A Travellerspoint blog

July 2018

Rothschild Villa and gorgeous gardens on the French Riviera

View of the villa from the Temple of Love; visiting is an easy and scenic bus ride from Nice

View of the villa from the Temple of Love; visiting is an easy and scenic bus ride from Nice

The villa was constructed between 1905 and 1912 for the Baroness Beatrice Rothschild; of course, it was mainly a winter home as she had several other residences

The villa was constructed between 1905 and 1912 for the Baroness Beatrice Rothschild; of course, it was mainly a winter home as she had several other residences

The galas held in the villa attracted the rich and famous including Somerset Maugham, Jean Cocteau, Isadora Duncan and Givenchy

The galas held in the villa attracted the rich and famous including Somerset Maugham, Jean Cocteau, Isadora Duncan and Givenchy

F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby while staying on the French Riviera and began Tender is the Night before heading back to the US

F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby while staying on the French Riviera and began Tender is the Night before heading back to the US

Beatrice divorced her husband Maurice in 1904 after he accumulated huge gambling debts; she never remarried

Beatrice divorced her husband Maurice in 1904 after he accumulated huge gambling debts; she never remarried

One of the highlights of visiting the villa is the magnificent views east and west; here, looking west, is the popular vacation spot of Villefranche sur Mer

One of the highlights of visiting the villa is the magnificent views east and west; here, looking west, is the popular vacation spot of Villefranche sur Mer

1756 Vincennes porcelain; upon her death the baroness donated her villa and collections to the French Academy of Fine Arts

1756 Vincennes porcelain; upon her death the baroness donated her villa and collections to the French Academy of Fine Arts

This table once belonged to Marie Antoinette; Beatrice was famous for her grand parties like the one where she had Anna Pavlova, bathed in moonlight, dancing to Chopin

This table once belonged to Marie Antoinette; Beatrice was famous for her grand parties like the one where she had Anna Pavlova, bathed in moonlight, dancing to Chopin

Spanish Garden; in the 1950s the peninsula became a popular summer destination for stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis and David Niven

Spanish Garden; in the 1950s the peninsula became a popular summer destination for stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis and David Niven

Snow here is rare occurring about once every 10 years; in 1985 the area received 12-16 inches of snow

Snow here is rare occurring about once every 10 years; in 1985 the area received 12-16 inches of snow

The musical fountains perform every 20 minutes with a nice choreographed show

The musical fountains perform every 20 minutes with a nice choreographed show

During the Belle Epoque, the Cap-Ferrat was already the vacation resort of the world elite

During the Belle Epoque, the Cap-Ferrat was already the vacation resort of the world elite

In addition to Jean Cocteau, other artists of Beatrice's era visited Cap-Ferrat including Matisse, Chagall and Picasso

In addition to Jean Cocteau, other artists of Beatrice's era visited Cap-Ferrat including Matisse, Chagall and Picasso

The different gardens create many intimate spaces with unique atmospheres; it was almost like totally different themed rooms in a house

The different gardens create many intimate spaces with unique atmospheres; it was almost like totally different themed rooms in a house

1757 Sevres porcelain; the villa is located on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, a narrow peninsula with some of the highest property values in the world

1757 Sevres porcelain; the villa is located on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, a narrow peninsula with some of the highest property values in the world

Beatrice traveled a great deal and this was her make-up case

Beatrice traveled a great deal and this was her make-up case

Beatrice was the granddaughter of James Rothschild who founded the family banking business in Paris

Beatrice was the granddaughter of James Rothschild who founded the family banking business in Paris

Villefranche, seen from the villa, is one of the most popular French cruise ports; it lies just east of Nice

Villefranche, seen from the villa, is one of the most popular French cruise ports; it lies just east of Nice

Current neighbors of the Rothschild villa include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber

Current neighbors of the Rothschild villa include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber

Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to the French Riviera; she first visited Menton in 1882 and later spent most of her time in Nice

Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to the French Riviera; she first visited Menton in 1882 and later spent most of her time in Nice

Guest bedroom; in 1934, the baroness died in Davos, Switzerland at the age of 69; she is buried in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris

Guest bedroom; in 1934, the baroness died in Davos, Switzerland at the age of 69; she is buried in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris

In 2012, Cap Ferrat was named as the second most expensive residential location in the world after Monaco

In 2012, Cap Ferrat was named as the second most expensive residential location in the world after Monaco

From the Rothschild villa you could get glimpses of other spectacular villas nearby; I wonder who owns them and if they obtained their wealth legally

From the Rothschild villa you could get glimpses of other spectacular villas nearby; I wonder who owns them and if they obtained their wealth legally

The Belle Epoque Italian-style villa houses a treasure of decorative arts which were described in detail on the excellent audio guide

