Just a short drive from L’Isle-sur-la -Sorgue is the delightful town of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse where the source of the River Sorgue which encircles the former is to be found cascading noisily through the valley.
It is a beautiful intense emerald colour and popular with trout fishermen and canoeists. In the past, the velocity and intensity of the flow made the creation of a paper industry possible in paper mills with water driven wheels and vanes that in 1968 were replaced by hydraulic turbines.
An original paper mill still stands and is a working museum today with hand made paper by the master papermakers of Vaucluse made in the 15th century tradition available for sale in the shop.
Cliffs that are popular with climbing enthusiasts encircle the town and the ruins of the castle of the bishops of Cavaillon dominate the valley also. I visited on a sunny Sunday – big mistake not to get there early!! Parking was an issue as only one road in and out and found that once I had gone past the parking options which quickly filled I had to squeeze through the entire town and try a few more times before I eventually succeeded.
It was worth it in the end as despite being quite touristy in comparison to many other nearby places the river was quite spectacular and there was some interesting places to browse in including several shops devoted to selling Provençal Santons.