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Corsica trip report September 07

Isle of Wight...
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Corsica trip report September 07

We have recently returned from a lovely week on the island and thought I would post a hopefully brief as possible report in case it is of use to anyone else who may be visiting. Firstly thanks to all the knowledgeble tripadvisor posters who gave us various bits of advice, it was all extremely useful.

Cheapie flight to Calvi from Stansted was with Titan Airways (chartered by Holiday Options), plane fairly full, on time and excellent service, recommended.

We were based in Calvi at the Hotel Balanea (sep review to follow but will give 3 stars on the basis of its wonderful location and views, lacking in other areas), the town was fairly busy with obviously an older crowd of French pensioners and middle aged tourists, many of whom appeared to be British, as all children back at school. The weather was great, averaging 26-28, no rain, one windy day so the BBC weather forecast was not accurate (it had showed a lot of rain for Calvi). The beach was still busy.

Calvi still our favourite and we had some great meals out this time. U Fanale is simply fabulous, ate their twice, what a shame we hadn't found it on earlier trips, thanks to bob for that one. Santa Maria packed out every night so didn't eat there, but tried U Minellu (v. good but massive portions), L'Abri Cotier, pizza at La Main a la pate, moules frites good and inexpensive at Comme Chez Soi on the port. Mata Hari at Arinella (Lumio) was excellent for lunch, food and service 1st class. We had a pizza lunch at Le Chariot in Algajola, consistently good year after year. I have an apology to make about Algajola beach, there is a small fine sand beach suitable for sandcastle making before you get to the main beach which we find a bit gritty and not as good as Calvi, so for parents who need fine sand, Algajola does have it !

St. Florent - we drove across the Desert des Agriates over to St. Florent from Calvi in 1 1/2 hrs - roads not busy. (We found the standards of driving from locals and French tourists very hair raising this year, overtaking on blind bends, completely mad driving at times.) Easy to park in St. Florent, nice little place to wander round and have lunch in the port, quiet in September. We had hoped to get the boat over to Loto beach and walk to Saleccia but the weather had got windy and the boats were cancelled - will try again next year ! Had a look round Hotel la Roya, very nice but very expensive for a sea view room and not central to the town. Would like to stay overnight at St. Florent next year and drive around Cap Corse.

Stopped at a lovely wild beach on the way home, just to the east of Ile Rousse, you turn off the new road by the Hotel Ostriccioni, go on to the old corniche road, park up and clamber down a path on to the beach (Plage de Perajola ??). Nice sand, about 20 people on the beach including a couple of male nudists on display, would be difficult to get to with small children but otherwise wonderful.

Highlight of the trip was the drive down to Porto (road excellent now all the way) and Piana stopping overnight at the Les Roches Rouges hotel, a real experience in a fin de siecle hotel with views of Scandola & les Calanches, possibly the best views ever. Hotel has gastronomic dining room, food superb. Terrace full of guests and callers in I think who come for an aperitif and watch the sun set over the Calanches. And the price - just 90 euros a night for a sea facing room with modern bathroom, shower etc, what a bargain. We chose the 32 euro menu which was as close to a Raymond Blanc experience as I am ever going to get (we live in Oxfordshire but my husband refuses to go to RB's manoir on the basis of the exorbitant cost).

Stopped at Plage d'Arone on the way to Cargese, nice beach and sand but a bit more developed than we care for (volley ball nets, posh restaurant etc). In Calvi if you want the less developed bit of the beach now you have to walk quite a distance past the beach bars to get to the quiet and more rustic part.

Called in at Cargese - lovely little place, could envisage staying there another day - looked round some hotels, had lunch at the Bel Air and then drove back inland via Venaco and all the other Vs, very scenic route, good road, little train whizzing by at regular intervals.

Aardvark - the Thalassa and Lentisques hotels both good 3 star hotels but a bit of a hike from Pero beach up to the centre of Cargese for an evening out - didn't find any 3 stars in the village itself ?

Sorry if this has gone on too long for those still reading it - finally a thanks to GeoffChall for the recommendation of the St. Erasme Hotel in Calvi, we had a good look round including some sea view rooms looking across to Revelata and will be booking in for next September, we liked it for a base in the town and it does have the advantage of the U Fanale restaurant 2 minutes walk away !

middle england
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1. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Thanks for this excellent report and glad you had such a good time.

I have visited the beach you mention and I think it is Perajola. The access is quite tricky as you say but this serves to keep the crowds away. I believe there is a way onto the beach on the level through the complex at the rear of the beach but it may well be private.

I must admit I didn't find the walk from the Pero beach to the centre of Cargese too testing, especially as it's all downhill on the way back!! Did you like the beach here?