The Belle Epoque Italian-style villa houses a treasure of decorative arts which were described in detail on the excellent audio guide

Hand-painted walls; popular local dishes include sea bass steaks in lime and salmon tournedos with truffles

Hand-painted walls; popular local dishes include sea bass steaks in lime and salmon tournedos with truffles

The French Riviera has some of the most fantastic scenery anywhere in the world and it continues into Italy through the Cinqueterre

The French Riviera has some of the most fantastic scenery anywhere in the world and it continues into Italy through the Cinqueterre

The Rothschild family banking business started in Frankfurt in the 1760s; they were already a wealthy Jewish family

The Rothschild family banking business started in Frankfurt in the 1760s; they were already a wealthy Jewish family

Beatrice caught an unspecified disease from her husband Maurice that left her unable to have children

Beatrice caught an unspecified disease from her husband Maurice that left her unable to have children

Painter Edvard Munch (The Scream) rented a villa on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat in 1891 and developed a passion for gambling in Monte Carlo

Painter Edvard Munch (The Scream) rented a villa on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat in 1891 and developed a passion for gambling in Monte Carlo

The French Riviera has 310 to 330 days of sunshine a year, 71 miles of coastline and even 14 ski resorts

The French Riviera has 310 to 330 days of sunshine a year, 71 miles of coastline and even 14 ski resorts

Beatrice had these doors brought from a Chinese palace; popular dishes on the peninsula include wild boar

Beatrice had these doors brought from a Chinese palace; popular dishes on the peninsula include wild boar

Papal Tapestry; Just days after the railway reached Nice in 1864, Tsar Alexander II of Russia visited on a private train, followed soon afterwards by Napoleon III and then Leopold II, the King of<br /> Belgium

Papal Tapestry; Just days after the railway reached Nice in 1864, Tsar Alexander II of Russia visited on a private train, followed soon afterwards by Napoleon III and then Leopold II, the King of
Belgium

The villa has 9 distinct gardens; the Spanish garden is modeled after those of the Alhambra

The villa has 9 distinct gardens; the Spanish garden is modeled after those of the Alhambra

Gorgeous porcelain clock; Americans were largely responsible for making summer high season, French fashion designer, Coco Chanel, made sunbathing fashionable; she acquired a striking tan during summer 1923, and tans then became the fashion in Paris

Gorgeous porcelain clock; Americans were largely responsible for making summer high season, French fashion designer, Coco Chanel, made sunbathing fashionable; she acquired a striking tan during summer 1923, and tans then became the fashion in Paris

Edith Wharton wrote the Age of Innocence (1920) on the French Riviera for which she won the Pulitzer Prize (the first woman to do so)

Edith Wharton wrote the Age of Innocence (1920) on the French Riviera for which she won the Pulitzer Prize (the first woman to do so)

1782 Sevres porcelain vase; the baroness hired and fired ten architects during the seven year building process of the villa

1782 Sevres porcelain vase; the baroness hired and fired ten architects during the seven year building process of the villa

Strict architectural guidelines have spared this peninsula from overdevelopment that has become common on the French Riviera

Strict architectural guidelines have spared this peninsula from overdevelopment that has become common on the French Riviera

1767 Sevres porcelain set; Rothschild rescued many items from palaces that were being destroyed in Paris in the interest of urban planning

1767 Sevres porcelain set; Rothschild rescued many items from palaces that were being destroyed in Paris in the interest of urban planning

During the 19th century, the Rothschild family had the largest private fortune in the world, as well as the largest private fortune in modern world history

During the 19th century, the Rothschild family had the largest private fortune in the world, as well as the largest private fortune in modern world history

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat became a favorite holiday destination for European aristocrats and international millionaires in the late 1890s

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat became a favorite holiday destination for European aristocrats and international millionaires in the late 1890s

Beatrice's bedroom; the patriarch of the family was Mayer Rothschild who started a banking business then sent his 5 sons to the largest banking centers in Europe to start businesses there

Beatrice's bedroom; the patriarch of the family was Mayer Rothschild who started a banking business then sent his 5 sons to the largest banking centers in Europe to start businesses there

The rose garden was in sad shape; there were few labels on the plants too

The rose garden was in sad shape; there were few labels on the plants too

The west view from the villa is the tourist haven of Villefranche; the old city walls remain but there is little else left of historical importance

The west view from the villa is the tourist haven of Villefranche; the old city walls remain but there is little else left of historical importance

I wish they had descriptions on the items; the audioguide discussed many of the items but my retention wasn't very good

I wish they had descriptions on the items; the audioguide discussed many of the items but my retention wasn't very good

The two story pink villa is built around an interior courtyard; the baroness was quite eccentric and often dressed in pink from head to toe

