Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and The Runaway Hat

Emily, my guest blogger, continues:

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, built on a series of canals by the Sorgue river in the Vaucluse section of the Luberon, once was a large industrial area.

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The eight moss-covered water wheels scattered throughout the town once were used in silk factories and olive mills. Today, they add a unique charm to the town.

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There is a major outdoor market on Sundays, featuring scores of antique dealers lining the streets and canals with their goods of every description, as well as large numbers of permanent dealers in regular shops. I wish we were able to buy some of the marvelous furniture and have it shipped home but alas, with the dollar so depressed we only can enjoy looking. I do love seeing the brightly colored carousels in all of the larger towns such as the one in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; they are permanent fixtures and part of their charm are the decorations that encircle each merry-go-round with paintings of regional scenes. Fields of lavender and grazing sheep! There were paintings on the other side of the carousel picturing the water wheels.

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After jostling through multitudes of shoppers for hours, at the moment the market closed the crowd dispersed like magic, and we happily stopped at a quintessential French cafe across from the cathedral – appropriately named Cafe de France – for a much needed jolt of caffeine. As I perused the carte, a gust of wind swept my broad-brim straw hat off my head and it took off rolling down the street like a Victorian hoop! Tout de suite, men popped up all along the terrace of the cafe and along the street in an effort to subdue the wayward hat. (Linda’s hat, I might add.) After it had traveled for about a block, it finally was recaptured. I then knew why I never saw the French ladies in this land of the mistral sporting wide-brim straw hats…and why old photos show ladies wearing hats firmly tied under their chins!

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This interesting shop was next door to the cafe.

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A boulangerie in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

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Sideroads of Europe

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