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I nibbled on a flaky golden croissant for breakfast on the terrace of the hotel where I watched a couple of local fishermen down “keep me awake for a week” espressos. Across the Basin, the clock on the wall of the restaurant read the same time as it did when I arrived, the same time as it does every day. I felt like it was saying, don’t worry about rushing, take your time, there’s nowhere you need to be except here, enjoying yourself. The word idyllic sprang to mind. I had heard that Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has lots of antique shops and flea markets. I’d seen some lovely photos of the town. But nothing prepared me for the sight when I walked a few yards along the road from the hotel and turned into Avenue des Quatre Otages. Filling the pavement and spilling into the road were stalls piled with things I wanted to take home from furniture to antiques heaven paintings, ornaments, knick knacks, china, textiles and this and that. Every alley, every side road, every entrance seems to lead to another antiques warehouse or shop or a whole cluster of shops in antiques villages. Shady squares and ancient buildings - full of stuff! It’s like the Antiques Road Show come to life right in front you times a hundred – or rather times 300 as that’s the number of permanent dealers here. And as if that’s not enough, every Sunday there’s an outdoor antiques market and there are international antiques shows every Easter and in August when around 200 more sellers arrive so you can fill your boots. It's a popular event and a stall holder told me that each year, a foreign Prince arrives with his several wives to shop. He gives each of them a huge shipping container to fill with antiques and ship back home. That's what I call retail therapy!
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