A little history…
There are 100 convents in Corsica, the oldest of which date back to the 12th century. Coming from a long religious tradition, while many are in ruins, some of these buildings have now been transformed into unusual character accommodation, while others are used as town halls or schools. The main principle is to protect and preserve this cultural heritage through the ages.
A new life for these monuments: historically emblematic places with some unusual places to stay
Among these places from the depths of time, we should mention the Franciscan Convent at Orezza in Castagniccia, which welcomed Pasquale Paoli and his troops during the famous ‘consulte’. Several of these consultative assemblies were held at the convent, which became one of the high places where Corsica’s independence was played out. Today in ruins, a restoration project is underway to restore it to its former glory.
In the centre of Ajaccio, the old Notre Dame of the Assumption convent established a school several decades ago. Home to some 450 students, it has played host to several illustrious visitors, prisoners, nuns, ghosts (yes!) and even some skeletons over the years.
The Convent at Alzipratu in the Balagne, dating from the 16th century, has been completely rehabilitated by the rich owner of a famous brand of Italian cars ... it seems that La Dolce Vita has endured for decades!
If you want to visit one of these religious buildings, head to Cateri in the Balagne, and explore the Convent of Marcassu with its 40 rooms, cloister and chapel. It’s an extraordinary architectural masterpiece, erected over two centuries, and the site is open every day all year round.
City life weighing you down? Head to the Saint-Dominic Convent at Corbara in the Balagne; for a handful of euros, the resident Franciscan monks will welcome you for a whole week, where you can live to the rhythm of prayers. Alone, as a couple or with family, why not try a monastic holiday?
For an unusual overnight stay, go to Cap Corse, where a 15th-century former convent of Capuchin monks welcomes visitors in authentic cells converted into bedrooms. If you need more space, suites are also available!
This list is not exhaustive – and during your stay there will be many routes passing these old guardians of the island’s memories.
Couvent Saint François à Pinu ©D.Antoni
Les Couvents de Barrettali et Rogliano ©D.Antoni