2021 Staggering beauty of the Isle of Corsica

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September 2 to 8, 2021

A Smash-Up of French & Italian Culture Tour for Women

Nancy McGee, director of Absolutely Southern France, will be joining you on this trip to Corsica, taking you to discover the beauty of this gem of an island in the Mediterranean where she lived for 5 years. She designed the itinerary in collaboration with Doni Belau, trip planner of Girls Guide to Paris.

I’ll be joining you on this tour to Corsica, taking you to discover the beauty of this gem of an island in the Mediterranean where I lived for 5 years. I designed the itinerary in collaboration with Doni Belau, trip planner of Girls Guide to Paris.

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

CALVI

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

BASTIA/SAINT FLORENT/PATRIMONIO

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

BONIFACIO

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 

AJACCIO

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

Farewell

After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll check out and a transfer to the Ajaccio airport will be supplied.

Information for Travelers

All our trips are organized and priced based on single occupancy at all the places we stay. If you’re traveling with a friend/relative or would prefer to save some money by sharing a room, we can usually organize double occupancy and a reduction in cost.

What’s Included:

  • Everything stated on the itinerary above including all meals, snacks, wine, beer or cocktails as offered at meals
  • Transport on the island
  • Entrance costs, trips, tastings or workshops
  • All Guides
  • All Hotels, both of which fall in the luxury category
  • Sailboat ride
  • A beauty workshop

What’s Not Included:

  • International Airfare to France
  • Plane or ferry to Corsica
  • Spa services at our first hotel
  • Beverages beyond what is offered
  • Souvenirs and personal items
  • Museum entrance fees during free time
  • Travel and medical insurance, required for those over 50 years of age.

CONTACT US

To reserve your spot or request additional information,  please fill out the form below. Nancy will then contact you to discuss the tour details and arrange your booking.

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Tour Details

Dates: September 2 to 8, 2021
Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Cost: 5435 euros in single occupancy
Participants: 6

Tour HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Citadel of Bonifacio
  • Triping Napoleon’s childhood home
  • Sipping award winning Corsican Wines
  • Visiting a UNESCO World Heritage protected nature reserve
  • Scouring one of France’s largest collections of Italian Masterpieces
  • Learning about the Maquis and making your own creams out of the herbs
  • Picnics and market romps

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