After nearly two months in the uplands of Tuscany and Umbria, we fancied a coastal dose before heading to Carcassonne for Christmas. Taking advantage of the nearby port of Livorno, we hopped on the ferry to Bastia, Corsica in search of some late season sea spray and sunshine. Corsica didn’t disappoint and we enjoyed ten days discovering the jaw-dropping landscapes by foot and paddle board.
We started at St Florent on the North of the island where we explored the Desert des Agriates – a 5000 hectare nature reserve which rolls down from the mountains to the sea. Accessible only on foot or by boat, this place is pretty isolated at the best of times but arriving in December it seemed we had the place to ourselves!
Tracing the West Coast we made our way slowly southwards, following the perilously windy road which cuts through the mountains and doing our best to avoid rock-falls, sheer drops and goats.
We broke the journey at Cargese, a little fishing village with a decidedly Greek feel thanks to having been established by immigrants from the Peloponnese – in the sunshine it was difficult to remember we were actually in France, not Greece!
Long, sandy beaches stretch down this section of coast, which is predictably dotted with slightly faded-looking resort towns and holiday homes. However, these we all shut up for the Winter, leaving us to explore deserted beaches, incredible granite coastlines and crumbling Genoese watch towers.
Continuing down the coast we eventually rounded the tip of Bonefaccio, where the white limestone cliffs rise proudly to face Sardinia.
Unfortunately, the sunshine couldn’t last forever and in the last two days we were treated to constant rain on a biblical scale (This river was almost dry two days before!). Taking this as our cue to depart we headed back to the French mainland – via one very long and rough ferry crossing – to meet Amy’s family for a Carcassonne Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you all, save us a mince pie or two! A & W Xx