A lovely little town on the west coast of Corsica, Ajaccio is a blend of things Italian, French and Corsican. Best explored on foot, Ajaccio is the birthplace of France's Napoleon and that is evident in all the statues of the famous conqueror strewn all over the town. He is literally everywhere! Natural beauty reigns supreme here where glittering beaches line the shores against a backdrop of towering mountains.
Walk down the waterfront, gaze at the sailboats, mingle with friendly local people and you will understand why people return again and again to this beautiful picture perfect place! Oh, and if you
have smattering of French it will help as that is the language of the people of Corsica, and watch out for the heavy traffic - for an island so small Ajaccio has an inordinately great amount of cars on the road!.
Ajaccio's best museum, the Palais Fesch has an art collection that includes some wonderful works of Italian Old Masters like Botticelli and Titian
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
- Ajaccio Cathedral, on Rue St. Charles dates from the 16th century, houses a fabulous Delcroix painting entitled "Vierge au Sacre-Coeur."
- Browse through Ajaccio's main market - its colourful and interesting with lots of goodies to eat. Buy some fig liqueur to take back home.
- If Napoleon memorabilia interests you visit the Musee Napoleon, but remember that is closed on weekends.
A guided walking tour around the town will go a long way into delving into the little alleys and interesting streets, and since most of the sights are within walking distance, you will get to see the sights as well.
The island is known for lavender, rosemary honeysuckle and myrtle and these are used in the making of handmade soaps, and shower creams, so buy some to take back home. Shop around for authentic Corsican crafts, particularly art galtique - a unique art whereby pictures are made from pebbles or small pieces of wood. Lots of shops in the market and Quai Napoleon sell these craft pieces. While buying, look out for a stamp saying 'Casa di L'Artigiani' on the product and means that the work is genuinely local and of good quality.
GRAB A BITE
Eating out in Ajaccio is never a problem, and one can choose from gourmet restaurants like Le 20123 (remember it is open only for dinner!) or Le Bilbouquet that serve international cuisine. If you are looking for wholesome regional food try any of the cafes and bistros along the waterfront.
With balmy weather the year round, the average temps in May are around 71F/21C and go up to 83F/29C at the height of summer in August.
The Euro is the local currency in Ajaccio, and many stores and shops accept credit cards. Do remember that there is a VAT charge on most items sold here.