Corsica France - French Holidays
In spite of a rise in the number of tourists visiting Corsica every year, a figure that now greatly exceeds the island's population, Corsica remains an unspoilt and delightful place. Still, it is best to visit Corsica in May or June when there are fewer tourists and the olives are ripening in the groves under the Corsican sun, or in September and October if you have hay fever and want to avoid the pollen high season.
Although it is a fairly small island, Corsica certainly manages to pack in as many attractions and different landscapes as a whole continent. From the red porphyry Calanches on the west coast, to the perfect white beaches and deep blue water on the east, Corsica is diverse and inspiring and fully deserves its title of l'île de beauté (the island of beauty). Away from the coast are the mountains made of granite and covered in snow until mid-July; flatland marshes on the eastern side of the island; the Parc Naturel Régional de la Corse; in the north west there is a deserted desert, the Désert des Agriates; and of course the quintessentially Corsican towns of Calvi, with its narrow streets, Sartène (the seat of feudal lords), and cliff-top Bonifacio where Odysseus allegedly landed.
Corsica has been fought over for centuries, beginning as an outpost of Pisa in the 11th century, then falling into the Genoese's hands in 1248, who passed it over to the Office de St Georges (a rich financial organisation) in the 15th century, before the Corsicans claimed their independence in 1755. They set up Corte as their capital and created justice and education systems before losing the island to Louis XV in 1769. Corsica has been part of France ever since (give or take the odd year here and there), and is famous for producing Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled much of Europe during the 19th century.
The language, traditions and culture of Corsica are fiercely upheld by the Corsicans. Corsu is mainly a spoken language, although road signs are increasingly bilingual, and has more connections with Italian than French. There are lots of people working towards its survival as it is an important part of Corsican identity.
You can get to Corsica by plane from most French airports, using one of the island's four main airports at Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari (near Bonifacio). It takes about 6.5 hours to make the crossing by boat from Marseille France > , Nice or Toulon, arriving at Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Île Rousse, Porto Vecchio or Propriano. There are also the high speed ferries (NGV - Navire à Grande Vitesse) that run from Nice to Calvi in 2.5 hours, or to Bastia in 3.5 hours.