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If we thought Vaison-la-Romaine would be hard to top, it was because we had not yet seen L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – it is simply beautiful. We cycled through the Centre-Ville on the way to our hotel, which was on the outskirts of the town, and the promise of the what we had seen made us very keen to check in and return. Our hotel, Domaine de la Petite Isle, was not so typically Provencal, but was excellent, apart from being further out than we would have liked.

Having checked in, and explored the lovely hotel setting, we wandered back into the town – it’s a stunner – with its canals, water wheels and cafes on the water, not mention some good shopping in the quaintest of streets.  I admit to being very excited when I found one of my favourite shops- L’Occitane, franchised in New Zealand, but here was the real thing! There was quite a buzz in the town too as Bastille Day was just four days away, and the decorations were going up, adding to the festive air.

Sadly we missed the famous antique market days, but I guess we can’t have everything, and it is a great excuse to go back, which we plan to do. We spent our afternoon, wandering the streets, and stopping for the odd wine or coffee, as we took in the views and people-watched.  There is nothing nicer than sitting in a French sidewalk (or canal-side) cafe, and watching the world go by…. especially when the town is brimming with stylish and elegant French women. I had bought myself the obligatory white pants and muslin top at the Vaison market, but somehow I didn’t wear them as well as the stylish French!

Before I continue I should mention Rick Steves, the travel advisor I currently rely on (along with the excellent Trip Advisor website).  I hadn’t discovered Rick in 2007 when we did this trip, and I relied heavily on Jill from A Walker’s World, whom I might add was every bit as good as Rick. Out of interest, I have just downloaded Rick’s book  Rick Steves Provence and the French Riviera to my Ipad and it is excellent!! His advice gels remarkably with our own experience – right down to places to eat and stay, and sights to see. I will certainly be using it when we return in 2014, though there will be an updated version available by then I suspect.

At end of a long but quite relaxing day, we returned to the hotel, knowing we had much more in store in the morning, with a side trip to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and the the amazing hilltop town of Gordes. My next post will tell all, but here is just a taste of what you can see in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.