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Floating Market in Provence

by Emilie Johnson

On the first Sunday in August, a work of art unfolds in the village of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Provence. The village hosts a floating market, where a carnival of colors is laid out for everyone to imbibe. I like to go early to find a spot right along the bank of the clear green waters of the Sorgue river. 

There they were, the market vendors floating on their wooden ‘barques.’ Their goods were on full display as they skimmed across the water. Olives, flowers, wine, tapenade, tarines, chèvre (with a goat aboard), eggs (chickens clucking on the wooden boat), fruits and vegetables, and boats brimming with the faces of such lovely children and people. 

 

The people on the boats are all in traditional Provençal attire and it was easy to fall in love with a few of the women: their ruby red lips, braided hair, their straw hats framing French elegance. It was a spectacular painting.

If you can’t make it to the floating market that first Sunday in August, Sundays in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are festive all year round. The village is famed for its many antique shops and Sunday antique market, along with a traditional open-air market with the lovely produce, baskets, cheeses and baked goods French markets offer. The traditional market has a long history - it began in the 16th century. On a trip to Provence, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is not to be missed.

 

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