It is famous for its many antiques shops, and hosts antique markets most Sundays. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a small town with many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other.
Originally known as "Insula", the town officially adopted the name of "L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue" on 18 August, 1890, taking the latter part of their name from the river Sorgue, to which they owed much. As early as the 12th century, the river served them defensively as a moat around ramparts which surrounded the city until 1795. The river also served as a source of food and industry: fishing and artisan mills for oil, wheat, silk, paper, woolenry, rugs and dyeing. A busy commerce developed until there were two annual fairs and two weekly markets. The current Thursday open-air market had its start on 9 November, 1596.