Antiques by the River

Antiques by the River

Easter Week 2017
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer –  why not join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast , in Provence, or Amsterdam?
Every weekend antiques fill the lanes of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – it’s the largest antique center in France outside of Paris – but two weekends a year, Easter weekend and around August 15 they burst through adjacent lanes and overflow into the grounds of the city park during the Antiques Fair. Easter Monday is the last day of the spring fair, and we have to take a roundabout way to the parking lot since the route we usually take is filled with booths and blocked off. We’re early enough to find a good spot, though, and soon are in the thick of the treasure filled paths. We wander by a few booths, then stroll into the center, admiring the pretty canals lacing the town. A pause at the historic Cafe de France, surrounded by vintage façades is always a must, along with a stroll past colorful shops adding to the charm of the townsuch an inviting place!
Now for the jam-packed town park – on the lookout for a panther, a bust, or an armoire? A lovely mirror (there we are!) or a pair of nicely weathered shutters? Or some vintage glassware (I would NOT want my fragile goods right in the playground, would you?!)?
There are also several “villages” of antique dealers in the town – a couple of dapper gents have paused for lunch beside one of the branches of the Sorgue. All of this wandering and perusing has us hungry too, so off we go to our favorite riverside haunt, Le Bellevue, to enjoy a delicious lunch. After a little more antiques-browsing we head back to Aix in time for an early evening concert…we’ll tell you about that tomorrow!


Markets of Provence – What a Delight!

Markets of Provence – What a Delight!

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer –  why not join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast , in Provence, or Amsterdam?

Would we like to review the new Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More by Marjorie R. Williams asked St. Martin’s Press? Absolutely, we replied! And what a sensory and inspirational read it has been, virtually transporting us to some of our favorite villages and reminding us of those scents, sights, and flavors that always enthrall.CAM10582 Markets of ProvenceI was immediately drawn in with the Introduction: “What’s the best way to see, taste, and smell Provence? The answer, I believe, is to visit its markets…”
If you’ve read our blog or seen our photos on Instagram and Facebook, you KNOW we love our markets! And the markets of Provence actually inspired us, way back in 2002, to start Music and Markets Tours so we could share that love with others!
Arranged by day-of-the-week, Marjorie begins with the renowned L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue antiques market,CAM10582 Markets of Provence ISLSORGUE filling this charmer of a town on Sundays…who wouldn’t pause for a photo beside the “moss-covered waterwheels” while perusing the treasures spread out on tables and the ground?
Monday – Cadenet, with it’s little drummer boy statue anchoring the village market, 072406CadenetWednesday – Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, one of the best for sure,CAM10582 Markets of Provence SRemy taking over the historic center and beyond with one fascinating stall after another, and of course our beloved Aix en Provence, “a captivating city with architectural flourishes and gushing fountains” on ThursdayCAM10582 Markets of Provence aix (also Tuesday and Saturday, although there’s a produce market EVERY day on Place Richelme)…how soon can we get back?!
Snippets of information inform even those of us who’ve been enjoying these markets for years – who knew that “the most established stands at Provençal markets are often near churches?”
I love Marjorie’s description of Market Day Setup – we’ve often walked through the market squares of Aix early in the morning, as the vendors are doing just that: “Oysters are sorted by size as swiftly as hands of poker. Rotisseries fire up; chickens are slid onto long metal skewers. Finishing touches dress up the displays…”
Heading for the South of France, or just ready to reminisce over previous village visits? Click right here to order your own copy of  Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More– the perfect size to carry along as you discover this luscious region in the best way possible!
As I have, you’ll return to it again and again, transported to glorious Provence!

Friday on the Isle

Friday on the Isle

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer – join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast in July?

Not a sea isle, but a river isle today, as we head north to L’Isle sur la Sorgue, the delightful river-laced town known for its weekend antique mart. 04101501 am isleNo antiques for us today (but we’ve got several choice pieces in Ambiance d’Aix, found right on these lanes!), just a stroll around a favorite town, with the obligatory coffee pause at the historic Café de France, a charmer outside 04101501 cafe isleand in – we’ve stepped back in time…04101501 cafe pop inWe find a lovely florist/housewares/tea shop that has me wishing for more time to explore,04101501 elaine choose lunch spot and check out cute boutiquesand show Elaine a couple of our favorite restaurants so she can make a choice for lunch since she has invited friends to join us. It’s been twenty years since she was last here, staying nearby for a couple of weeks, and the Untours hosts for her stay still live on the outskirts of town. They’ve invited us for an apero in their garden – how nice!04101502 apero at max andAnd then join us for lunch by the river back in town, Elaine’s treat – merci!04101502 dine at pretty riverside tableA lovely couple, Max and Regine have welcomed travelers to the area for many years and have now passed on that Untours job to someone else. 04101502 pleasant company thanks elaineWe enjoyed their stories of life here and Elaine’s memories of lovely times exploring from this base.
Back in Aix, Elaine packs up for her journey to the Côte d’Azur tomorrow, and we begin our packing as well, then squeeze in a stop at a gallery opening up the street before dinner. We’ve noticed posters advertising Won Choi’s work and love her Aixoise and Provence scenes.04101502 won choi delightful work vernissageKathleen of Galerie Imbert invited us to the Vernissage (opening evening) and we enjoy meeting Won Choi and appreciating more of her beautiful canvases. 04101503 galerie imbertOne more delicious dinner together, at welcoming Millefeuille, where the chef/owner delights our palates from beginning04101503 millefeuille first courseto end (yes, a millefeuille is always on the dessert menu!).04101503 to namesake dessertOnce again we’ve met a charming new Music and Markets client and enjoyed a wonderful week…our guests are the best!


Antiques on the Islands

Antiques on the Islands

Friday, April 25, 2014
The South of France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour on the Amalfi Coast, in Provence, or in Amsterdam/Belgium

Off to another favorite today – the antique-filled village of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. As the name implies, it’s a collection of islands in the Sorgue river.

In years past the silk industry made the town rich, and here and there water wheels dot the rivulets running through town.

The charm seems effortless here – so many vintage treasures still remain in the town, such as this Café de France, on the register of historic cafés.

Retaining so much of its history, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a perfect place to showcase France’s largest antique center outside of Paris.
It’s obvious that each shop, whether showing off new goods or old, is proud to be a part of this lovely center.

Across from the Café de France is the village church, simple on the outside, but filled with gilded splendor within,

Vintage storefronts (this one’s still a home-goods store, as it was generations ago)

line up beside arcaded shops – a shoemaker worked here in the past.

As we’ve seen all over Europe, if the chairs are out, the antique shop’s open.

This one has beautifully crafted antique chairs galore – Jill may have found just the right one for her home in southwest France!

It’s lunchtime for shopkeepers – they’re closing up for the next couple of hours. So we find an interesting menu and a pretty spot by the river

and stop for lunch as well.

When the shops re-open, we’re ready to resume the hunt. This antique surrounded courtyard is a favorite.

We have great memories of finding just the perfect pieces for our Aix apartment in a couple of these shops. Anyone have a spot for a Eiffel Tower dining suite?

Back to Aix, we enjoy one last concert in the historic Jeu de Paume theater,

and finish our week together with a terrific dinner in tiny Millefeuille. As the name reminds us, a previous career of the chef-owner  was as a pastry chef – we make sure to leave room for desserts at this place! After an amuse bouche of carrot panna cotta topped with a pea-mint mousse and fabulous main courses,  we proceeded to those decadent desserts –

what a great finale!