•Vaucluse (84800) • Population: 16,971 • Altitude: 59 m
This compact medieval town is built on the islands of five branches of the Sorgue river, 7 km downstream from its source at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. The river flows through, past, in and around the town, in its many natural beds and several canals. Even without gondolas, water adds a special beauty and character to a town. Sorgue has its many river branches and canals, huge overhanging plane trees and several large, lovely waterwheels. Even if the many mills are no longer working, some of the waterwheels still turn.
The imposing Notre-Dame-des-Anges church in the center of the "vieille ville" was a Collegial church in 1222. Rebuilt in the 17th century, three sides still show signs of its age; the front is refurbished, and includes a lovely clock showing the time, date and phases of the moon.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a good-sized town, and a popular tourist site appearing in printed guidebooks. The Office de Tourisme has lists of hotels, campsites and furnished rentals.
The shopping streets are extensive, with a very wide variety of shops of all kinds.
Antiques - Le Quai de la Gare
The Parc Gautier is located just outside the center of the town, near the railway line. It's very large, grassy and shaded by giant plane trees, with plenty of other trees and foliage, an excellent place for picnicking away from the crowds on a hot summer day.
History of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
First record, 1126: Isla, the name of the primitive town on an island in the Sorgue river; succeeding names were St-Laurent, L'Isle, L'Isle en Venayssin and L'Isle en Venise. In the 19th century, the railway named the town L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Gallo-Roman: A castrum was located at Vélorgues, 2 km south, where there are Gallo-Roman remains.
The town was in the fief of the Count of Provence, then of the Count of Toulouse and finally of Saint-Siége; it was franchised in the 13th century.
In the 14th century, the Popes of Avignon fortified the town, making it a place of refuge for the surrounding villages during the Wars of Religion. In spite of divine protection, Sorgue was ravaged by epidemics of the plague in 1458, 1628, 1629 and 1721, followed by cholera in 1837 and 1854.
Hard times continued during the Revolution, when the town was sacked and burned by the troups of the Convention (1793), and then besieged for five years by the Convention's Thermidorienne reaction.
More Recently: To maintain the rhythm, the town was bombed by the Allies in 1944.
Tel : 04 90 38 04 78; Fax: 04 90 38 35 43
Market day: Sun, Thur. Daily during the summer. Floating Market (Marché Flottant) first Sun.
Brocante books; Parc Caisse d'Epargne: Last Sun
Brocante, Ave des 4 Otages, all day: Every Sun
Brocante, by the Gare: Every Sat-Mon
Brocante, LiIsle aux Brocanteurs: Every Sat-Sun
Mar - Foire Brocante et Salon d'antiquités brocante - Ave 4 otages, parc Gautier; Easter (Pâques) appx
July - Corso Nautique
Aug (1st week) - Féte Nautique
Aug (15th) - Foire à la Brocante
Toy and Old Dolls Museum - Musée du Jouet & de la Poupée Ancienne
- Around a 100 old dolls and toys from 1880 - 1920. A private collection in excellent condition and in a nice setting.
- Location: 26 Rue Carnot (centre-ville)
- Open: June-Sept: 10h30-18h; Oct-Apr: Sat-Sun 13h30-18h; May: daily 13h30-18h
- Closed: Mondays
- Tel: 0490 209 731, or 0677 778 755; Fax: 0490 209 731