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Brocante at Isle sur la Sorgue
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, is the third most important centre in Europe for antiques
For nearly 40 years, the flea market has helped forge the identity of the town, giving it an international reputation. It all began in 1890 with the Légier family and continues today with the fourth generation in the business of fine furniture and antiques.
In 1890 Joseph Légier set up his antique shop in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, moving to Paris after the First World War. His son Raymond worked alongside him and after the Wall Street crash the family returned to Provence. René Légier, grandson of Joseph, created the first antique fair at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. He attended an exhibition at the Palais des Papes in Avignon and, seduced by the trade, decided, to organize the first antique fair with his friend Albert Gassier and their wives on August 15, 1966. Fourteen exhibitors took part, with furniture and art displayed on the island in the middle of a branch of the river Sorgue. The seed has grown over forty years, from year to year getting ever bigger.
The innovative idea set a new economic direction, for what had been a simple town of fishermen, wool and paper manufacturers and farmers, an economy which had been fading for years.
The first antique fair in August 15, 1966 was a great success.
The two co-initiators, Albert Gassier and René Légier sent out more than 2,000 invitations to notable experts in the area. Luckily, the day before the fair, a report was broadcast by ORTF, by a journalist and antique lover. The story had the effect of attracting a much larger number of people than expected. On the evening of August 15, the organisers took the decision to renew the show on August 15 of the following year and to create a second fair at Easter.
Between London and Saint-Ouen
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue fair is larger than that of Saint-Ouen and is second only to the famous London fair, Europe's largest antiques trade salons. Over time, antique shops, and art galleries have developed in the area.
They are now a major part of the economic activity of the town, which has grown from 7,000 inhabitants in 1960 to 20,000 today.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is now the permanent capital of the trade, concentrating a large number of professionals in one place. Obviously this growth and momentum has had multiple consequences. Among the growing number of enthusiasts who come from all over the world to hunt around the Isle there are merchants from the United States, Britain, Italy who contribute hugely to the dazzling economic progress of the town. Journalists have followed this new trend as the market has become the equal of Saint-Ouen. The town's restaurants, cafés, traders and various ancilliary companies have all thrived on the attraction of this unifying theme.
Although a complete evaluation is difficult,one just has to see similar towns around the Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to realise just how much this happy progress has turned the economy of the whole area around.
At the end of the 1970s, the idea of grouping traders into “villages” gave a new momentum and growth to the Comtat.
May and Autumn half-term: Saturday 2 and Sunday, November 3, 2013
Contact: ABIS +33(0)4 66 57 53 39
International antique and flea market fair
Easter: Friday, March 29 to Monday, April 1, 2013
August 15: From Thursday 15 to Sunday, August 18, 2013
Old book market
The last Sunday of each month
8 am to 6 pm on the esplanade Robert Vasse.
Flea market, all year round
Every Sunday morning from 8 am to 6 pm
Avenue 4 Hostages.
Contact: ABIS tel: 04 66 57 53 39
Since 1966, the heart of the town has beaten to the rhythm of its two major international flea market and antique fairs
More than 500 professional exhibitors offer visitors an unparalleled selection of merchandise.
Since 2003, a quality approach has been in put place by the town and members of the French Company of Experts in Antiques. It is a commitment by each exhibitor to present only high quality merchandise within the grounds of the fair. The commitments of the charter of quality are monitored by certified members of the French Company Experts in Antiques and mandated by the organisation.
Experts at the international fairs
Experts are not only at the service of the organisers — visitors may, at any time, apply to the Commissioner General of the Fair, located in Gautier Park to seek the advice of a member of the Company of Experts in French Antiques. In addition, this advice is totally free.
Experts during the May and Autumn fairs
The combination of antique shops of Isle sur la Sorgue, which organizes the Sunday morning market, and the two fairs in May and November, is fully involved in this quality charter.