Good Friday and we set off to the Mecca of all Brocantes, Ille Sur la Sorge. Set in the heart of Provence, it was a three hour drive setting off bright and early for the biggest day of the year in French flea markets.
We stopped for coffee in Aix en Provence before heading on to the Ille, a small town set on an island in the Sorgue river.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the first or the second time we’d been but given that it was meant to be the biggest brocante of the year, it was hard to pass up.
We arrived before it was too busy and started perusing the stands. Green glass bottles (banned from buying any more), rusty wrought-iron tables and chairs, mirrors, crockery, cutlery, glasses and lots of miscellaneous crap. The unifying factor, the price. Prices in Ille sur la Sorgue were much higher than our trusty or rusty Troc en Stock.
We stopped for lunch and sat under a lovely wisteria in a picturesque garden, blossom dropping on to the table and plates.
Lunch was delicious, an entree of burrata with aioli followed by a Provençal gnocchi delicately flavored with olive and tomato and finally a rosemary-infused goat cheese with a drizzle of honey.
After lunch we discovered the largest part of the market and debated the merits of various rusty tables before stumbling across a stand full of antique soda siphons. A myriad of colour, we were captivated as we’ve searched high and low for the French glass bottles. It would appear however, not as rare as we’d thought!
We decided to cut our losses and leave before we blew the house budget. The prices were too high and we’ve had more success in our local flea markets.
Not all was lost as we stopped for tea in Salon de Provence and then decided to detour back through Toulon on our way to Ikea.
Passing through Toulon we saw part of the coast we’d like to explore, south of St Tropez, the Var coast looks less developed than the Riviera and definitely worth a look. On the list of things to do.
Several hours later we arrived home, it had been a long day and we were exhausted. Not much to show for our travels but we were making progress and the end was in sight.