Continuing our summer holiday guides, we’re ending July with Corsica, where Garance was born and grew up. Here is her guide for the perfect visit to this wild island:
Start in capital city Ajaccio, where you can meander through the narrow streets, visiting sites like the town cathedral and Musée Fesch (which has the second largest collection of Italian Old Masters in France, after the Louvre), then stop to eat at one of the quaint restaurants or street markets. Don’t miss the charcuterie and cheeses—Corsica has some of the best of both—or a meal at Le Bilboq (which locals call Chez Jean-Jean), known for the unforgettable lobster pasta. If you’re craving sweets, Galeani bakery makes the most delicious baked goods with flavors from the area, like anise and chestnut. (And if you visit the north-central region of Corte, don’t miss its signature treat, falculelle, a small cake cooked on top of a chestnut leaf.) For shopping in Ajaccio, head to Rue Fesch, best for swimsuits, shoes, and antiques. The island’s smaller villages are also great to explore in the fall (when they are lush and green, in both color and scent), as is the GR20. It’s one of the largest natural reserves in France, with trails that take you along rivers, mountain peaks, and even goat farms.
I’m from the Mediterranean, so nothing can ever replace the sound of the waves in Corsica for me (and the new Hotel Miniscu is one of the best places to stay to soak up the sea). My favorite beaches a day trip away from Ajaccio include Seleccia in the Agriates desert, where you can picnic on the white sand, and Capo di Feno beach, which I love because there is no cell phone reception there at all. After spending the day there (maybe playing a game with some locals), walk down to the very end of the beach to the small Chez Pierre-Tou restaurant. This is where I like to end the day with some delicious grilled fish and a glass of rosé, with the saltwater still in my hair and friends all around. That’s what I call a vacation.
[This is an excerpt from Garance’s Guide to the French Mediterranean for The Robb Report.]