The small town is famous for its many antique shops and hosts antique markets most Sundays. It has many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Its many attractive water wheels throughout the town are still in working order. Keith Floyd, the British TV chef and bon viveur established a restaurant there during a lengthy sojourn in France.
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 its name from the river Sorgue, to which it owed much. As early as the 12th century, the river served defensively as a moat around ramparts which surrounded the town 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 Sunday open-air market originated on 9 November 1596.