Built on an island in the River Sorgue, 7 kms from its source at Fontaine de Vaucluse, this is a picturesque town – the river flowing through several bridges and water wheels. No one knows definitely when the inhabitants of this village decided to dig canals through their island, but during the religious wars, they showed their mastery of the river to work by flooding the surrounding plaines so that the village would be out of reach of cannon fire. The water wheels were built a little later and these powered the wheels of industry in this area. Thriving businesses of grain production, paper mills, tanneries, textiles and silk works grew and the area prospered.
The old village center is dominated by the impressive 13th Century Church of Notre Dame des Anges, is still very much a part of the town’s life.. The scale and ornate nature of the Cathedral is indicative of the wealth that grew out of these industries.
Today, the charm and character of the Isle sur la Sorgue makes it a popular venue, well known for its large, active Sunday Market and as an internationally known center for Antiques.
The character of the town, the Sunday Market and the distinctive Caisse Epargne Bank building on one of the islands provided the ideal setting for a plot in the entertaining novel “Hotel Pastis” by Peter Mayle.