Its name - L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – did not receive coincidence, because it means «island on the Sorgue River». But the full name the municipality received not so long ago - in 1890. Prior to this, the town called L'lsle and Insula. It really consists of small islands, connected to each other by watercourses. In the middle of the XV century in the town, which at that time was called «L'lsle», was the law banning to wash clothes in the river and pollute the water. Thanks to it, the town became a flourish, with the fishing trade, workshops and factories that used the driving force of the river. Another interesting fact is that today many streets of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue retained the title directly related to fishing - de la Loutre (Otter Street), de l'Anguille (Acne Street), de la Truite (Trout Street), de l'Écrevisse (Cancers Street) as well as the name of the fishing boats, which are called «Nego-Chin».
Largely L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is obliged Mother-River because Sorgue served as a moat defensive during attacks on the town, and the source of livelihood for citizens and the motor trade. Lots of fish, silk, paper, carpets, woolen products, tissues - all of them residents of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue have for both life and active trading. From the middle of the XVI century, twice a week in the town has begun conducted markets and fairs that have become traditional in nowadays. And more than 50 years ago the municipality began to specialize in antiques, and can compete with the antique markets of Paris and London, attracting more and more professional traders and lovers of antiques. In 2016 in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue took an 100th antiques fair! Since the town is located on the banks of the river, on the first Sunday of August in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue annually is taken place a floating market on the banks of Sorgue, opposite the town park. Traditional boats called «Nego-Chin», offer handicraft items and local farm products - cheese, wine, bread, vegetables, fruits and flowers. Locals dressed in traditional Provencal costumes, the folk music and songs spread in the town. The open hour of the market is from 9:00 to 12:30.
Water mills, which are now remained only 15 (66) in and around the town, are the true heritage of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and produce beautiful rugs, blankets, shawls, stoles, can tell a lot about the usage of the river in public life in those days. But even the fact that the watermills of old age are covered with moss, it does not prevent them to perform their duties. These huge wheels are one of the attractions of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Another great attraction of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a huge ear that lies at the bottom of the channel. It was created and given by the Dutch sculptor who loved the town and wished to be immortalized there. Its location is a mystery for tourists. But we'll tell you one guideline: if you see a crowd of people on the bridge, directing their gaze down, you have to know, there's ear! They say if you make a wish and throw a coin into the ear, it will come true. (Our tip: look for the ear near the pedestrian bridge, «Allee du 18 Juin»).
Architecture of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is typical for Provencal towns - many chapels and small churches are built in different architectural styles. Here you will see a remarkable church of Notre-Dame-des-Ange (collégiale Notre-Dame-des-Anges) - a fine example of Baroque. It was the first basilica of St. Lawrence College back in 1222. On the facade of the church there is a unique solar and lunar clock. They show that the lunar calendar played an important role in determining the time of sowing and harvesting for residents of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Among the other religious churches - Romanesque chapel of Saint-Andéol de Velorgues, former chapel of Pénitents Blancs, the chapel of Congrégation des Hommes, hospital chapel, former Chapelle de l'ancienne maison de la Charité, Capuchin convent and others.
There is also an old Jewish cemetery in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which indicates that in the XIII century the commune was inhabited by Jews whose life was contributed to the prosperity of the town. In those days there was the Jewish quarter in the town. We also know that the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was a sort of «ghetto» for Jews from 1624 to 1791 years, since they were expelled from the French kingdom and found their shelter there (also in Carpentras and Cavaillon).
Community garden of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one of the most beautiful places in the town. Located on the green grass of the garden, you can hear the sound of the river, love songs of the French singers from a nearby restaurant, relax, enjoy the calm and leisurely life of the town. In other words, meditate in Provence style...
Outstanding people associated to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue:
- Esprit Joseph Brun (1701-1802) – a French architect
- Joseph Bonnaud d'Archimbaud (1767-1857) – a commander of frigate and deputy of Vaucluse
- Victor Courtet (1813-1867) – a writer
- Victor Leydet (1861- in 1901) – an artist
- René Char (1907-1988) – a poet
- Henri Michel (1922-2001) - a former member of Drôme department
Events and Celebrations in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorzi:
- Festival of Poetry «Trace de poète» - spring
- Poker Competitions «Grand Live OPT Poker» - March-April
- International Fair of antiques - the Easter weekend, on August 15 (sometime on All Saints Day)
- Holiday of artists and sculptors - every second Saturday from May to September
- Festival of Contemporary Music «Lilenzik» - the end of May
- Festival de la Sorgue «Festival de la Sorgue» - July
- Floating Market in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue - the first Sunday of August
- Horse Racing (Courses hippiques) - July - August