Along with lots of other opportunities for spring antiquing, the south of France is prime hunting grounds for rustic antiques and flea market treasures. The town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, located between Avignon and Gordes in Provence, is home to one of the best weekly markets in Provence. Each Sunday it springs to life with market stands overflowing with flea market wares and local foods.
Plus there’s a bevy of antiques shops (“les Villages d’Antiquaires”) in old mill buildings or tucked down gravel pathways.
Twice a year L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue gets even more pumped up on antiques steroids. During Easter weekend (April 13-17, 2017) and the August 15 holiday (August 11- 15, 2017), the town will fill with more than the typical number of sellers and shoppers.
The Easter Antiques Fair in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue attracts over 500 dealers from France as well as elsewhere in Europe and the United Kingdom. Shoppers come from near and far too. Some are furnishing homes. Others simply love trawling as an outdoor pastime. Indeed, making the rounds of flea markets (“les brocantes” or “les puces”) could qualify as a national sport in France, as much for the sellers as for the browsers.
Wares at both the Easter and August 15 antiques fairs will range from art to books to household goods. It is roughly split into 5 areas designated for antiques, books, decorative objects, vintage items, and art. Linens, silverware, and furniture can be found in a great variety of designs and sizes.
Pudgy angels, forlorn maidens, and other garden statuary set the imagination running in whimsical directions. Peeling pastel wooden shutters give off a sheen of shabby chic.
It’s fine to try to negotiate the price with dealers, but consider these 5 Tips for Negotiating at French Flea Markets and Tip #6 for Shopping French Flea Markets. If you find your heart set on a piece that won’t fit inside your suitcase, shipping can be arranged. There will be several shipping companies on site during the fair.
Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s rewarding to amble around the picturesque town and see why it has been nicknamed “the Venice of Provence.” Alongside the gently flowing waters that encircle the oldest part of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are waterwheels lush with moss and plentiful cafés with outdoor seating.
Concurrent with the 2017 Easter Market in L’Isle is an exhibit by the French artist Françoise Pétrovitch at the Campredon Centre for Art. “Nocturnes” runs until June 18.
If you can’t make it to the antiques fair in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue during Easter weekend, you’ll have another chance in August (August 11-15, 2017). A highlight of that fair will be antique cars on display and for sale. And remember, every Sunday morning the market in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue offers food + flea + antiques.
Antiques, food, art, and being outdoors—all the ingredients for a Provençal-style celebration!