The two story pink villa is built around an interior courtyard; the baroness was quite eccentric and often dressed in pink from head to toe

On the tip of this peninsula is a super posh Four Seasons Hotel designed by Gustave Eiffel; guests have included Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor

On the tip of this peninsula is a super posh Four Seasons Hotel designed by Gustave Eiffel; guests have included Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor

With the arrival of the railway in the mid 19th century, the French Riviera became the vacation spot and playground of British, Russian and other aristocrats

With the arrival of the railway in the mid 19th century, the French Riviera became the vacation spot and playground of British, Russian and other aristocrats

The villa is neighbors with Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat which has hosted Bill Clinton, George W Bush and plenty of European royalty

The villa is neighbors with Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat which has hosted Bill Clinton, George W Bush and plenty of European royalty

The baroness was an animal lover and always had her pet dogs with her; she even had chairs made for her favorite pooches

The baroness was an animal lover and always had her pet dogs with her; she even had chairs made for her favorite pooches

What a great location for a love seat but it should be facing the other way; great weather for my visit

What a great location for a love seat but it should be facing the other way; great weather for my visit

Americans began coming to the south of France in the 19th century; John Pierpont Morgan gambled in Monte Carlo and bought local paintings which he shipped to the Metropolitan Museum in NY

Americans began coming to the south of France in the 19th century; John Pierpont Morgan gambled in Monte Carlo and bought local paintings which he shipped to the Metropolitan Museum in NY

Gorgeous view from the train along the French Riviera; much of the ride is in tunnels but the glimpses of the sea are stunning

Gorgeous view from the train along the French Riviera; much of the ride is in tunnels but the glimpses of the sea are stunning

There are other villas nearby also open to the public but this one seemed the best of the bunch based on my research

There are other villas nearby also open to the public but this one seemed the best of the bunch based on my research

I had not seen this cactus species before; interesting to see a succulent garden that belongs in Texas here on the French Riviera

I had not seen this cactus species before; interesting to see a succulent garden that belongs in Texas here on the French Riviera

My favorite podcast these days is Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell; the series is so enlightening and enjoyable

My favorite podcast these days is Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell; the series is so enlightening and enjoyable

Posted by VagabondCowboy 05:09 Comments (0)

Small Corsican village of Algajola is popular summer spot

Algajola was one of the most important towns on the island in the Middle Ages; its prosperity ended when it was attacked by pirates in the 17th century

Algajola was one of the most important towns on the island in the Middle Ages; its prosperity ended when it was attacked by pirates in the 17th century

The common octopus hunts at dusk so I was surprised to see one out during the day; they tend to be solitary creatures except when mating

The common octopus hunts at dusk so I was surprised to see one out during the day; they tend to be solitary creatures except when mating

Plage de Bodri was the first beach I've encountered where I had to pay to park; it was only $3 though

Plage de Bodri was the first beach I've encountered where I had to pay to park; it was only $3 though

Plage de Ghjunchitu was windy with kids enjoying the waves; the beach is just west of L'Ile de Rousse on the west coast of Corsica

Plage de Ghjunchitu was windy with kids enjoying the waves; the beach is just west of L'Ile de Rousse on the west coast of Corsica

This cute village hosted a concert during my visit very close to my hotel which started at 11pm on Thursday night and lasted until 2:30am; I understood why everyone was sleeping on the beach the next day

This cute village hosted a concert during my visit very close to my hotel which started at 11pm on Thursday night and lasted until 2:30am; I understood why everyone was sleeping on the beach the next day

I love the blues of the water contrasting with the bright green scrub; the homes tend to be painted dull, neutral colors

I love the blues of the water contrasting with the bright green scrub; the homes tend to be painted dull, neutral colors

My hotel is built right on the water adjacent to Algajola Beach; of course, I opted for a cheap room with a view of the street

My hotel is built right on the water adjacent to Algajola Beach; of course, I opted for a cheap room with a view of the street

In past centuries villagers settled high in the mountains so they could easily see potential threats; they must have been in terrific shape

In past centuries villagers settled high in the mountains so they could easily see potential threats; they must have been in terrific shape

This octopus changed colors and shapes while I watched; more than 20,000 tons of octopus is harvested annually in the Mediterranean

This octopus changed colors and shapes while I watched; more than 20,000 tons of octopus is harvested annually in the Mediterranean

Plage de Ghjunchitu; I have no idea how to pronounce the name of this beach

Plage de Ghjunchitu; I have no idea how to pronounce the name of this beach

I had thought Corsica was much larger but according to wikipedia the island is larger than Delaware but quite a bit smaller than Connecticut

I had thought Corsica was much larger but according to wikipedia the island is larger than Delaware but quite a bit smaller than Connecticut

