Isle sur la Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, nicknamed “The Venice of the Comtat”, is a very pleasant town! The walks along the Sorgue are soothing and oh so romantic. The lovely antique shops at the water’s edge and the beautiful water wheels of the rivers give a special charm to the town.
The antiques fair at Easter brings together numerous exhibitors.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is located halfway between Cavaillon and Carpentras, between Avignon and Apt, and enjoys a privileged geographical position.
Insula, officially known as Isle sur la Sorgue on 18 August 1890, owes its birth and expansion to the waters of the Sorgue. As early as the 12th century, the inhabitants of L’Isle used the Sorgue to defend themselves, the river serving as a moat on the ramparts surrounding the town until 1795.
These same inhabitants also use the Sorgue for survival, forming the same colony of fishermen who enjoy important privileges granted in 1237 by Raymond VII, account of Toulouse who granted them many privileges, in particular that of the right to fish in the Sorgue, from its source to the Rhone.
In the 16th century, the community of L’Isle sur la Sorgue founded the Brotherhood of Fishermen to protect its sick fishermen. It had its seat in the Notre Dame de Sorguette.
Soon the Sorgue was mastered, canalised and used to install craft workshops and spinning mills oil, wheat, silk, paper, factories of woollen fabrics, carpets, dyes.
This dynamic industry generates a highly developed commercial activity with two annual markets and two weekly markets. The Thursday market was created on 9 November 1596.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was for a long time the most important town of Comtat Venaissin, its attachment to France dates back to 1791.
As early as the twelfth century, fishing was a matter of choice and in the nineteenth century, one hundred Isloise families still lived (15,000 crayfish were fished daily).
The epidemic of 1884 that wiped out all the crayfish was a real disaster for the town.


The chapel of the White Penitents:
Penitents are usually lay people who are determined to dedicate themselves publicly to Catholic worship, especially through prayer and charity. They wear an outfit of a specific colour to which they owe their name. Grouped in a brotherhood, they are placed under the authority of the bishop. There were four brotherhoods of penitents at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: whites, blues, blacks and greens.
White penitents have been present at L’Isle since the first half of the 16th century. First settled in the Franciscan monastery, located outside the walls, to the city they go during the transfer of the latter in 1562. quickly established after the University, they had a chapel, which was destroyed during the construction of Sextier. Their new chapel, built next door by the architect, islois Esprit-Joseph Brun, will have a very short existence. Indeed, completed in 1778, it was sold to the Revolution.
The reconstruction of the Brotherhood required the construction of a new chapel, completed before 1820. This neoclassical chapel, private, still houses a beautiful decorative plaster ceiling. The architectural program developed breathes tradition of the eighteenth century comtadin through his plan, the main facade and the decoration of a large ornate ceiling plaster and the staff. However, some elements of the ceiling and facade reflect a new era in local creation.
The Chapel of the Blue Penitents:
Originally installed at the Franciscan monastery in 1565, the brotherhood of the Isle of Blue Penitents decided to build a new chapel at the corner of Saint-Honoré Street and Arquet. Built between 1761 and 1768 by the architect Islois Spirit Joseph Brown – or his brother John Angelo Brown – it is an important witness to religious architecture in the second half of the eighteenth century. The chapel was sold to the revolution and the brotherhood was dissolved. In the 19th century, the chapel welcomed the congregation of men. It was secularised in the 1970s.
Mistreated by ugly renovations in the 1970s and 1980s, this chapel still has a remarkable classical sloping façade and much of the original gypsy ceiling. This is representative of the religious decorative arts Comtadins the mid-eighteenth century through its austerity and occasional use of high relief patterns made of painted plaster (enhanced glory of cherubs, cartridges, etc.).
The tower of the consul and associated buildings:
The islet of the Tour d’Argent concentrates the whole history of the city. Indeed, it incorporates into its perimeter a juxtaposition of buildings representative of local civic architecture over a very wide period (twelfth-nineteenth centuries). Several archaeological studies have already revealed an exceptional series of buildings, the most important element of which is a remarkable tower built by the city consuls at the end of the twelfth century and covered by a magnificent Romanesque dome (classified as a historical monument in 2012). Other aristocratic medieval constructions (towers, fortified houses, logis, etc.) can be found on this site. Among the most striking items adjacent to the tower including a residential building of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, decorated ceiling plaster dated fifteenth century (among the historical monuments registered in 2012), the construction of the body of a hotel special Gothic (hotel Brancas-Villars) and various constructions of the eighteenth century (hotel Oiselay).
In the 17th century, an inn called “La Tour d’Argent” settled in part of these buildings. From the end of the nineteenth century, this island offers expensive recreational areas for its inhabitants, such as the Café de l’Avenir, an Italian theatre transformed post-war into dancing (Lido) and cinema (Cinévog).
The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges:
In 1212, the Bishop of Cavaillon erected in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue college under the protection of Our Lady of the Angels, probably to counteract the powers of the consulate. There is still no trace of this building, which is said to be one of the first regional Gothic achievements.


