19 March 2012

a day trip south

I was in the 10th grade when I first heard the name Stratford-upon-Avon. There was a chapter in my English textbook that discussed Shakespeare, and the town was mentioned as his birthplace. The name made an impression on me because, well, because it sounded so strange! What's this "upon" business? Why use a phrase for a place name?

Of course, Stratford-upon-Avon isn't the only town with a name like that. And it turns out, there are plenty of towns upon-this and upon-that in France, too. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one of them.

It was very quiet in l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on this particular Saturday. The cafes were open and so were the antique shops, but many other stores -- including bakeries -- were closed. They didn't looked like they were just closed for lunch, either. They had the shutters down, and I had a feeling that they were open only during the week. There weren't a whole lot of people because it's not the high tourist season yet, and things were decidedly low-key.

Had we headed over to the train station, we may have found the brocante, but we didn't. And that was okay with me. It was very pleasant to walk around. We followed the meandering cobble-stone streets, popped into several antique malls, examined a couple of water wheels closely, and watched a game of boule in the park. I also had one of the best café gourmands I've ever had.


In the south of France, time flows a bit more slowly than in cities like Lyon or Paris. People are nicer and friendlier. Cars actually stop for you if you're standing at a crosswalk.


We hope to make another trip down south before the beginning of summer. Next time, however, we'll stay overnight.


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