The Marché Flottant, or floating market, is an annual market in Isle sur la Sorgue. It’s every first Sunday of August. Locals in traditional dress load up their “Nègo Chin” (traditional Provençal boats) with olives, lavender, truffle products and all sorts of provençal specialties. You can stand on the side of the river or docks and buy directly from the boats. The small floating market is visually stunning; it transports you to another time. See pictures below.
Because the annual event is in August, the riversides get very busy. The Marché Flottant is also happening during the large weekly Sunday market. I would have it another day of the week but that’s just me! If you’d like to witness this stunning floating market, I suggest you go as early as possible, watch for 15 minutes or so, and then move on to a café down the river to give other people a chance to buy their tapenade. The boats are selling on the river from 9am to 1pm. You’ll find the market on only one part of the river, behind the town hall (Marie).
This little boy selling the local La Provence paper was just too cute!
The Sorgue River
The beautiful clear water of the Sorgue river used to serve as an important part of local industry. Not only was there a lot of fishing here but you’ll notice moss-covered water mills throughout the town where all kinds of products used to be milled such as olive oil or chickpea flour. Visit the nearby Fontaine de Vaucluse to see the mysterious source of the Sorgue river. Fontaine de Vaucluse is the biggest spring in France. Despite being part of a trade route used by the Romans, the picturesque town was also made more famous by the poet Petrarch, who lived in Fontaine de Vaucluse in the 14th century.
Sunday Market All Year Round
If you can’t make it to the marché flottant, the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue is an excellent market and goes all year round. This is also the town where you’ll find the third largest antiques market in Europe. If you’d like to book a foodie market tour with me, see Curious Provence Provence Market Tours.