In my last post, I wrote about visiting the antique dealers in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on a Saturday. I returned the following day for its famous market. It was packed! A woman wedged in behind me kept muttering imprecations against touristes as she was trying to buy her groceries.
There are several parts to the market. First, there is the brocante or flea-market style vendors of vintage goods. These were certainly far less costly than the precious objects I saw the day before at the antique dealers. Their stalls are along the main street, right where the bus from Avignon dropped me off.
Then, in the main square near the church, are most of the food vendors, although I sampled some delectable local Cavaillon melon at a vendor along the river.
Then, on my way to get lunch, I came across the floating market. This is a feature of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays in August, and it was one of the most entertaining things I saw this summer in France. Merchants, usually in folkloric costumes, had filled their flat-bottomed boats with merchandise and punted around the river basin from client to client. There were goats, chickens, fruits and vegetables, flowers, even newspapers on offer. A beauty queen and two “security officers” added to the spectacle, and when an occasional boat tipped, it was all part of the fun.
When the show was over, I went for lunch at the same place I had discovered the day before, Jouvaud, a marvelous bakery, tea room, and gift shop. The specialties of the house are flaky pastry tarts, both sweet and savory. They are about two feet long, and they just cut a portion for each customer. The savory tart that I tried was re-heated and heaped with eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. The fruit tarts were so good! I tried a different one each of the three times I went in the shop. My favorite was the one with several red fruits, including raspberries, strawberries, and red currants. If Jouvaud was in my town, I’d have a serious addiction.
All in all, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was my favorite place on this trip to the south of France. Lots to see, lots to do, and lots to eat.
Markets of France: Food, Antiques, and More