The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges:
In 1212, the Bishop of Cavaillon erected in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue college under the protection of Our Lady of the Angels, probably to counteract the powers of the consulate. There is still no trace of this building, which is said to be one of the first regional Gothic achievements.
At the end of the 15th century, the chapter decided to rebuild the whole building. The site begins with the eastern part of the church adopting a Southern Gothic style fashionable in the Comtat region since the fourteenth century: low bed polygonal plan with radiating buttresses and a powerful side steeple. It was completed around 1538 and marks a stylistic evolution from the flamboyant Gothic to the Renaissance style.
The main part of the nave was rebuilt between 1645 and 1675 in terms of the Avignon architect François Royers of Valfenière. The sober exterior architecture, influenced by the Jesuit style, contrasts with the ostentation of the interior decoration. The wide vaulted nave is flanked by a network of six side chapels, covered by traffic galleries protected railings. This plan is particularly suited to the religiosity of this period of the Catholic Counter-Reformation: a nave to welcome the faithful and to preach, and chapels restricted to house fraternities. Many local artists like Mignard, Vial, Peru or Parrocel, participated in the quality and abundance of the building’s decoration.
The House of Charity was intended to provide refuge to beggars not only to house, feed and maintain them, but also to fight against theft and to free them from their condition by teaching them a trade. At the end of the seventeenth century, the city entrusted the plans of Charity to the Avignon architect Pierre Mignard. It is to build an elaborate set of four main buildings with two large courses on the site of a house and land bequeathed by John Favier, Knight of the Order of the Pope and arms one-man Count of Suze. The realisation of this ambitious project begins in 1681, but is limited to a single wing implanted perpendicular to the street. In 1766, the first project is simplified by the architect Jean islois Angelo Brown raising a new building from the edge of the Sorgue. The neo-Romanesque chapel built around 1850 in a court by the departmental architect Joffroy marks the completion of the work.
In 1758 Charité received 126 boarders (including 72 children), placed in local factories. From the end of the 18th century until the end of the next, hospital nuns took care of the management of the institution. Charity was decommissioned in 1910.
The art centre Campredon:
A L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, many noble houses were built or renovated between 1690 and 1780, according to the taste of the times (hotels Palermo, Ganges, Ricci, Clermont-Lodeve, etc.).
The Donadei Campredon hotel was built in the second half of the eighteenth century for Charles Joseph Campredon, from a distinguished family of landowners, who have been present in Isle since the fourteenth century. The project was designed by the architect islois, Spirit Joseph Brown, who developed a mansion on a plane “L” with a remarkable facade planned on the main street. The two interior facades were developed simpler to give more width to a garden enlarged by three fountains or water lilies.
The hall opens onto a staircase with three flights suspended, with wrought iron railings, providing access to the living rooms of the first floor, decorated with sober plasterwork.

