Hello to all travelers, today we will visit what is the last stop of our tour around France and precisely our adventure will be in Ajaccio. Let’s get to know it.
Ajaccio is the capital of the Corsica region, to be specific to the Southern Corsica. It is located in the deepest part of the Gulf of Ajaccio, in the inlet of the Corsican sea at the mouth of the Gravona river. The inhabitants of the municipality are known as Ajacciens or Ajacciennes. Ajaccio is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, therefore, there are many references connected to him (which we will have the opportunity to see during our tour). From this we can understand that its history has a great value, it was influenced by the Italian dominion (in particular by the Genoese) and today it is also influenced by nearby Sardinia. Referring back to the city’s past, various hypotheses have been put forward on the etymology of the name Ajaccio: the city was founded by the legendary Greek hero Ajax and was named after him; another hypothesis is that the name could be related to the Tuscan “agghiacciu” which means “sheep’s feathers” or derives from the Greek word “agathè” and therefore would have the meaning of “good luck” or “good mooring”. The city has an airport, a port (where many ferries depart to France, in particular to Nice, Toulon, and Marseille, but also to Sardinia and Genoa. A separate mention is that of its magnificent environmental heritage, but we will talk about this later. So we would say to enter in the heart of our adventure.
To know more ( what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Let’s start with knowing the history of Ajaccio. Let’s go!
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption: it is the main place of worship in Ajaccio. The cathedral is in Baroque style, externally it is a cheerful orange color. Its interior is very simple with interesting paintings and sculptures.
Another church you can visit is the Eglise du Sacre Coeur. Completely different from the previous one, both as regards the architecture and for its predominant white color that gives brightness.
- Musee Fesch: housed in the nineteenth-century Palazzo Fesch, it houses a vast collection of works of art, which includes Italian paintings, sculptures, furniture, goldsmiths and various objects. The museum follows a chronological order starting from the Italian artists of the fourteenth century to the courses of the twentieth century. Among the most important works we find, Sandro Botticelli, Tiziano, Paolo Veronese, Corrado Giaquinto and many others. The palace also houses a library with a prestigious collection of volumes of history, theology and literature. In addition we find an imperial chapel, built in the mid-nineteenth century in a neo-Renaissance style. The palace is quite large and at the entrance we find a small courtyard with a statue in the center.
- Maison Bonaparte: home of the Bonaparte family is located at Rue Saint-Charles. The museum preserves the memories of the family but also important relics concerning the life of the emperor. It is a very simple house as its family is a minor nobility. So being this city so important for Napoleon, we would say that it is a must stop on our tour. Also, if you decide to visit Ajaccio during the summer season, don’t miss the Napoleonic Days, organized as a tribute to the emperor. Every August for three days, you will have the opportunity to attend military costume parades, historical re-enactments, exhibitions and concerts.
- Naporama: it is a museum containing the Playmobil (similar to lego) of all the battles made by Napoleon. It is really beautiful and well made, with attention to every detail and is perfect for learning history with the right levity (perfect and fun especially for children). The scenes were made by a local artist. To be seen!
Let’s continue, there is still so much to see!
- Sanguinaires: archipelago of the Sanguinaires islands is part of the municipality of Ajaccio. This has four islands (Mezzu Mare, Cormorani, Cala d’Alga, Porri and in addition Punta di Parata) composed of typical dark red rocks, which at sunset release this nuance creating an amazing effect; and from here the name sanguinarie, but it is only one (maybe the most probable) of the various hypotheses that lie behind the name. On the top of the main island there is a characteristic lighthouse. All this heritage is named Grand site de France for its great symbolic value.
- Les calanques de Piana: this is a curious geological formation, south of the town of Porto in the municipality of Piana, formed by red granite rocks. The narrow road that connects the villages of Porto and Piana runs through these rock formations and from it there are numerous paths that allow you to reach splendid panoramic points, absolutely not to be missed. Each rock has its own name as it represents that particular object, there is the dog’s head, the skull, the heart, the head. These badlands are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Réserve naturelle de Scandola: Scandola nature reserve is part of the regional natural park of Corsica and is a UNESCO heritage site. It was the first European nature reserve to have a protected part on the sea and a part on land. In any case, the nature reserve consists of two sectors, the islet of Elpa Nera and the peninsula of Scandola and its slopes overlooking the sea contain numerous caves and are flanked by many islets and bays unfortunately inaccessible. The excursion is mainly done by sea. A real show for the eyes!
- Torra di Capu di Fenu: it is a tower (well what remains of the tower) now only a part of it survives; but this is precisely the beauty because it is a beautiful historical testimony. It had been built by the Republic of Genoa against pirate attacks. The tower is located on a high part of the Ajaccio coast where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
- Place Foch: this is between the main squares of Ajaccio, perfectly located between the port and the city center, this is where the various events of the city and the weekly market tae place. The area is full of shops, restaurants and a long, tree-lined avenue for strolling. Also in the center of the square is a small garden with a statue and a fountain. Another central square you can visit is place de Gaulle. A beautiful square in the center there are four statues (including Napoleon on horseback), benches, all inserted in this large open space. Not far from the square there is also a small casino.
