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 charming 4-star boutique hotel a short drive from Bastia , a former 18th century farmhouse in the verdant countryside where we will be staying for our first three nights.

Tonight, after a rest, we’ll dine at our lovely hotel on fresh Mediterranean influenced food.

Day 2 – September 3, Friday

CALVI/ILE ROUSSE

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 Ile Rousse for a special treat; a tasting of the traditional tasty canistrelli biscuits, typically made with almonds, lemons and either wine or Pastis. We’ll follow our snacks with a stroll through the quaint morning market which was elected the most beautiful market in Corsica.

Taking the train in Corsica is a real adventure! You’ll embark onto the small 2-carriage train, nicknamed “Trinichellu” by the locals which runs from Ile Rousse along the pine forest to the Calvi beach. Calvi is proclaimed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.

Lunch will be quite relaxing under umbrellas on a terrace where you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the sea and port from inside the citadel.

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.

On our way back to the hotel, we’ll make a stop in a remarkable ancient village with 100 inhabitants, to admire the artisanal crafts which are 100% made in Corsica.

Dinner at a family run restaurant.

Day 3– September 4, Saturday

BASTIA/SAINT FLORENT/PATRIMONIO

Enjoy the cheerful atmosphere of a lively Corsican market on Bastia’s market day. The stalls offer plenty of traditionally produced goods combining fragrances and regional flavors. We’ll then take an audio trip of the entertaining and informative Bastia museum.

Lunch today will be in Saint Florent, in a seafood and fish-focused restaurant.

This afternoon will be dedicated to the wealth of food and drink products produced in Corsica. After lunch we’ll enjoy a wine tasting in Patrimonio at one of the best in Corsica Next we’ll head to Olivier and Laure’s olive oil orchards to trip the mill and taste their olives and honey.

Tonight we’ll enjoy a picnic dinner 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/CUTTOLI

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. 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.

We’ll savor lunch today at a charming cottage style restaurant and hotel just outside the picturesque and remote hilltop town of Corte.

On the way to our next abode, we’ll stop in the village of Cuttoli whose name is derived from the French word, couteau which means knife. Here, you’ll be welcomed 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.

Around cocktail hour we’ll enjoy a Corsican Wine tasting with local nibbles at one of the most ancient and reputable Island wineries, located in the southern part of the Island. Operated by 4 generations of family dating back to 1856, it is currently run by two sisters.

 

Tonight we’ll check in to our 4 star hotel in the capital of Ajaccio, and after unpacking,  we’ll admire a magical sunset while having dinner facing the Sanguinaires islands.

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 take the short train ride up to the top of a high cliff so we can trip around the town’s ancient fortress. From the Citadel that overlooks the sea and once a defensive fort, one can spy Sardinia, Italy just across the sea.

Not to be missed is lunch at the only restaurant serving exclusively Italian food in Bonifacio. Bonifacio is separated from the Italian island of Sardinia by the 11-kilometer-long Strait of Bonifacio. The two islands were once adjoined, but volcanic activity tore them apart.

After our repas, and a bit of time to wander through the cobble stoned streets and cute shops, we’ll head back towards Ajaccio. We’ll make a stop at a plant Distillery we’ll learn how they make their organic essential oils directly from the herbs and plants found on the island.

Tonight we’ll have the pleasure of dining at Don Quichotte restaurant on their specialty, Corsican-style mussels.

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 18thcentury, 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.

Afterwards we’ll have some time off to stroll the largest fresh produce market on the island, the famed Ajaccio covered market. Next we’ll take an audio guided-trip of the Bonapartes’ ancestral home, the birthplace of the town’s famous son. Then, in order that we remain in total historical immersion, we’ll have a unique lunch experience with local specialties in Napoleon’s grotto restaurant.

Afternoon recommendation: The superb 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.

Tonight’s farewell dinner will be with the Michelin-starred chef Simon Andrews.

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: 8

Tour HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Citadel of Bonifacio
  • Triping Napoleon’s childhood home
  • Tasting honey from a local farm
  • 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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