The Campredon hotel, acquired by the town of L’Isle in 1978, is listed in the inventory of historical monuments. It has housed an art centre since 1984.
The Hotel-Dieu
At the end of the fourteenth century, the various hospitals of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue were gathered at the old hospital or the Franciscans. In 1685, he was transferred to a place with a house and garden sold by an aristocrat, Mr de Vaucluse, and a garden and its cottage bought one of rectors of the hospital, Laurent Autier. Despite a first extension decided in 1713, the space of the Hotel-Dieu, which had been commissioned before its construction to the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph, soon became insufficient. In the 1740s, the implementation of the plans for the new hospital to St. John the Baptist was supported by the local contractor Brown Spirit and his son, Jean-Joseph Ange and Spirit, both architects. The completion of the works took place in 1781-1782 with the decoration of the chapel.
The courtyard is accessed by a remarkable portal dated 1762 and crowned by a wrought-iron bearing the coat of arms of the abbot of Sade, benefactor of the institution. The building develops on four wings according to a plan in “h”. On the ground floor, the most striking parts of the hospital are: the entrance hall and grand staircase, pharmacy and the chapel, richly decorated in Louis XVI-style plasterwork. Centuries-old pleasure and food gardens surround buildings that are classified or listed as historical monuments. The western garden has a monumental fountain – or nymphaeum – designed by Jean Angelo Brown in 1768.
The Hotel-Dieu, which had several extensions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is now the Isle of Local Hospital. The southern wing that housed the nuns was associated with the common garden. This place and its buildings, called “Congregation”, is already used for the management of the town’s heritage.
The Char Castle:
Emile Char, industrialist and mayor of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, built in 1894, a mansion near Névons. This vast, eclectic style of the late nineteenth century, was once surrounded by a large park. We find this architecture “captain of industry” in other “castle” near the city centre (those of Dumas, Saint-Hubert, Reboul, Giraud).
The house of Névons, Sorgue and L’Isle districts cradled the childhood of the poet René Char (1907-1990). He shared his life between his native city and Paris, where his adherence to the Surrealist movement propelled him into the circle of Parisian writers. The Second World War kept him in the region and he entered the resistance under the pseudonym of “Captain Alexander” in Céreste. During those years he wrote Alone and the Leaflets of Hypnos, published as soon as peace returned.
Not without regret, Char sold “castle” of Névons in 1955 and a housing project took the place of the park, inspiring René Char’s poem “Mourning Névons”.
The Brun Manufacture of Vian-Tiran:

The textile industry has been a speciality of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue since the Middle Ages. Large families got involved and helped build the town’s identity. This industry is still alive today, supported by the Brun de Vian-Tiran factory. The adventure began in 1808 when Charles Tiran and his son-in-law, Laurent Vian, established their fulling mill on the Sorgue. In 1879, after his marriage to the heiress Vian-Tiran, Emile Brun took over the activities of the mill and confirmed his surname, which gives it its current name: Brun de Vian-Tiran.
The same family has passed the company on for eight generations, each bringing his genius to the art of wool to enrich the know-how and perpetuate the activity. The Brun de Vian-Tiran company is not only a family history of the industry, but also spinners and spinners, weavers of foulonniers and stockers who worked on their farms, a story in which women played a valuable role.
The production of Vian-Tiran Brown factory extends to noble fibres: cashmere, camel, alpaca, mohair, silk… It is based on modern technology, but remains particularly attached to the respectful tradition wool.
Industrial heritage:
Since time immemorial, the waters of the Sorgue, abundant and regular, have provided the driving force needed for crafts and industry. Its paddle wheels made possible the installation of wheat mills in the 12th century, and then the creation of workshops to process wool and silk.
The picturesque wheels that remain today to give its special character in L’Isle evil of witness sixty-two were there in the nineteenth century and the intense activity that prevailed then: While silk generated new fortunes L’Isle became the main wool centre of the department.

The International Antiques and Brocante Fair the weekend of Easter.
The Festival of Painters and Sculptors every 2nd Saturday of the month from May to September, on the esplanade Robert Vasse. Information: e-mail:
Floating Market L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue held annually on the first Sunday of August, along with the very famous Sunday market. It takes place on the arms of the Sorgue opposite the public park and starts at 09:00 and ends around 12:30. The nego-Chin, typical boats with a flat bottom glide from one bank to another for public use, offering them a medley of colours and scents (local products such as fruit and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, cheese, wine, bread …). We advance the market advantage additionally traditional Provencal costumes, music and live commentary and singing. But for this you must arrive early because access is very difficult! When the floating market ends, the nego-Chin meet online and all participants in the traditional market, and together they sing the famous Santo Coupo celebrate Provence.