No matter how you arrive, once here, the heat seeps into your bones, rosé flows liberally, summer days are hazy, in tune with the cicadas and the path of the sun. The daily schedule and demands of life melt away, I flow gently along. Except when the antiquaires are open:
I weave quickly through the town’s dusty heat and hidden corners, to where the ‘îles brocantes’ exist, 40 dealers or so to an ‘island’, next to glass green rivers. Each entrance offers a promise of possibility and lures me in, quite surprised by my re-found vigour.
There’s plenty to choose from in the long parade of riverside antiquaries, from grand proclamation
to the discreet sign
and gated enclave…
oooh and a seductive courtyard ahead
Not forgetting upstairs…
In fact, myriad possibilities at every turn, which at this stage I am quite familiar with.
There’s plenty of options for sustenance, from the chic courtyard gardens chez Jardin de la Quai
to a cheeky pit stop.
The first few trips, I try not to succumb, but let the vast array of merchandise wash over me, and see what floats to the brain’s surface aprés, persistently, demanding a second look.
even though I am not in the market for ‘asperge’ pilasters, they make smile on arrival.
An entrance console in hammered gilt, Italian 1940’s would make me smile at home.
Or slightly more sombre, but still chic.
Or maybe I should take ancient and distressed, over mid century glamour, for country life.
I love the Baroque drama of THIS, complete with tassels. Retreating slightly…
A pair of mer-swan consoles catch my eye, but rather black and formal.
The fish sideboard is more fun, in lovely colours, but surely someone here chez Sorgue and rivers should buy it?
Next stop, I could leave the camel, but appropriate the 19th century butcher’s tables with scrolled X frame, there’s a couple of boucherie options here, equally leaving the teddy bears aside.
On the more serious (expensive side) I could go for French provincial charm in fruitwood, early 19 th century, the top inlaid with a treillage design, I wish I had photographed its geometeric precision, and he said he’d throw in the Varage soupiére too, it’s all quite tempting.:
The faux bois bench in cement with preening swan beneath is sold. phew.
Some dealers even have a bespoke side, creating seriously stylish new pieces: the kaleidoscope cabinet in bleached walnut, would I think be rather breathtaking chez moi…or indeed toi.
If I was feeling flush I would definitely ask him to conjure up another of his free-form, wood-we-trust, coffee tables as well. Apparently he has also made a kitchen table in this style…. hhhmmm.
Or further along the isle there’s hewn wood from Java, but really I’d like something more local…let’s stay French.
As for the curiosity cabinet ready to go, obviously I am interested:
But sometimes it’s easier to just think decorative: easier to transport, easier decor-re-ranging, easier on the wallet.
A mirror, that would slide in the car…
Ventetian, early 20th century, with that blue étoile…
or the Louis XVI mirror, complete with turtle doves:
Or while in fantasy land, let’s fly away, I love the hot air balloon, Montgolfière, complete with clouds. Symbolic of the French designers’ zeal for ‘souvenir’ design: à la mode decorative arts.
A boullabaise serving set, I can’t even cook bouillabaisse, but I could learn? all the things you end up convincing yourself of (almost) when in mode Antiquaire, I love that grass green glaze, it’s almost lettuceware:
pineapple lamp 1, unfortunately dulls beside the allure of ‘Masion Charles’ pineapple lamp 2:
Could go the whole way and add on the palm tree wall lights?
or maybe the bar cart complete with pineapple lamp, just waiting for the cinzano?
Then I could take my pick of ice boxes… strawberry, duck? pumpkin? or owl?
Which brings me to my couple of preliminary purchases, inevitably I can’t walk away from it all? The owl came home. The pineapple lamp, we know which one. A bamboo magazine rack will slide behind the front seat of the car:
Now I am back to think, with what’s left of my summer brain. Putting them all down like this makes me realise my surrealist bent needs some restraining pieces. But the joy of Isle sur la Sorgue is it offers something for all tastes, particularly in its August fair when the town overflows with dealers, you can have as much fun with 70 EU as several thousand, by evening time each dealer is rosé lit, expansive and ready to barter in the golden glow, from vintage wine cooler to Louis XVI glories. I just need to hold on to my hat. Sorgue again.
All photos by me.
Please forgive any rosé typos.