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Here’s Your Passeport to Antiquing in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

by Emilie Johnson
Any good antique aficionado has L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue pinned on her map of France. Every Sunday throughout the year, the town, situated on the Sorgue river in the heart of Provence, is flooded with antique dealers who spread their wares along the banks of the river.
Here, my daughter Romy is inspecting a timeworn wallet

We love meandering among the unique treasures and rubbish (depending on who is looking) without any objective or list informing what we eventually take home. Even when we go with an objective, we rarely find that object.

Today, we went looking for a desk for one of our offices.

My mother-in-law, who is an old hand at antiquing, bargained for a rare 19th century couch with original upholstery and haberdashery. 

Here, my mother-in-law and husband are trying to talk the vendor down by combining the wooden Virgin Mary purchase with the couch for a lower total price. 

 In the end, we came home with a framed collection of pressed flowers - made for an Italian pharmacy in the early 1900s, a classic metal outdoor table and chairs, and a painted wooden Virgin Mary figurine from the mid-1800s.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a destination to find already curated collections of the antiques, many of which are being sold here by true professionals with high standards. A diamond in the rough is harder to come by and nothing is a steal, but the location and selection are famous. 

Once a year L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue boasts its floating market (the first Sunday of every August). The goods sold at this market are more traditional: olives, wine, tapenade, tarines, chèvre, eggs, fruits and vegetables - but the style is entirely unique. The market vendors float on the Sorgue River on their wooden “barques” selling the goods. Easy to fall in love with the scene - like stepping into a painting really. Not to be missed if you find yourself in Provence in early August. 

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