The Parish Church of St. George was built in the 15th century; the small village was all glued to big screen tv's this afternoon with France playing in the World Cup

The Parish Church of St. George was built in the 15th century; the small village was all glued to big screen tv's this afternoon with France playing in the World Cup

It was very windy but I tried snorkeling since I read beach reports saying the snorkeling was good here; I found it to be identical to the other beaches I've visited so far

It was very windy but I tried snorkeling since I read beach reports saying the snorkeling was good here; I found it to be identical to the other beaches I've visited so far

The Algajola fort was built at the beginning of the 16th century as part of the Genoese defenses of the island

The Algajola fort was built at the beginning of the 16th century as part of the Genoese defenses of the island

Algajola, population 320, lies midway between the larger towns of Calvi and L'Ile Rousse on the northwest coast of Corsica

Algajola, population 320, lies midway between the larger towns of Calvi and L'Ile Rousse on the northwest coast of Corsica

The flora in this arid area reminds me of southern California; rain in the summer is very rare

The flora in this arid area reminds me of southern California; rain in the summer is very rare

Algajola, like all but 2 cities on the island, has an Italian name rather than a French name; population of the entire island is only 330,000

Algajola, like all but 2 cities on the island, has an Italian name rather than a French name; population of the entire island is only 330,000

There are several restaurants right on the water offering a nice dining experience; Algajola was plundered by the Ottomans in 1643

There are several restaurants right on the water offering a nice dining experience; Algajola was plundered by the Ottomans in 1643

This is one of the few beaches that can easily be reached by train; it also has convenient parking directly behind the beach

This is one of the few beaches that can easily be reached by train; it also has convenient parking directly behind the beach

I can't remember ever having seen an octopus while snorkeling before; it was so cool to watch this guy move, morphing into different shapes

I can't remember ever having seen an octopus while snorkeling before; it was so cool to watch this guy move, morphing into different shapes

Plage de Bodri is popular with families because of the wide, sandy beach; smart beachgoers brought umbrellas or tents to have some shade

Plage de Bodri is popular with families because of the wide, sandy beach; smart beachgoers brought umbrellas or tents to have some shade

An OK book from 2010; one interesting part mentioned that the President couldn't fire the director of the FBI

An OK book from 2010; one interesting part mentioned that the President couldn't fire the director of the FBI

Posted by VagabondCowboy 11:21 Comments (0)

Scandola- Unique geologic area on Corsica's west coast

Unusual horizontal columnar basalt lava flows; the Reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983

Unusual horizontal columnar basalt lava flows; the Reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983

This is the first place I've stayed on this trip that has a pool, an infinity pool at that; I didn't try it but it made for a nice photo

This is the first place I've stayed on this trip that has a pool, an infinity pool at that; I didn't try it but it made for a nice photo

The Fungo River is fed by snows up in the mountains; people enjoy swimming in the river but I saw some in wetsuits

The Fungo River is fed by snows up in the mountains; people enjoy swimming in the river but I saw some in wetsuits

You can see (barely) the head of a female fish eagle; they summer in Corsica and winter in north Africa

You can see (barely) the head of a female fish eagle; they summer in Corsica and winter in north Africa

Those Genoese built sturdy watchtowers; when enemies were spotted the lookout would light a fire as a signal to the next watchtower; then that lookout would do the same and, supposedly, within 3 hours the entire island perimeter would be notified

Those Genoese built sturdy watchtowers; when enemies were spotted the lookout would light a fire as a signal to the next watchtower; then that lookout would do the same and, supposedly, within 3 hours the entire island perimeter would be notified

Wind and erosion have created some scary looking formations in the Reserve; the Reserve was established in 1975

Wind and erosion have created some scary looking formations in the Reserve; the Reserve was established in 1975

Easily the largest natural arch I've seen; not sure how it compares to those in Utah but this one was quite impressive

Easily the largest natural arch I've seen; not sure how it compares to those in Utah but this one was quite impressive

The water in the Fungo River was astonishingly clear; this is the view looking into the river from a bridge high above

The water in the Fungo River was astonishingly clear; this is the view looking into the river from a bridge high above

Scandola Nature Reserve had plenty of arches, caves, tunnels and other interesting geologic features; no one is allowed on land in the reserve so you can only admire it from the sea

Scandola Nature Reserve had plenty of arches, caves, tunnels and other interesting geologic features; no one is allowed on land in the reserve so you can only admire it from the sea

It's difficult to see but there are still patches of snow in the mountains above the tiny village of Galeria

It's difficult to see but there are still patches of snow in the mountains above the tiny village of Galeria

On top of this pinnacle is the largest fish eagle nest in the Reserve but it's currently unoccupied; there were only 3 nesting pairs 20 years ago but now there are more than 30

