Palm tree lined street.

Pete Seaward


Commanding a lovely sweep of bay, the handsome city of Ajaccio has the self-confidence that comes with a starring role in world history. In summer, there’s more than a whiff of the Côte d’Azur to its pastel-toned, cafe-filled historic core and the trendy waterfront promenade that stretches west, buzzing with beachgoers by day and party people later on. But it’s in the tangled old-town lanes that the spectre of Napoléon Bonaparte looms largest, with the house where he was born in 1769 now serving as a museum to his memory. The headland alongside is dominated by a redoubtable citadel that’s sadly off limits to visitors, while a palace amid the newer boulevards to the north displays magnificent art collected by Napoléon’s uncle. With ferries from mainland France mooring right alongside, Ajaccio’s always bustling with activity.

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