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Modern Day Treasure Hunting: The Antiques of L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue

Modern Day Treasure Hunting: The Antiques of L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue

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L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, in the Luberon region, is one of the most important platforms for the antiques and collectibles trade in all of Europe.

About 30 miles east of Avignon, France, this picturesque town was the first antique center outside of Paris—today it is the third largest market in Europe behind the famous flea market at St.-Ouen in Paris and London’s Portobello district.

Dealers from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and elsewhere throughout the world travel to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to purchase antiques on behalf of clients. More than 350 antique dealers exhibit here every weekend, selling directly to customers as well as to the trade.

Each Sunday, there is a street fair featuring antique dealers who set up temporary stalls on the sidewalk where they sell everything from furniture, silver, antique books and fine antique linens to small collectibles such as ancient Roman coins and war medals. The best dealer for antique silver (see photos below) is Kate Dickinson, who can be found at the street fair on most Sundays. Dickinson also operates a shop nearby—for more information contact her at 33 (0) 4 90 20 90 75.

There are also several large exhibition halls where antique dealers operate permanent stalls all year long, selling a wide variety of antiques including furniture, carpets, lamps, porcelain, fine art and silver.

One of the best exhibition halls is Le Quai de la Gare where 30 dealers operate permanent stalls on two expansive floors. Be sure to seek out “Chez Olive Antiquites” on the “premier etage” up the stairs (see photo above), as it is considered to be one of the best antique dealers in all of France. Sought out by buyers who travel from all over the world to purchase its high quality antiques, Chez Olive Antiquites is owned and operated by Olivier Gueyle (tel: 33 06 14 48 02 26). Chez Olive regularly works closely with a shipping broker and can handle all of the details involved with shipping purchases internationally. Le Quai de la Gare is located at 4 Avenue Julien Guigue and is open Friday from 2pm to 7pm and on Monday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm.

One of the best times to visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is during the period around Easter Sunday and in mid-August of each year when the “Grand Deballage” takes place. This enormous antiques and collectibles fair features more than 500 additional exhibitors and is not to be missed.

Photos by Gracie Coolidge