On top of this pinnacle is the largest fish eagle nest in the Reserve but it's currently unoccupied; there were only 3 nesting pairs 20 years ago but now there are more than 30

I bought a French sim card when I arrived in Nice for about $20 and it lasted a couple of weeks which seems like a bargain; the iphone has been a big help with directions

I bought a French sim card when I arrived in Nice for about $20 and it lasted a couple of weeks which seems like a bargain; the iphone has been a big help with directions

The Valley of the Fungo is the number one attraction in Galeria according to TripAdvisor

The Valley of the Fungo is the number one attraction in Galeria according to TripAdvisor

I was lucky to have a mud nest on my hotel balcony with house martins; mom would fly back constantly bringing food

I was lucky to have a mud nest on my hotel balcony with house martins; mom would fly back constantly bringing food

This area was once volcanic which resulted in the brilliant colors; fortunately the area is remote so it was never mined for its valuable minerals

This area was once volcanic which resulted in the brilliant colors; fortunately the area is remote so it was never mined for its valuable minerals

According to Wikipedia, this village has 340 residents; I stayed at a nice hotel (super AC) right across the street from the port

According to Wikipedia, this village has 340 residents; I stayed at a nice hotel (super AC) right across the street from the port

I struggled to find anything to photograph underwater; I thought I saw a large eel in the Reserve but it was gone before I could be sure

I struggled to find anything to photograph underwater; I thought I saw a large eel in the Reserve but it was gone before I could be sure

Vertical (columnar) jointed basalt lava flows; the most famous example of this phenomenon is Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

Vertical (columnar) jointed basalt lava flows; the most famous example of this phenomenon is Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

The Reserve is supposed to have protected ospreys as well as peregrine falcons but we didn't see them; other groups said they saw dolphins but not us

The Reserve is supposed to have protected ospreys as well as peregrine falcons but we didn't see them; other groups said they saw dolphins but not us

The craggy coastline of Corsica creates lots of inviting coves but, without a boat, there is no way to reach them; the Balearic Islands are somewhat similar and have more sea life

The craggy coastline of Corsica creates lots of inviting coves but, without a boat, there is no way to reach them; the Balearic Islands are somewhat similar and have more sea life

The water continues to be super clear but there just hasn't been much to see in the water; this village had lots of Neptune grass which doesn't smell good

The water continues to be super clear but there just hasn't been much to see in the water; this village had lots of Neptune grass which doesn't smell good

The three hour tour on an inflatable zodiac cost $45 (glad I didn't opt for the scuba trip); my tour had a French couple and a German couple and the guide spoke decent English

The three hour tour on an inflatable zodiac cost $45 (glad I didn't opt for the scuba trip); my tour had a French couple and a German couple and the guide spoke decent English

The area is often windy making for a choppy boat ride to Scandola; the first wind turbines I've seen on the island are just across the bay

The area is often windy making for a choppy boat ride to Scandola; the first wind turbines I've seen on the island are just across the bay

It was fascinating how the colors were restricted to a relatively small area; the land portion of the Reserve is only 3.5 square miles

It was fascinating how the colors were restricted to a relatively small area; the land portion of the Reserve is only 3.5 square miles

When I say Corsica is sparsely developed, this is what I mean; thank goodness none of the Trumps have been here

When I say Corsica is sparsely developed, this is what I mean; thank goodness none of the Trumps have been here

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:12 Comments (0)

Historic town of Calvi, Corsica is quite photogenic

Gorgeous view of Calvi from Chapel de Notre Dame de la Serra; the road up here looked more like the Appalachian Trail

Gorgeous view of Calvi from Chapel de Notre Dame de la Serra; the road up here looked more like the Appalachian Trail

The lower town viewed from the Citadelle; from 1278 onwards, the Citadelle was the main Genoese stronghold on the island

The lower town viewed from the Citadelle; from 1278 onwards, the Citadelle was the main Genoese stronghold on the island

Magnificent 15th century fresco in Oratorioe St-Antoine; it's nice that these churches can stay open with no security and not worry about vandals defacing the art

Magnificent 15th century fresco in Oratorioe St-Antoine; it's nice that these churches can stay open with no security and not worry about vandals defacing the art

Way up at the top of the mountain is the 19th century Chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra; it was built over the ruins of a 15th century complex destroyed in a 1794 battle

Way up at the top of the mountain is the 19th century Chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra; it was built over the ruins of a 15th century complex destroyed in a 1794 battle

The lower town featured plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops and clothing stores; I was surprised that most businesses were open on Sunday

The lower town featured plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops and clothing stores; I was surprised that most businesses were open on Sunday

The Calvi War Memorial; originally for those who died in World War I, names of those lost in wars since have been added

The Calvi War Memorial; originally for those who died in World War I, names of those lost in wars since have been added

