Under the cover of a few menacing clouds, we left for an extended weekend at Isle-sur-la Sorgue last Thursday. The long holiday weekend of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day (la Toussaint) is a big travel weekend around France and, judging by all the Italiani we met on the road, in Italy as well.
Although I sometimes feel like I’m on a permanent “holiday” living in France, my day-to-day life is not much different from back in the USA… my weeks revolve around my job and trying to “squeeze” as much as I can into every day. It’s far from big-city living, and I thank my lucky stars I left those 2-hour-long commutes on the 405 freeway far behind, but living in France is really like living anywhere else in a lot of ways… only with much better butter & some pretty amazing yogurt. So I’d been looking forward to this “bridge” weekend for a long long time…
And really, we couldn’t have asked for a better escape. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue lived up to everything I’d heard and then some. I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer but never what you might call “romantic”… but that’s really the best word to describe the magic of this village. Very very romantic. First, there’s the antique shops. It seemed that half the people were more into browsing than buying, but I can’t think of a much better way to spend an afternoon than strolling along those quaint stalls.
Then, there’s the Sorgue river that flows through the middle of town with its tiny, flower-dotted bridges and riverside cafes and bistros. I could sit… and eat … there for hours. Finally, we were enchanted with the general pace and lifestyle of the town. People were friendly, relaxed, and no one seemed in a hurry to do really, well, anything but enjoy the beautiful scenery and watch the world go by. Well, maybe that last bit was just us, but no matter, I haven’t felt that relaxed in a long time, and if a town can inspire that, that’s romantic enough for me.
Where we stayed:
We found a gem at Les Terrasses du Bassin (see photo). The hotel has eight rooms (ask for one with a river view) and is a steal for the price (€173 for three nights). I’m almost hesitant to give out the address as I hope we’ll find space there for our next visit. They have a restaurant as well, which we didn’t try as we were quite taken with Le Carré Rond. A very warm welcome and friendly staff.Les Terrasses du Bassin 2 Avenue Gén de Gaulle 84800 Isle sur la Sorgue 04 90 38 03 16
What we ate:
Finding a good place to eat always seems to turn into a “mission” whenever we travel, and after hearing “industrial-food” horror stories (we learned on this trip that if you add a garnish to a packaged meal you have the right to call it “homemade” – from a restaurant owner, luckily not from personal experience), so when we find a good place to eat, we stick with it. We had two exceptional dinners at Le Carré Rond – fresh, creative, and affordable. I’d return for their tiramisu au speculoos alone, super super bon.Le Carré Rond Quai jean Jaurès, 84800 Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 04 90 95 77 02