Friday - 31 October 2014

Provence profile – a town of many markets

11 April 2014Written by Joan Porter

The medieval town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, near Avignon, is one of the most visited places in Provence.

Even without its large biannual brocantes, dozens of antiques and interiors galleries, a weekly Sunday market, combining a food market, flea and antiques market, and a monthly book market, it's a must-see.

The brocante has been running for nearly 50 years, started in 1966 by René Légier which set off all the above. The tourist website says that, when it opened, this innovation "set a new economic direction, a new beginning for a town of fishermen, wool and paper manufacturers, farmers - all of which in turn will almost disappear."

The first of the year's lively brocantes, selling quilts, French crockery and almost everything really, is over Easter, this year from Friday to Monday April 18-21. It runs all round the town, but especially in Gautier Park.

There are around 200 exhibitors including Brits Kate Dickinson, selling English silver-plated ware, and Karen Day with gardenalia, both now resident in France, for whom these brocantes are excellent.

Some 80,000 visitors at Easter and 120,000 during the August brocante explain why.

Best to ignore or accept author Peter Mayle's - A Year in Provence - comment: "The only thing you can't get in L'Isle -sur-la-Sorgue is a bargain."

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