Torre di Spano is one of the many 16th century Genoese towers on the Corsican coast; this peninsula started to be developed but conservationists intervened and were able to protect the area

Torre di Spano is one of the many 16th century Genoese towers on the Corsican coast; this peninsula started to be developed but conservationists intervened and were able to protect the area

View of Calvi from Punta di Spanu; google maps is helpful but frequently tries to send me the wrong way

View of Calvi from Punta di Spanu; google maps is helpful but frequently tries to send me the wrong way

Only from high above do you get a true sense of how substantial the fortifications are around the old town of Calvi

Only from high above do you get a true sense of how substantial the fortifications are around the old town of Calvi

According to legend, Christopher Columbus was born in this house; at that time Corsica was part of the Genoese empire

According to legend, Christopher Columbus was born in this house; at that time Corsica was part of the Genoese empire

The cathedral was built in 1576 in the center of the Citadelle; this is one of the more perilous towns for walking with slick stairs and jutting cobbles

The cathedral was built in 1576 in the center of the Citadelle; this is one of the more perilous towns for walking with slick stairs and jutting cobbles

The promenade in Calvi is one of the most attractive on the island; it's also the only flat stretch in the town

The promenade in Calvi is one of the most attractive on the island; it's also the only flat stretch in the town

Napoleon was born in the Corsican town of Ajaccio; during the Corsican revolution Napoleon and his family fled to this house belonging to his godfather in Calvi

Napoleon was born in the Corsican town of Ajaccio; during the Corsican revolution Napoleon and his family fled to this house belonging to his godfather in Calvi

Calvi's cathedral houses this 15th century ebony crucifix known as Christ of Miracles; on my Sunday visit the cathedral was in constant use

Calvi's cathedral houses this 15th century ebony crucifix known as Christ of Miracles; on my Sunday visit the cathedral was in constant use

Built in 1492 (a good year), the Palace of Genoese Governors was the residence of leaders from Genoa for centuries; now it is the barracks of a division of the French foreign legion

Built in 1492 (a good year), the Palace of Genoese Governors was the residence of leaders from Genoa for centuries; now it is the barracks of a division of the French foreign legion

Oratoire St-Antoine was built in 1510; Calvi was founded by the Romans in the first century AD

Oratoire St-Antoine was built in 1510; Calvi was founded by the Romans in the first century AD

Baroque Saint Marie Majeure Church was begun in 1765 with the bell tower added in 1838; it's the most prominent church in the lower town

Baroque Saint Marie Majeure Church was begun in 1765 with the bell tower added in 1838; it's the most prominent church in the lower town

Quai Landry is the liveliest spot in town as people eat at restaurants overlooking the marina; ice cream, as usual, was very popular

Quai Landry is the liveliest spot in town as people eat at restaurants overlooking the marina; ice cream, as usual, was very popular

The big, modern grocery stores are typically on the outskirts of town; they have a broad selection but the checkout lines are always quite long

The big, modern grocery stores are typically on the outskirts of town; they have a broad selection but the checkout lines are always quite long

Saint Marie Majeure Church has a statue of Erasmus, patron saint of fishermen; parking is a big problem here

Saint Marie Majeure Church has a statue of Erasmus, patron saint of fishermen; parking is a big problem here

Summers are hot (record high is 108) with rain occurring less than 2 days per month on average; the mountains seemed to keep the moisture away

Summers are hot (record high is 108) with rain occurring less than 2 days per month on average; the mountains seemed to keep the moisture away

Monument to Christopher Columbus; apparently there is no proof that Columbus was actually born here but it makes for a good story

Monument to Christopher Columbus; apparently there is no proof that Columbus was actually born here but it makes for a good story

Mussels seems to be the local specialty; needless to say I won't be trying them

Mussels seems to be the local specialty; needless to say I won't be trying them

Motorcyclists come from all over Europe to enjoy the scenery on Corsica's winding, mountainous roads

Motorcyclists come from all over Europe to enjoy the scenery on Corsica's winding, mountainous roads

The marina, in a protected bay, had both luxury yachts and small fishing boats; further to the north is a beach but it's quite a hike from town

The marina, in a protected bay, had both luxury yachts and small fishing boats; further to the north is a beach but it's quite a hike from town

Corsica seems to be one jagged peninsula after another; the Holy Week celebrations in Calvi are among the best and most beautiful on the island

Corsica seems to be one jagged peninsula after another; the Holy Week celebrations in Calvi are among the best and most beautiful on the island

The 15th centuury Citadelle is perched high on a rocky promontory surrounded by water on three sides; the population is only 5400 but swells with summer tourists

The 15th centuury Citadelle is perched high on a rocky promontory surrounded by water on three sides; the population is only 5400 but swells with summer tourists

