens of dealers.. Jess & Ethan in front of one of the town’s waterwheelsL’Isle-sur-la-SorgueAfter seeing some waterwheels, we headed back to the town center and popped into the Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges (Our Lady of the Angels)—a church with a beautiful Gothic interior—and then took a look at the most-photographed café in town: Café de France.. The Sunday market is like a food market, flea market, and antique market rolled into one and you’ll find an endless smorgasbord of things to check out: fresh produce, cheese, olive oil, linens, pottery, antiques, art, old furniture, clothing, candles, books, etc.. However, if you are looking for lots of variety, want to check out some antiques, or just want the experience of seeing the hustle and bustle of the largest market in the Luberon, you’ll enjoy this market.
Ultimate Guide to Spectacular L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Market [UPDATED 2022] - The Creative Adventurer ›
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue ‘s Sunday market is one of Provence ‘s largest and most impressive outdoor flea markets.. The gorgeous market is located around the Place de la Liberté, Place Ferdinand Buisson, Rue Carnot, Rue de la République and on Place Rose Goudard .. The Market is held every Thursday and Sunday , but the Sunday market is far superior.. So even if you don’t find you need a coffee, I still implore you to walk along this street to enjoy the incredible street signage and old French shops.. While the market might have the biggest draw, the charming little houses in some unassuming back alleys contain some of the most iconic French sights you’ll see in Provence.
Our first visit to the famous Sunday market in L’Isle sur la Sorgue was a nippy, blue-sky autumn morning.. On a Sunday morning in L’Isle sur la Sorgue the market winds through the old town and along the quay (river walk).. A town the size of L’Isle sur la Sorgue benefits from a second market day on Thursday mornings.. On the 1st Sunday in August, the L’Isle sur la Sorgue floating market (marché flottant) is a nod to Provencal history.. After Paris, L’Isle sur la Sorgue has the most extensive collection of antique dealers in France .. Twice a year, on Easter weekend and on the August 15th public holiday, antique lovers head to Isle sur la Sorgue for Antiques Art and You .. Aside from markets and antiques, L’Isle sur la Sorgue treats art lovers to contemporary exhibitions in historical settings.
The old town is ringed by the river and canal system which makes it very easy to walk around and explore.. This tower was originally built as a defence keep in the 13th century, and has since had many uses, including a cinema & theatre during the last century.. There are now plans to restore it completely and use it as a culture space.. This Baroque styled church may look rather austere from the outside, but the interior is more lavishly decorated with grand paintings, murals, sculpture and of course, 222 angel statues who accompany the Virgin to heaven.. The tourist office offers guided walks and tours if you'd like to find out a bit more about the history of L'Isle sur la Sorgue.. The Campredon Art Centre is a 18th century mansion that shows contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year (closed on Sundays July to September, and Mondays & Sundays from October to June).. There are also two museums - one is an old-fashioned school museum, the other an antique doll & toy museum (only open during the school holidays).. Throughout the town there are art galleries, antique shops and gift shops.. Many cafes & restaurants offer terraces overlooking the rivers, making it a fine spot for lunch or dinner.
Find out more about visiting Les Halles market in Avignon, Provence — including the best food on offer, when to visit and where to picnic with your purchases.. In this post: Avignon’s Les Halles market, known in French as Les Halles d’Avignon, is a big undercover food and wine market in the centre of Avignon’s walled medieval old town.. This Provencal market features around 40 vendors , all selling incredible French food and wine (and the occasional delicacy from further afield).. Opening at 6am, it attracts restaurant chefs, Avignon locals, and a healthy number of tourists.. It’s around a 10-minute walk from Les Halles, although that includes a bit of a steep walk up a hill from the Palace of the Popes, also known as the Palais des Papes.. The market is right by the charming Place Pie square ( Place means square), which is dominated by the towering Tour Saint Jean and circled by umbrella-shaded pavement cafes .. The bread stall is hilarious actually: they start the morning with mounds of different types of delicious French breads piled high, but if you walk past again near closing time there will be one or two small baguettes sitting sadly on the shelf alone.. You can walk to Les Halles from Avignon’s central train station (which is just outside the old city walls) in under 15 minutes , and if you’re already inside the old town you’ll probably be even closer.. I visited many times in August and although one or two stalls were not open , especially on quieter weekdays, it was pretty much business as usual.. It’s definitely still worth visiting Les Halles in August!
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a small town in the south of France, better known for being one of the largest antique markets in Provence.. The small town of Isle-sur-Sorgue is located in the heart of Provence in the South of France and is known as one of the antique market capitals of France (along with Lille) because it’s the best place to find genuine antiques and flea market bargains.. In addition, parking in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is quite the hassle as the large town parking lot is a good 20 minute walk away.. In addition to the antique market, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has a food and drinks market on Thursday and Sunday mornings from 7-13h .. Having family in the area, I’ve been to the town many times, and I can tell you the town is equally charming on its quieter days!
The setting is an old town house and being in Isle sur la Sorgue means antiques and collectables make up the elegant decor.. Budget: High | Opening Hours: Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1, avenue des 4 Otages, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 90 95 34 40. Budget: Low | Opening Hours: Closed Monday, Saturday lunch, and Sunday dinner 4 Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 90 38 57 29. A 2-course lunch menu is 23 euros, for dinner there are 3 courses at 46 euros and 5 courses for the real foodie at 60 euros.. Budget: High | Opening Hours: Closed Tuesday and Wednesday 13, avenue des 4 Otages, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 90 38 23 97. Budget: Low | Opening Hours: Closed Wednesday and Thursday 14 Esplanade Robert Vasse, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 86 65 64 87. Budget: Low | Opening Hours: Open every day 800 Cours Fernande Peyre, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 90 38 52 80. Budget: High | Opening Hours: June to September: Closed Monday, Friday lunch and Saturday lunch , October to May: Closed Monday, Friday night, Saturday lunch and Sunday night 52 Rue Carnot, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Isle sur la Sorgue. Tel: 04 90 24 86 62