Saturday, January 15, 2011

A perennial favorite

 Full Measure's post about Provence got me reminiscing about the last trip we took there.  Provence is easily one of our favorite, if not most favorite place in France. There's just something about this region that keeps us coming back.  When I learned that one of the biggest antique fairs in Europe was held in this region twice a year, I jumped (to be honest, I insisted) at the chance to visit Provence yet again. The fair is held at the pretty little town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.  What a fantabulous town it is! Least of its charms is the fact that it is full of wonderful antique shops that are open the whole year round and they have one of the best Sunday markets in the whole region. For antique die-hards, this is like heaven. I know I felt like I was in heaven!

The town itself dates back from the 12th century  and it made its fortune from silk industry. It was renowned for its silk weavers and  paper mills which were powered by the many water wheels of the town.  I can't say enough about how charming everything was. I loved the charming little town square  and the little restaurants around it. But I loved most the way the river Sorgue wends its way all through the town and you can still sit along its banks and dip your toes into the water.  

After I took this picture, a family of ducks came swimming by...

As for the antique fair, it truly was a grand affair.  As you can imagine, there was everything and anything one could possible wish for. 

From french linens and cabinets...

To tables and chairs and other bric-a-brac

 Innumerable pots and vases...

I loved this little courtyard filled with five antique shops selling garden ware

Now we lucked out because while there was the giant Antique fair, we were also there for the Sunday market.  Much of the town was closed to car traffic and stalls sprouted up like mushrooms after the rain. And here, you could find wonderful Provencal wares like these beautiful bowls. I couldn't resist and brought home a couple to add to my now growing bowl collection ....

Pretty dried artichoke flowers..

All sorts of olives pickled and marinated in various spices and oils...

Aromatic spices....

The most wonderful olive oil outside sniff and you were transported....

And of course dried lavender flowers


  1. OMG, pink princess! these are spectacular photos! i love this post. I didn't get to see this particular place when I toured the region in '08 but I wish wish wish I can go back to go antiquing with you, full measure and our other friends!!!

  2. Pink Princess! Lovely lovely photos!!! I want to go to Provence again on a weekend to shop at the markets!!! I also want to buy some of those provencal bowls!!! KPO, let's go! :-)

  3. Fantabulous, indeed. I love your photoblogs. :)) More!! -MAS

  4. Fullmeasure can I join too?! Haha. Wouldn't it be so much fun for us to go back? ;) -travelchicme

  5. Chère Meg,

    This post brings lovely memories of the water wheels, the canals--shiny coins tossed into their waters, the antiques-à-gogo... but especially the little 3 euro ham and cheese sandwich that my aunt and I ordered, one each, at a quiet bistro. "No need to pay tourist prices," she explained, as we looked around us at the pricey restaurants, from our little table à deux tucked outside the local café. It was the most delicious meal I've had in a long time (hard to go wrong with a French baguette and cheese!) and good company.

    Wonderful to see your stories -- and those purple artichoke flowers, too!