Birthplace of the Emperor Napoleon I, you can visit the house where he was born in Ajaccio’s old town and the baroque cathedral where he was baptised in 1771. Ajaccio is also home to the Fesch Museum, which bears the name of a cardinal and uncle of Napoleon, who was a great collector of art, principally Italian Primitives. This is one of the largest collections in the world.
Departing from Ajaccio, you will find shuttle boats that head in the direction of the beaches of the south coast or to the exceptional sites of Scandola Nature Reserve to the north and Bonifacio to the south. Open-top bus services at Impériales and little touristic trains let you visit the old town and the Route des Sanguinaires with a stop-off at Marinella, the villa of Tino Rossi and a visit to the Grand Site of La Parata that offers a superb view of the Sanguinaires Islands.
These Napoleonic days out sit alongside the religious ceremonies linked to the Feast of the Assumption. Costumed military re-enactments, shows and parades take us back to the era of the Grande Armée.
Don’t forget to stop at the terrace of a restaurant to enjoy pasta with lobster or cuttlefish à l’Ajaccienne, a local speciality.
The South Coast
On the southern coast of the Gulf of Ajaccio is Porticcio, which offers a range of nautical and outdoor activities, as well as festivities, during the summer season that are sure to seduce you. Further on, long beaches with evocative names stretch out along the coast, like Plage d’Argent with its turquoise waters and sand the colour of silver.
Visitors should enjoy the beautiful walk to the Tour de Capo di Muro from the village of Aqua Doria. During this fragrant walk in the midst of the Maquis, you can admire the great Bay of Cacao and the lighthouse of Capu di Muro that divides the gulfs of Ajaccio and of Valinco. Charming little creeks are accessible should you wish to seek out a refreshing dip after your walk.
The Prunelli Valley
The Prunelli Valley in summer will lead you from above the village of Bastelica to the small ski resort of Val d’Ese. The Pozzi de Bastelica walk, in the heart of the Rinoso Massif, lets visitors discover the mountains of Corsica in just one day.
On the way back down, at the Col de Cricheto, take the little motorised train with the children and explore nature in the shade of the chestnut trees. Further down towards Cauro, the bee garden and the essential oil distillery will let you pick up an endless supply of honey and oils.
The Gravona Valley
On the Ajaccio-Bastia road, in the place known as Vignolajust15 minutes from Ajaccio, take the time to visit A Cupulatta – Europe’s number 1 tortoise park – where you can easily spend an afternoon cooing over the tortoise nursery. Higher up the mountain at Bocognano, when the weather is fine you can take the small path through the Maquis to the Cascade du Voile de la Mariée, which boasts a dizzying 70m drop. A veritable corner of paradise that is perfect for a swim or a picnic.