The Easter Weekend was a huge affair here in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. As well as the usual big market on the Sunday, it was a holiday long weekend, and the annual International Antiques and Collectibles Fair, and the International Fair of the old book and a show of Contemporary Art were in full swing. Of course we knew nothing of this when we’d decided to stay here so it was another magical surprise moment.
The main road through the town had been blocked off for extra room for stall holders, and antiquité-brocante dealers’ ‘villages’ (or precincts) had been setting up for days. The town was absolutely abuzz with keen collectors already out in force when we started combing the stalls bright eyed and bushy tailed looking for lost treasure. Well Tina was – sort of. She was determined to find that little green Limoges pot we’d seen in Nice, or one just like it. She finally settled on a pink one – similar – but not the one she wanted!!
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the biggest centre in the whole of Provence for professional antiques and collectibles recognised and growing on a European scale since the late 1970s. There are about 300 resident dealers of furnishings, books art objects, fabrics, jewellery, records, wrought iron in the various dealers’ villages, but this swells considerably for this major fair to about 500 or more.
Then in August there are another couple of fairs and the Night of the antique hunters! Sounds like fun! Mmmm… wonder if The Collectors would find their way clear to sponsor a return visit by us then???
I was a bit disappointed in the contemporary art – only a few pieces from a few artists. Some were really interesting, but most of the artists on show had adopted the controversial/ shocking approach to get attention, or dare I say, make up for a lack in talent in other ways.
The ‘ask the expert’ centre was set up in the ‘Music School’ in a large park also filled with stalls. The experts were disappointed and rather amused when I came in to look at the building and the stained glass rather than talk antiques… (it was always closed when I’d tried previously).
Heather did resist buying quite a passable little Monet of an old hut I noticed for €350 and I think there was a Cezanne too from the same street stall… (It and the vendor were missing next time I went by!) Though in the serious antique shops there were genuine sketches and originals to be had for somewhat increased prices.
We had a fab time. It really was a trip into the past, and into the present of the world of collectors and enthusiasts. Everyone seemed happy to show and look at so many interesting pieces.
We hope it won’t bore you if we put up a couple of posts just to fit pictures in… And no, we didn’t include them all, and no we didn’t photograph everything.