We were sorry to leave the little village where we stayed in the Vaucluse hills, but we had to head on to our next destination, Aix-en-Provence. We didn’t have to return the car until evening, though, so we took our time getting there. In the morning, we headed to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which is often referred to as the “Venice of Provence,” although it’s more accurately the “antique furniture store of Provence.” We went for the Sunday flea market, and saw a lot of great things, all of which were too big to carry back in our luggage. We opted for one antique petanque boule, and headed on to two other hill towns, Lacoste and Bonnieux, before driving on to Aix.
The sun lit up a corner of our room just around breakfast time.
The antique market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue had some amazing items. Here Francois and Nicolas look very electable as they gaze towards the future.
If you are in the market for any kind of cute kitchen item, this is the place to find it.
It seemed like there was more silver at the market than anything else, including the egg cups and spoons seen here.
My favorite items at the market were the antique petanque boules (bocce balls).
I ended up buying one of the petanque boules in this photo, all of which are from the late 19th Century. The guy from whom I bought it told me all about the significance of their designs. The balls have a solid wood core, and the metal exteriors are actually nails that were driven into the wood in patterns particular to the region where they were made. He said that the balls were all made by women for their husbands to enjoy. The studded balls are from Lyon, and the cobblestone-like ones are from the northeast of France (those in the previous photo are also from there). The fish-scale boules, one of which I bought, are from Provence. Afterwards, I looked for them on e-Bay, and it looks like I got a great deal!
Anyone need an old eye surgery kit?
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is called the “Venice of Provence” because it sits in the middle of the Sorgue River, which flows through and around the town like canals. The water is much cleaner than Venice’s canals, though.
Fresh garlic is in season, and our B&B’s kitchen had been fragrant with its aroma. We wished we had had a kitchen in which to cook!
One of the local specialties: an almond and honey tart.
Apple tarts that looked pretty good, too! I opted for the almond tart in the previous photo.
The market covered the whole town, but after Apt’s market the day before, we started to get marketed out.
Another town, another church to check out. This gem had some great frescoes.
Our next stop was another hill town, Lacoste.
A quiet and picturesque town, Lacoste seemed a bit more rugged than the rest.
When he was forced out of Paris on obscenity charges, the Marquis de Sade lived and wrote in Lacoste’s castle.
At the top of the hill, there are a few sculptures commemorating de Sade’s stay in the town. The castle where he lived is in the background. Although it appears to be in ruins from here, it is actually still occupied.
Bonnieux, the next town that we visited, can be seen in the distance here.
The poppies were out in full force on the back side of the hill.
This is the other side of the Marquis de Sade’s castle, which, as you can see, is still occupied. In fact, as I learned while looking at listings in a real estate agent’s window in Menerbes the night before, it’s for sale!
This is the narrowest bakery that I saw the whole trip.
Lacoste was not built for those who need wheelchairs.
A last look up Lacoste from the orchards below.
The last town that we visited was Bonnieux. Speaking of Sadism, cycling fans may recognize the mountain across the valley. It’s Mont Ventoux, scene of many a punishing Tour de France stage finish.