Does the Corsican wine and beer still taste as good?

How did you get your cheapie flight?

Isle of Wight...
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2. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Cheapie flight was purchased from Holiday Options online - they charter the flights for their clients and sell off the seats they don't need about 6 weeks prior to you travelling. Have used them before but flights operated by Astraeus and Channel Express - had not hear of Titan Airways but looked them up on the net and it would appear they also ferry business people, premiership footballers and so on between locations. We paid £129 each all in from memory.

Pietra beer and Corsican rose wine both appreciated warmly by us !

Pero beach was nice, we tried to clock the distance from the beach to the centre of the village and it was about 2 km ? Lack of street ights worried me but I suppose a torch would be OK.

w62
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3. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

excellent review. I am desparate to return but we still can't find a reasonably priced villa (near amenties) for 12 people!!!

Ah l'hotel les roches rouges - the first hotel I repped, the memories are flooding back. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

Isle of Wight...
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4. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Yes we did, had planned to go to Naxos in Greece next September but my other half has over-ridden me and it will be Corsica again (8th time). Sorry to hear you haven't found a suitable villa, is there anywhere with 2 adjacent smaller ones ? Or a block booking direct with A Merula with adjacent apartments possibly. Just a thought.

w62
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5. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Nothing much at all I'm afraid. I suggested a block booking for A Merula but no one was interested. Unfortunately they keep presenting me with fancy villas in Spain and Portugal which cannot compete with the Corsica ones for luxury and value for money (and walking distance to restaurants etc).

Sadly I fear Corsica is not going to be an option....

Eastleigh, United...
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6. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Hello there, White family! A great summary with lots of useful info, as always. We just go back after four weeks in France - one week on the West Coast, two weeks in Corsica and a week in eastern France. We managed to clock up 3,700 miles.

I'm sorry we never managed to meet up this time. We seem to have been following you around however - I'm surprised we didn't bump into each other anyway!

We too "discovered" the beach near Ostriconi while we were in Corsica this time. Those nude guys were still there, together with a few of their friends! We also ate in the Mata Hari, which we also love, but our favourite restaurant in Algajola is U Castellu these days - that's right inside the walls of the old town.

As you may have seen from another post, we did a walk from St Florent to the Tour de Martelo along the coast of the Agréates. I think that was the highlight of our time here this time - my only regret being that we set off too late and did not have enough time for a swim along the way.

Thanks again for a great report of your experiences. DTR

Isle of Wight...
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7. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Hi DTR - yes sorry we missed you, packed a lot in this time as I said in my e-mail, we really need 2 weeks next time.

The U Castellu in Algajola had a nice menu and was packed out the lunchtime we had a walk round the village, but my other half always wants to have pizza at Le Chariot - reminds him of when we took the children there in the late 80's when they were 3 and 1 - he's getting a bit sentimental in his old age !

Yes the nudists on the Perajola beach were quite "bold", thought I had better mention it in case some might be offended.

Did you miss the Place in the Sun programme on Channel 4 last Friday night - it is the one where a couple choose whether to buy in the UK or abroad, in this instance it was Hampshire versus Corsica. They showed properties in Aregno, Monticello and San Ambroggio, all very interesting and the couple fell in love with the island (not difficult !)

Eastleigh, United...
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8. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Yes, we saw the "Place in the Sun" programme. I thought they did rather well, and got more brownie points from me than the Rick Stein programme did.

This is really sad: although we live in Hampshire, I felt I knew more about the places in Corsica than the places round here! I've never been to the village in the New Forest they featured. DTR

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9. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Reading the posts keeps me sane.

We were in Corsica in June.The first summer holiday we have had in Corsica.We have been before in April and October.

We did as we normally do -just arrive and go where we want.in the hire car.

We spent a great three days in Corte where we found Corsican music.There was a fabulous street group playing in the square singing traditional Corsican songs.They were superb.Anyone see them?

We saw a lot of Corsica and even camped in the small tent we packed .Two days in Zonza treating ourselves at the Hotel Touriste??? with the great view and the excellent pool.We went to the horse racing at Zonza.Great fun.

Visited several archaeological sites ate like royalty and soaked up the sun on the fabulous beaches. Walked in the mountains.A fantastic holiday.

Bonifaccio to Ajjacio via the coast road.Inspirational stuff.

Views and walks I can't recall.Spent time at Lake Tolla .Superb place.Had adventures on the mountain roads.

Love Corsica.I can't get enough of it.

Roll on next summer.

Ireland
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10. Re: Corsica trip report September 07

Thanks for your post, luvcorsica. You summed up the magic of the place very well.