There are lots of super scenic beaches along the road but they are impossible to reach without a boat

There are lots of super scenic beaches along the road but they are impossible to reach without a boat

In 1794, the Citadelle was bombarded by 30,000 cannon shots fired by the British fleet; it was in this battle that Admiral Horatio Nelson lost an eye

In 1794, the Citadelle was bombarded by 30,000 cannon shots fired by the British fleet; it was in this battle that Admiral Horatio Nelson lost an eye

Supposedly, Calvi is a popular scuba diving spot; the visibility would be good but I think they are just looking at relics from World War II in the water

Supposedly, Calvi is a popular scuba diving spot; the visibility would be good but I think they are just looking at relics from World War II in the water

Unlike Sardinia (directly to the south and Italian), Corsica has decent rail service; you can connect from Calvi to Ajaccio or Bastia

Unlike Sardinia (directly to the south and Italian), Corsica has decent rail service; you can connect from Calvi to Ajaccio or Bastia

From the bastions of the Citadelle, the Genoese could easily spot potential threats such as cruise ships which make stops here

From the bastions of the Citadelle, the Genoese could easily spot potential threats such as cruise ships which make stops here

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:38 Comments (0)

Largest city in Corsica-Ajaccio nice tourist hub

Place Foch is the main square; the statue of Napoleon dominates the colorful area that is home to the city's farmers' market

Place Foch is the main square; the statue of Napoleon dominates the colorful area that is home to the city's farmers' market

There seem to be endless scenic bays like this one in Tiuccia; a famous Corsican specialty is lonzu which is raw pork fillet rolled with salt and pepper, tied into thick sausages and smoked

There seem to be endless scenic bays like this one in Tiuccia; a famous Corsican specialty is lonzu which is raw pork fillet rolled with salt and pepper, tied into thick sausages and smoked

Maison Bonaparte is where Napoleon was born; the $10 tour was done by audioguide since all of the descriptions in the house were in French

Maison Bonaparte is where Napoleon was born; the $10 tour was done by audioguide since all of the descriptions in the house were in French

1790 Saint John the Baptist Church; in the old part of town every neighborhood had one of these colorful churches

1790 Saint John the Baptist Church; in the old part of town every neighborhood had one of these colorful churches

The narrow city beach was convenient but not as nice as those lining the Gulf of Ajaccio further outside the city

The narrow city beach was convenient but not as nice as those lining the Gulf of Ajaccio further outside the city

Napoleon's home was the grandest in Ajaccio at the time; this 18th century dresser was bought in Milan and was my favorite piece in the house

Napoleon's home was the grandest in Ajaccio at the time; this 18th century dresser was bought in Milan and was my favorite piece in the house

The Citadel was completed in 1559 and is off limits to the public since it is a military installation; Ajaccio is the largest city on the island with only 68,000 people

The Citadel was completed in 1559 and is off limits to the public since it is a military installation; Ajaccio is the largest city on the island with only 68,000 people

The Amazing Race visited Ajaccio during season 6 in 2001; the city averages more hours of sunshine than even Nice

The Amazing Race visited Ajaccio during season 6 in 2001; the city averages more hours of sunshine than even Nice

A huge monument to Napoleon dominates Place d'Austerlitz where the emperor overlooks his hometown of Ajaccio

A huge monument to Napoleon dominates Place d'Austerlitz where the emperor overlooks his hometown of Ajaccio

The regional government offices were housed in the most attractive building in town; there were lots of PETA-like protesters out front

The regional government offices were housed in the most attractive building in town; there were lots of PETA-like protesters out front

Rue Cardinal Fesch is a pedestrianized area with craft shops and boutiques; everyone seems to eat ice cream and linger over long meals but they're still skinny

Rue Cardinal Fesch is a pedestrianized area with craft shops and boutiques; everyone seems to eat ice cream and linger over long meals but they're still skinny

Sanguinaires Islands are a popular excursion from Ajaccio; the lighthouse there dates from 1844

Sanguinaires Islands are a popular excursion from Ajaccio; the lighthouse there dates from 1844

This spotted jellyfish was the first I've seen while snorkeling in Corsica; the excellent visibility makes it easy to avoid any jellies

This spotted jellyfish was the first I've seen while snorkeling in Corsica; the excellent visibility makes it easy to avoid any jellies

The Museum of Fine Arts on the left with the Imperial Chapel on the right; Napoleon's parents and nine family members are buried in the chapel

The Museum of Fine Arts on the left with the Imperial Chapel on the right; Napoleon's parents and nine family members are buried in the chapel

Another statue of Napoleon, this time on Place de Gaulle; the airport is also named in Napoleon's honor

