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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Corsica—France’s Best Kept Secret

Lying just 100 miles off the French Riviera, Corsica might as well be 1000’s of miles away from the maddening crowds and jet-setters of Cannes, Nice and Antibes.  Technically part of the Provence region, this postcard perfect Mediterranean jewel may just be one of the last unspoiled spots in France. 

Corsica is the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean, thus travel can be slow and arduous.  Furthermore, getting to Corsica, is no piece of gateau.  Although closer to Italy than to France, there are no direct flights from Italy to the island.   While only 100 miles from Nice, flights from the Riviera are few; consequently, supply and demand drive prices to about $250 for a 45 minute quickie.  Yes, there are ferries, but they are also few.  Many run only during the summer or on weekends…to add insult to injury, journeys vary from  4-6 hours.  All of this translates to fewer tourists (especially Americans).  All of this, most importantly, translates to a more authentic experience.

Just 50 miles from the Italian mainland (and only 7 miles from the Italian island of Sardenia), the island offers a magnfico fusion of French and Italian cuisine.  Imagine every restaurant offering salade de chevre (goat cheese on a bed of greens) and agneau Provençale (lamb braised in with tomatoes, thyme and olives), along with a wide assortment of homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas.  And the fusion doesn’t stop there.  There’s crème brulee or tiramisu.  I think I’m in heaven.

In 1769 the Republic of Genoa (now northwest Italy) sold Corsica to Louis XV for 40 million francs (approximately 5 Million US dollars).  I’d say that the French made out like a bandito.

Stay tuned for details on Corsica’s wine scene, as well as a charming celebrity hideaway.

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