Venice in Provence!
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgues, not to be mistaken with Sorgues, is a scenic little town of 21,000 inhabitants in the Comtat Venaissin. It is one of the “must see” in Provence. It stands in the plain, at the foot of the Plateau of the Vaucluse and two arms of the Sorgues river frame the city while several channels water the old core. In the past the flow set in motion many paddle-wheels that were used to operate silk mills in the XVIIIth and paper mills in the XIXth. Some of them are still turning but only for the pleasure of the visitors.
The narrow streets are intimately knitted with channels and the visitor must wander along the banks, from one small bridge to the next one. Besides the old center, the “Partage des eaux”, I km upstream is a special place. The Sorgues widens into a calm body of water before it divides itself into two arms. It is sometimes called the Provencal Venice as it was too built on wooden pilings in a swamp and has also a tight interlace of streets and channels.
The city is now the home of more than 300 antique shops and art galleries. Twice a year (Easter and August 15th) the antique’s fair gathers more than 500 antique dealers and brings visitors worldwide.
It is 80 km from Marseille, 20 km from Avignon and easily reached by train or busses.