Day 1- September 2, Thursday
Arrival in Bastia on the northeast coast and transfer to your 4 star hotel overlooking the Med where we will be staying for our first three nights.
Tonight, after a rest, we’ll meet and greet over cocktails in the gardens of our hotel followed by dinner on fresh Mediterranean influenced food.
Day 2 – September 3, Friday
This morning, we’ll take a sensory stroll in a Botanical Garden dedicated to aromatic plants and flowers from across the Mediterranean basin. This island is famous for its unique grouping of herbs and plants that grow wild in the countryside called maquis, which we’ll learn all about during our walk.
Next is a stop in Calvi, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus where you will have lunch on the terrace of a charming bistrot overlooking the harbour. After lunch you’ll stroll the lovely historical center and then stop for a special treat; a demo and tasting of the traditional tasty canistrelli biscuits by one of the 3 remaining artisans still making this Corsican speciality , typically made with almonds, lemons and either wine or Pastis.
To follow up on your sensory exploration at the botanical gardens, you will be welcomed to a special beauty shop for a private workshop where you will learn how to make your own moisturizing lotion using the precious and rare immortality herb from Corsica.
You’ll also be introduced by a local knife-making artisan who will speak to us about traditional production techniques of forging metal and shaping knives following the rules of traditional Corsican cutlery-making. Corsica is famous for its beautiful yet rustic knives.
Dinner will be in Bastia in the citadelle with a stunning view overlooking the city, port and seaside.
Day 3– September 4, Saturday
Enjoy the cheerful atmosphere of a lively Corsican market where we will pick up some traditionally produced goods combining fragrances and regional flavours for our picnic in the vineyards. You’ll be taken for a lively professional guided tour of Bastia with entertaining Meggie, a proud native of the town.
On arrival in St Florent, Lunch will be quite relaxing at the Potager du Nebbiu in St Florent , set under the olive trees . The menu features dishes concocted by the couple with the products of the garden and the daily harvest. A rare opportunity to taste quality products that taste good and meet farmers who love to share their passion. After lunch, you’ll have some free time to stroll the charming seaside village. We’ll pick up additional treats for our picnic in the vineyards following the wine touring and tastings in Patrimonia in the afternoon
Tasting will be at two of the leading vineyards in Patrimonio , Gafforey followed by an exclusive to tour the private Giussani Paoli vineyard, The Guissani Paoli Estate, white wine specialist, produces the Grand Blanc, one amongst the best Vermentinos worldwide since 1912.
Tonight we’ll enjoy a picnic at the vineyard with a lovely collection of the food items and wine sourced today from the markets, vineyards and farms we’ve visited.
Day 4 – September 5, Sunday
AJACCIO VIA CORTE
On the way to Corte, we must stop at the Romanesque church built in 1280. It stands majestically alone on a plateau renowned for its distinctive colorful decor and carved ornamentation. This beautiful Chiesa (church) is classified as a historical monument.
We’ll savor lunch today on the delightful outdoor terrace of Auberge de la Restonica on the river bank, just outside the picturesque and remote hilltop town of Corte. In Corte, we’ll visit Corte Museum and trip the town where Pasquale Paoli, the father of the homeland, was born and founded a university. This is where in 1793, Corsica declared their separation from France. You’ll learn all about Corte and its history on the little train ride though the town.
Tonight we’ll check in to our 4 star hotel in Ajaccio, the capital of the south of Corsica , and after unpacking, your immersion will begin with a unique dinner experience with local specialties in Napoleon’s grotto restaurant.
Day 5 – September 6, Monday
Founded around 830 A.D., Bonifacio is Corsica’s oldest town. After driving just over 2 hours, we’ll wander the cobble stoned streets and cute shops at the Citadelle and go on the audio tour Fortress of the Standard . From the Citadel that overlooks the sea and once a defensive fort, one can spy Sardinia, Italy just across the sea. The two islands were once adjoined, but volcanic activity tore them apart.
Lunch will be a varied selection of italian specialties at Mama Gina’s in the heart of Bonifacio.
On our way back to Ajaccio, we make a stop at the “Lion’s Head” for a photo shoot and tour of the musem followed by a stop to meet Michelle’s who will share her passion with you. We learn how they make their organic essential oils directly from the herbs and plants found on the island.
Tonight we’ll have the pleasure discovering Corsican-style mussels at the quaint St Pierre , a family run mother /daughter restaurant in the historical center of Ajaccio.
Day 6 –September 7, Tuesday
The ‘Imperial City’ of Ajaccio, also known as the “City of Coral”, inspired the famous painter Matisse as it does today’s artists and craftsmen. We’ll meet Anne Marie in her boutique who will invite us into her workshop. In the 18th century, ¾ of the population lived off of the coral industry. Anne Marie is now the only remaining jeweler who is still sculpting corals in Ajaccio.
Next we’ll take an audio guided-trip of the Bonapartes’ ancestral home, the birthplace of the town’s famous son. Afterwards we’ll have some time off to stroll the largest fresh produce market on the island, the famed Ajaccio covered market.
YOu’ll have free time off for lunch and the afternoon to make last minute purchases or visit the super Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts, which contains France’s largest collection of Italian paintings outside the Louvre, including works by Titian, Botticelli, Veronese and other masters or why not take a swim in the med at the nearby beach?
Tonight’s , after a farewell glass of champagne, you will have the pleasure of admiring the sunset on the Med at Chez Pech for the best seafood in town at your farewell dinner.
Day 7 –September 8, Wednesday
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll check out and a transfer to the Ajaccio airport will be supplied.