Ajaccio is above all a unique and magical place. The town rises up from one of the most beautiful gulfs in the world, set against a backdrop of mountains that are often snow-capped until the spring. The beauty of the area is matched by the mildness of the climate and the “Ajaccian art of living”.
Bright colours, radiant light, delicious cooking smells, smiles of the Ajaccian people – Ajaccio knows how to charm you from the moment you arrive. In the morning, you can soak up the atmosphere of the city by strolling around the old port, through the lively markets and through the narrow streets of the noble houses in the old town.
During the day, enjoy the pleasures of white sandy beaches where you can swim until the end of autumn. At night, after the ever-spectacular sunset that glows red and lights up the Iles Sanguinaires, the night will belong to you, with parties, singing and an atmosphere of conviviality. Why not explore the shores of the Gulf of Ajaccio? To the north, the coastal road passes in front of the Marinella beach, as feted by Tino Rossi, which will lead you to Parata point that is overlooked by a Genoese watchtower.
A path leads you to the end of the point from where you can admire the Iles Sanguinaires and access the beaches of the large and small Capo di Feno. The turquoise waters and wild landscape make this place a favourite with surfers and it is sure to transport you miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In Ajaccio, the names of the streets, the statues, the monuments, all evoke the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born on 15 August 1769 in a house on the rue Saint Charles. At the age of nine, he left Corsica to attend a military school in Brienne. A lieutenant of the artillery in 1785, he was appointed second-in-command lieutenantcolonel of the national guard at Ajaccio in 1792. However, following several incidents he was forced to leave his native town and returned at the end of the Egypt campaign to a triumphant welcome.
He became Consul in 1799, Emperor in 1804 and in 1814 he abdicated in the face of a united Europe and died in Sainte-Hélène on May 5 1821.
The tour of the imperial city begins with a visit to the family home. Pillaged in 1793, when the Paolist forces drove out the French, it was refurnished by Napoleon’s mother in 1798. From here head to the Napoleon rooms in the Town Hall where you will see on display a number of items that relate to the Emperor, before making your way to the imperial chapel. On the outskirts of Ajaccio, you can also visit the country residence of the Bonaparte family, known as Les Milelli.
At the foot of the citadel of Ajaccio, you can explore the church of Saint Erasme, patron saint of fishermen, decorated with model boats; the cathedral (1593) where Napoleon was baptised. In the Fesch Museum, admire the magnificent collection of masterpieces by artists such as Boticelli, Bellini, Titien, all gifts from Cardinal Fesch, Napoleaon’s uncle.
All types of water sport such as diving, which can be practised all year round, jet-skiing, sailing, fun boarding and game fishing. A lovely walk awaits you along the “chemin des Crêtes” that follows the coast from the centre of Ajaccio to the Iles Sanguinaires.
Visit Cupulatta Park, Europe’s leading centre for turtle research, near to Vero in the Gravona valley. At the start of the spring, put on your skis on the Ese Plateau for a visit to the edge of the “pozzi” (peat bogs).
Canoeing and kayaking is available in the wild gorges of Prunelli. Why not go for a walk in the state-owned forest of Chiavari, in the south of Porticcio and take the hiking route known as the “Mare e Monti” that leaves from Porticcio. If you are feeling flush, why not try your luck in the Casino in Ajaccio !
For a true taste of the town, start with an aperitif in one of the café terraces. Enjoy fish and other local produce from the markets with mountain charcuterie, goat and sheep’s cheese from the valleys of Gravona and Taravo, “chaussons”, a type of pasty made with swiss chard, onions and courgettes, “ambrucciate” which are small flans made with brocciu cheese and delicately flavoured with lemon that go will with one of the AOC (wines with a guarantee of origin) wines made in Ajaccio.
Wintertime is perfect for tasting sea urchins, known as “orsinades”
Source (AGENCE DU TOURISME)