Day 1- September 1, 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 4 star hotel by the sea followed by dinner on fresh Mediterranean influenced food.
Day 2 – September 2, 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.
After a drive along the coastal road, your next stop is the the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Calvi. You will be in for a special treat; a tasting of the traditional tasty canistrelli biscuits, typically made with almonds, lemons and either wine or Pastis at an artisinal biscuit shop.
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.
Calvi abounds with quality shops and artisansl goods 100% made in Corsica. 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.
Dinner back in Bastia atop the Citadella to admire the view overlooking the city and its harbour at the “brochettes bar”.
Day 3– September 3, Saturday
Your lively local guide Meggy will take you for a walking tour in the historical center of Bastia. After the tour, we’ll head to St Florent on the seaside stopping for lunch in the vineyards at the Potager du Nebbio hidden away off a track in the grounds of a farm. In the summer you sit out under the trees and lights , which is a beautiful setting. The menu changes weekly & uses the farms produce & all locally sourced food..
The afternoon will be dedicated to the wealth of food and drink products produced in Corsica. In St Florent where there are a number of cute shops to browse followed by wine tastings in two vineyards in Patrimonio, one of which is not open to the public but we will have the privelege of discovering. 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 4, 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.
We’ll savor lunch today at a charming family owned auberge , seated on the wooden deck along the river just outside the picturesque and remote hilltop town of Corte, considered as the heart of Corsica. In Corte, we’ll visit Corte Museum and take the mini train ride around 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.
Tonight we’ll check in to our 4 star hotel in the capital of Ajaccio, and after unpacking, we’ll have a cultural, visual and tasting experience at Napoleon’s grotto restaurant
Day 5 – September 5, Monday
Founded around 830 A.D., Bonifacio is Corsica’s oldest town. After driving just over 2 hours, we’ll head to the top of the clif so we can trip around the town’s ancient fortress for a tour of the fortress to immerse yourself in 1000 years of history with 10 view points. 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. for an dish of italian specialties in the heart Bonifacio.
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 two stops on the way back. One to admire the Lion’s head at the Rocapina park and another at a plant Distillery where we’ll Michelle will share her passion with you. 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 the St Pierre restaurant in Ajaccio on their specialty, Corsican-style mussels.
Day 6 –September 6, 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 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.
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 followed by lunch at the St Pierre with their specialty Corsican style mussels.
You’ll have the afternoon off to make last minute purchases, take in the Palais Fech Museuem which contains France’s largest collection of Italian paintings outside the Louvre, including works by Titian, Botticelli, Veronese and other masters or why not go for a swim in the Med at the nearby beach.
Tonight’s farewell dinner will be for a sunset on the sanguinaires islands and the best fish soup in town at Chez Pech . On the way, we’ll stop at Matisse Promenade named after the artist who spent 6 months in Ajaccio on his honeymoon producing over 50 works of art.
Day 7 –September 7, Wednesday
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll check out and a transfer to the Ajaccio airport will be supplied.