In Ajaccio: Follow the guide! 12 must-see places, tips and pointers for a brilliant stay in Ajaccio
Discover our selection of the 12 must-see places in the city of Ajaccio, the administrative capital of Corsica. Travel on foot, by small train or by electric bike to discover the birthplace of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the iconic sites of the Imperial City. Ajaccio’s rich historic past, excellent gastronomy and remarkable architecture will enchant you with its cultural, natural and diverse heritage.
1 Ajaccio Market and Place Campinchi
The recently opened producers' hall is the place to go for foodies. Enjoy cold meats, wines, cheeses, pastries and cakes. Every day of the year you’ll find delicious dishes at the delicatessen and exceptional products on the colourful market stalls. The well-stocked fishmonger's stall offers a fresh catch every day. Head to the Place Campinchi next to the market, where you can get a superb view of the Napoleonic quays.
2 National Museum: Maison Bonaparte
As you stroll the streets of the city, you can’t help but notice that many monuments and streets are dedicated to the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. And it’s for good reason because he was born here in Ajaccio on August 15, 1769, and spent part of his childhood here. His birthplace is now a listed historic monument and national museum. Inside visit rooms that speak of the past, including a living room, bedroom and dining room which feature period furniture. This fun and informative visit is perfect for children.
3 Palais Fesch Museum of Fine Arts and the Imperial Chapel
Recently renovated, the Palais Fesch holds "museum of France" status and brings together three major collections: Italian Masters, the Napoleonic Collection and Corsican painters. But it is best known and recognised for its collection of Italian Primitive paintings (from the 14th-15th century), the most important collection outside of the Louvre. The corridors of this museum are a real pleasure to stroll.
Ajaccio’s beaches can easily be reached from the city centre. Leave your car behind, and head to the sands by electric bike and scooter, spread your towel and relax in the sun. If you’re feeling more energetic, head to Capo di Feno which is ideal for surfers. Meanwhile the Campo dell' Oro beach is perfect for families.
5 San Roccu Cathedral
The 19th century neoclassical style cathedral is located on one of the main arteries of the city. With its recently renovated roof and bell tower, it is illuminated at night and sparkles with a thousand lights.
6 Place De Gaulle (or Place du Diamant)
Perfect for kids to let us steam. There’s a carousel, a kiosk selling hot chocolate, ice cream, pancakes and waffles. And there’s room to skate or ride a bike - all under the benevolent eye of the monumental statue of the Emperor Napoleon and his four brothers. Parents can relax in the café-lined square while watching their children at play. Nip behind the statue to enjoy the view of the sea and the Gulf of Ajaccio.
7 Grotto and the Place d’Austerlitz (Place du Casone)
Called Place du Cassone by the Ajaccians, this is where a child who would become an Emperor once played. The imposing statue of Napoleon on the square is a replica of the one at the Invalides in Paris. At his feet, there is a list of his victories and achievements. Stroll in the shade of plane trees along the historic main thoroughfare Cours Grandval, past the splendid mansions of the so-called "foreigners' district". Spot the 19th century Palais Lantivy which now houses the Corsican Prefecture. In summer, the Place du Casone welcomes French and international artists to perform open-air concerts.
8 Rue Cardinal Fesch and Cours Napoléon for strolling and shopping
The city centre is connected to the station via streets lined with boutiques, cafés and restaurants. On the Cours Napoléon, pause before the Post Office, which once housed the prestigious theater of the city (1831). In 1927 it was destroyed by fire. In 1935 the ruins became the property of the Post Office, and they rebuilt the premises in the original style of the building. Discover the majestic Cathedral and admire the huge suspended imperial crown. The1950s-built Laëtitia cinema, an Ajaccian institution, recently reopened its doors after several months of renovation. Its retro style is worth a detour! Pedestriansed Rue Fesch is home to the Fesch Museum, Municipal Library and the Imperial Chapel. And in the old town, the Church of San Rucchellu is worth a visit, plus there are plenty of food shops if you’re feeling peckish. Music lovers will love Dédé, the last record store in the city, who’s staff are happy to advise you on all styles of music – especially Corsican groups, polyphonic songs, rock, pop ... You won’t want to leave empty-handed.
9 Place des Palmiers and the Town Hall
With its newsstand and benches arranged under palm trees, this is a good place to rest in the shade after a spot of shopping. It’s also the starting point for the little tourist train that criss-crosses the city and takes you to the Sanguinaires Islands. Late afternoon each Thursday, you can attend the 45- minute ceremony of the Changing of the Imperial Guard. And on Saturdays, it’s a popular spot for enjoying the wedding celebrations that are held here.
10 Miollis Citadel
Long occupied by the army, the Citadel of Ajaccio, built in 1492, was ceded to the city of Ajaccio in 2019. For the first time in five centuries, it now welcomes civilians. Today it’s a creative residence and cultural venue, hosting artists, events, sound and light shows and exhibitions. Follow us to experience the sights of the Citadel.
Lured by the unmistakable scent of fresh sea air, watch Ajaccian fishermen land their catch of the day: multicoloured nets of sea urchins, lobsters, fried, dentex and other noble fish ... Their knowledge and love of the sea is passed down from generation to generation.
12 The old town and its winding streets
The old town with its vibrant winding streets is full of charm. A multitude of pubs, wine bars, restaurants, and boutiques make this a year-round place to go where in rue de Rome, you’re likely to hear groups of Ajaccian friends bursting into Corsican song.