- Sentier des Cretes: it is a beautiful path to do. It is located in the upper part of the city and there will be enough to walk, so arm yourself with sneakers and start this wonderful excursion with lots of views.
- For true lovers of trekking and for experts, don’t miss Mount Aragnascu. A belvedere with a splendid view over the entire Gulf of Ajaccio. It’s tough, but it’s worth it.
- La Grotte Napoléon: a very special place. It is a gastronomic place, but don’t be fooled by the appearance because it is much more. Inside you will find a simulation of a cave with wall screens that will make you relive the story of Napoleon through the projection of a film that tells his life from childhood. During the screening you can also discover Corsican specialties. A complete cultural, visual and taste experience. Inside there is also a shop where you can buy some souvenirs.
- There are plenty of beaches in Ajaccio, let’s see some of them: Plage Saint-Francois, Punta Di Sette Nave, Plage de Capitello, Plage de Vent, Plage de Lava, Plage de Capo di Feno, Plage du Ricanto, Plage d ‘Agosta, Plage de Porticcio, Plage de Marinella; all perfect destinations for a boat trip. It’s up to you the choice!
- Let’s see what other things we can do in the city: a nice stroll around Cours Grandval (which connects Place de Gaulle to Place d’Austerlitz). This district is also known as the district of foreigners, as it was established to welcome British and German tourists. During your walk you can admire beautiful buildings and much more. If you don’t feel like walking but you want to see the beauties of the city, you can opt for the small tourist train. The tours start from the Foch square and you have the possibility to choose 2 itineraries, that of the Sanguinaire and the tour of the city which focuses on the old part. It could happen a rainy or cold day, but don’t worry, you can go to the Corsica Arena which has a bowling alley, a virtual reality room, a play area with trampolines and obstacle courses.
- In the vicinity of Ajaccio there is a lot to see that you can’t miss: its fantastic villages, one among them is Villanova. Lake Tolla, when the cloudy summer hits, there is nothing more refreshing than enjoying the refreshing air near the lake (absolutely beautiful even in winter). In addition, you can rent a pedal boat for a ride in the waters. Cupulatta, a real city of turtles. The route develops through paths where different species meet in various habitats and the various streets take their name from the different breeds of reptiles. Bonifacio is known as the city of white cliffs, Bastia retains all the charm of a port city and then Calvi, Ile-Rousse, Sartène a picturesque town.
The nightlife of the city is focused more in the historic center where there are most of the trendy clubs and lounge bars. The discos are all focused in the coastal area.
Now let’s see some of the clubs in the city.
- Blue moon Ajaccio: night club
- Le Before: lounge bar
- Le Rooftop By Lodge
It’s time for… typical dishes!
The nearby Sardinia has influenced Corsica also on a gastronomic level, sharing the Mediterranean culture. Mainly the dishes are based on fish, seafood and crustaceans, such as Ajaccio crabs; but let’s see them more closely.
- Soupe de poisson a l’ajaccienne: fish soup. The dish is made up of different fish typical of the area (Rascasse, Girelles, Congres, Vives…) with the addition of tomatoes and herbs.
- Aziminu: is a typical fish soup cooked using at least seven different types of fish. Everything is flavored with pastis (typical French aperitif), olive oil and various aromatic plants. It differs from the previous one not only for some ingredients but also because it is more soupy.
- Civet de sanglier: another main course of Corsican cuisine (no, it is not fish) is the wild boar prepared in a casserole with carrots, chestnuts, fennel, garlic, onions. Here is the mountain side of the city.
- Fiadone: its shape is similar to ravioli. This baked cake is composed of a dough prepared with egg, oil, white wine and flour. The filling is made with Corsican cheese (brocciu), sugar, eggs and lemon peel. Other additions include raisins and candied fruit. There is also a savory version. Sweet or salty, the important thing is that it should be eaten!
- Fritelli: are fried Corsican beignet, made with wheat or chestnut flour stuffed with fresh cheese. A real goodness!
- To all these dishes you can accompany Vermentini white wines or vigorous red wines or also fresh rosés.
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
Now we just have to go in search of places where we can taste the dishes of Ajaccio.
- A Terrazza: French, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Produits Corses a Casetta: French cuisine.
- A Cantina Di Ghjulia: French, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Le Saint Pierre: French, Mediterranean cuisine.
- A Merendella Citadina: French, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Le directoire: French, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Le St Charles: French, Mediterranean, vegetarian cuisine.
- Le Petit Clos: wine bar with French, European cuisine.
- Le Roi de Rome: French, European cuisine.
- A Marinasca: French, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
With this we end our tour in Ajaccio and unfortunately also our trip to France. We are sad but always ready for the new adventures that await us. What will be next? Keep following and discover it with us.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.