Another statue of Napoleon, this time on Place de Gaulle; the airport is also named in Napoleon's honor

There's actually a private home on that island complete with a driveway connecting it to the rest of Corsica; definitely a primo spot

There's actually a private home on that island complete with a driveway connecting it to the rest of Corsica; definitely a primo spot

If Lee were with me we'd have to try this place; the island is quite clean although the dumpsters and recycle bins always seem to be overflowing

If Lee were with me we'd have to try this place; the island is quite clean although the dumpsters and recycle bins always seem to be overflowing

There were plenty of nice beaches lining the Gulf of Ajaccio; the town is pronounced a-JACKS-ee-o

There were plenty of nice beaches lining the Gulf of Ajaccio; the town is pronounced a-JACKS-ee-o

It's easy to walk from one end of the old town to the other since the area isn't very large; a rare tornado struck Ajaccio in 2009 but damage was minimal

It's easy to walk from one end of the old town to the other since the area isn't very large; a rare tornado struck Ajaccio in 2009 but damage was minimal

Founded in 1617, St-Erasmus Chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors; sister cities include Palma de Mallorca, Marrakech and Dana Point CA

Founded in 1617, St-Erasmus Chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors; sister cities include Palma de Mallorca, Marrakech and Dana Point CA

The Bonaparte house was purchased by them in 1682 and expanded by purchasing adjoining homes over the years; this is supposedly the room in which Napoleon was born

The Bonaparte house was purchased by them in 1682 and expanded by purchasing adjoining homes over the years; this is supposedly the room in which Napoleon was born

The Ajaccio Cathedral, completed in 1593 in Venetian Renaissance style; the city averages two days of snow per year

The Ajaccio Cathedral, completed in 1593 in Venetian Renaissance style; the city averages two days of snow per year

The Parata Tower was built in 1551 by the Genoese to stem attacks from Barbary pirates; the water was very refreshing

The Parata Tower was built in 1551 by the Genoese to stem attacks from Barbary pirates; the water was very refreshing

There are lots of people snorkeling but it's sad when the highlight of the day is a sea star

There are lots of people snorkeling but it's sad when the highlight of the day is a sea star

The French love their dogs; the pampered pooches go to restaurants, grocery stores and on vacation with their owners

The French love their dogs; the pampered pooches go to restaurants, grocery stores and on vacation with their owners

The Ajaccio casino faces the sea and looked nice from just inside the front door; that's as far as I got since shorts aren't allowed

The Ajaccio casino faces the sea and looked nice from just inside the front door; that's as far as I got since shorts aren't allowed

Ferries from France and Italy call on Ajaccio as well as huge cruise ships; tourism is the major economic engine so people put up with the traffic and congestion

Ferries from France and Italy call on Ajaccio as well as huge cruise ships; tourism is the major economic engine so people put up with the traffic and congestion

Painting of Napoleon's mother, Letizia; most of the items in Maison Bonaparte were from after Napoleon's time so it seemed overly touristy

Painting of Napoleon's mother, Letizia; most of the items in Maison Bonaparte were from after Napoleon's time so it seemed overly touristy

The scenic west coast of Corsica made for a very photogenic drive; this view is looking north from atop the mountain leading into Ajaccio

The scenic west coast of Corsica made for a very photogenic drive; this view is looking north from atop the mountain leading into Ajaccio

The goats could not have cared less that they were blocking the road; some just plopped down in the road

The goats could not have cared less that they were blocking the road; some just plopped down in the road

Corsica's west coast offers no end to grand scenery thanks to the jagged coastline; the east side of the island is relatively straight

Corsica's west coast offers no end to grand scenery thanks to the jagged coastline; the east side of the island is relatively straight

Ajaccio began to develop in 1492 thanks to the Genoese; in 1553 the city was conquered by the French but in 1559 it was returned to the Genoese as part of a treaty

Ajaccio began to develop in 1492 thanks to the Genoese; in 1553 the city was conquered by the French but in 1559 it was returned to the Genoese as part of a treaty

Baldacci again points out that the FBI director is truly independent and can't be fired by the president; not one of his better books

Baldacci again points out that the FBI director is truly independent and can't be fired by the president; not one of his better books

Plage Isolella is a 30 minute drive south of Ajaccio; crushed ice and/or a Big Gulp would have been nice today

Plage Isolella is a 30 minute drive south of Ajaccio; crushed ice and/or a Big Gulp would have been nice today

Locals tended to go to the sandy beaches while I ventured to the rocky beaches in the hopes of better snorkeling; haven't seen any fast food restaurants on the island

Locals tended to go to the sandy beaches while I ventured to the rocky beaches in the hopes of better snorkeling; haven't seen any fast food restaurants on the island

Posted by VagabondCowboy 08:44 Comments (0)

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