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.
The church is surrounded by cafés and shops, and the many shopping streets radiating out from this center have mouth-watering smells and window displays.
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.
Pedestrian shopping streets are extensive, with a very wide variety of shops of all kinds. And most are interspersed with terrace cafés and restaurants in case you risk dropping while shopping.
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has many ancient water wheels, still turning, on the beautiful waterways around and through the town. The Office de Tourisme has a map showing where about 15 of them are located, and we have an Isle-Sorgue Water Wheels page with information and photos of them.
Antiques - Le Quai de la Gare
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is famous for its antique shops. The 30 Antiquaires at Le Quai de la Gare is a group of 30 antique shops is located in the courtyard of a a 17th-century auberge on Ave de la Libération on the south side of town.
Gargoyles are a picturesque reminder of Medieval France, and there's a fine collection of them around the top of the Collegial Notre-Dame-des-Anges in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The facade of the Collegial was cleaned and renovated in 2009, leaving us with some nicely detailed gargoyles. We have a separate Isle-Sorgue Gargoyles Photos page with some great photos.
Market day in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is Sunday and Thursday. The Sunday market is really something to behold. This is a market town for the surrounding area, and has become famous as a market and flea-market event for visitors.
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.
Place de l'église
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
Apr - Large Foire Brocante, Flea market (Easter)
July - Corso Nautique
Aug (1st week) - Féte Nautique
Aug (15th) - Large Foire Brocante, Flea market
Aug (1st Sun) - Floating Market, n the canals of the village
• GPS: 43.918696, 5.054344
IGN (1/25,000) #3142 OT "Cavaillon, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has no hiking trails at the village, which sits in the rich farmland of the Sorgue, but the Plateau de Vaucluse begins immediately to the northeast. Check out the hiking information for Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, 7 km to the east.
A VTT (Mountain Biking) rental shop is located near the front of the railway station; tel: (33) 490 20 29 36.
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: 10h30 - 17h, Tue - Sun. Closed Monday
- Entry: 3.50 € (2017)
- Tel: 0490 209 731, or 0615 154 126; Fax: 0490 209 731
- Web: www.poupeesdelisle.com
There are several trains a day on the Avignon line, and it's only about 30 minutes between Avignon and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Avignon - Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Bus 6
- Vaucluse bus line connects Avignon, Morières, Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne, Le Thor, L'Isle-sur-La-Sorgue.
A more limited service is also provided between L'Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, Saumane-de-Vaucluse, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Lagnes, and Coustellet.
The trip between Avignon and L'Isle-sur-La-Sorgue is about 50 minutes.
See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.