Part of the name of this city is the name of the river Sorgue, which flows through it. For a change, L’isle means an island, since the beginnings of a future important settlement were laid here, at first a simple fishing village, located on an island in an area full of marshes, gradually drained. Thanks to this, there are many canals and the city is thus considered the Venice of the local region. We know the same thing with the creation of solid ground in the middle of marshes, for example, at the impressive UNESCO monument, which is the Montmajour Abbey near Arles. The beautiful emerald waters of the Sorgue River are less than 10 kilometers away from the rock spring above Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
Thanks to this watercourse, many grain and olive pressing mills, paper mills, tanneries and textile factories have sprung up here. The symbol of the city are the photogenic wheels of water mills, overgrown with moss, of which there were around sixty in the 19th century. Even if we read on the Czech Wikipedia that six of them have been preserved, the information from the local tourist center will be more reliable, which states more than twice as many, fifteen to be exact.
Nègo Chin (drowning dog) boats, based on traditional flat-bottomed fishermen’s boats, are ubiquitous. The Notre-Dame-des-Anges church has been registered as a historical monument since 1911. On the altar stands a statue of Notre-Dame de Sorguette, the patron saint of fishermen, who once a year leaves her place and travels through the city, not on her own, but carried in a procession.
Markets take place here on Thursdays and Sundays, an extraordinary experience with a return to the old days is the market on the first Sunday of August, when Nègo Chin serve as sales stalls and market traders dress in traditional Provençal costumes. Another specialty, not a culinary one, but a commercial one, is the great culmination of antique shops, of which there are around three hundred in the city. Treasure seekers of lost years come here from all over the world, especially for the Easter and autumn flea markets. The large store of the Super U chain on the northern outskirts of the city is used to buy food at reasonable prices, where the gas station is both manned and non-stop self-service.
In history, the city was connected with the County of Venaissin, which at one time, from 1348, was an enclave of the Papal State in Avignon, joined France in 1791, i.e. during the Great French Revolution. The area of the county corresponded to the current department of Vaucluse. Not far from the city, you can visit the medieval town of Le Thor and the nearby stalactite cave in Thouzon, called the Cave of the Fairies, with the medieval ruins of Château de Thouzon above it, more HERE.
It is a small village, located halfway between Gordes and Goult. Here you can see the Saint-Pantaléon church, protected as a historical monument since June 13, 1907. The monument includes not only the building, but also the rock on which the church has stood since the 11th century. About a third of the height of the central apse, the largest and central of the three, is carved directly into the rock.
At the foot of this triple apse is a rock-hewn necropolis from the 11th – 12th century, where the graves of adults surround the graves of children (here again it is necessary to mention Montmajour, where similar tombs are also found). The interior of the church is modest, surprising with an exceptionally narrow window. You probably won’t even come across tourists here, you can sit quietly on the warm rock under the church and park in its immediate vicinity without any problems.
This village has a name of Germanic origin, when it was first Agaud, then Provençal Agoùt and finally settled on the form Goult. In addition to the typical alleys and nooks, the Château de Goult growing directly out of the rock, with foundations in the 12th century, i.e. the castle of the d’Agoult family, attracts attention. Like many similar ones, it is privately owned and therefore inaccessible to the public.
It is definitely worth walking to the upper part of the village to the windmill from the 17th century, called Moulin de Jerusalem. It was used to grind flour and was in operation until 1919. Its name was probably motivated by the crusades in which the lords of Goult participated, and this name was meant to remind them of their heroism. In the summer months, it is occasionally open to visitors. There is also one of the nineteen information boards, but in the language of the indigenous population, i.e. in French.
Just walking through the alleys will allow you to look into artists’ studios, sit on the steps in the shade of arbors and sycamores, and whoever has a spare euro can have refreshments in one of the four restaurants. A popular café is the Café de la Poste, not only because of its terrace one of the most popular in the region. The Romanesque church of St. Sebastian from the 12th century with a baroque altarpiece, which can be found in the main square.
The most amazing panoramic view of the Salt Chamber lakes is from Schafberg
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