Retrospective on: The ‘Quartier des Etrangers’ in Ajaccio


What is generally known as the ‘Quartier des Etrangers’ in Ajaccio remains even today, one of the most attractive and esthetic parts of the town. With the following account, I propose a retrospective of the birth of this international district, as the historical story behind the creation is indeed generous with thought-provoking ideas.
We will be travelling back in time to the birth of tourism in Corsica. And, rightfully so, you may wonder why choose this particular district.
After Napoléon’s death, and for various reasons, authors and artists start coming to Corsica – Balzac, Flaubert and Mérimée come to mind immediately.
Mérimée was an inspector of historical monuments...

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The Eastern Coast – extract: La Corse des écrivains by Thierry Ottaviani

Stretching from the southern tip of Corsica to Bastia, the eastern coast is much less winding and mountainous than the western side of the island. ‘This immense plain which forms the whole eastern coast’, writes Gustave Flaubert ‘is uncultivated for the greater part – covered here and there with a maquis whose tuft of greenery appears from afar, in the middle of this white earth’. 

Things have changed since the XIX century.
The eastern plain, far from being sterile, is now an intensive agricultural production area that exports wines, vegetables and fruits – including the famous Corsican tangerines.

Starting from the southern point towards the north, we reach Porto-Vecchio – ‘the old port’ in Corsican. This town on the east coast was founded by the Syracusans...

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A story illustrating an ancestral custom – ‘A Chjamata’

There is in Corsica, an ancestral custom which perfectly denotes the sense of honour, duty and morality of the inhabitants of the island.
When the head of a family dies, the objective of ‘a chjamata’ is to reunite all the men of the village, during a work period. This happens on a Sunday, and the villagers carry out in one day, what the deceased would have taken several weeks to do. This event, continues until the children’s majority, and often even well beyond.

Carbuccia 1913.
Barbarella had unfortunately resorted to this gesture of righteousness and generosity. Her dear husband died within a few hours, victim of a hernia, leaving their family and whose youngest boy, was only ten years of age. The child was called Jules-Baptiste...

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Sea urchins with scrambled eggs – seasonal and tasty

As our sea urchins can be found and enjoyed from October to April, this is still the ideal time to prepare an original recipe with scrambled eggs. The most complicated part is in fact, managing to open them !
Adapt quantity to requirements.

Bon appetitu !                                                   


– 2 eggs
– 4 sea urchins
– 10g butter
– 1 soupspoon crème fraîche
– pepper


Open and cut the top with scissors. With a teaspoon, recuperate the tongues (orange part). Put aside the equivalent of 1 – 2 soupspoons of the juice, this will replace the salt and also add creaminess to the mixture.
Rince the emptied sea urchins, and keep in a closed container in the fridge for 4h maximum.
Now, to prepare the eggs. Whip them in a container and add a little pepper.
Cook in bu...

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Enter the heart of the Niolu, and discover Calasima

We’re visiting the heart of the Niolu region (north-west), and more specifically: Calasima. This village is known to be the highest one in terms of habitation apparently on the island, at 1095m. It offers magnificent views, one in particular is of the Paglia Orba peak (2525m). In many ways, this little village has been able to remain as it was in the past, and protect itself from needless overdevelopment.

As you have already read and learnt, this region is the land of farming and shepherds, and where local products such as goat cheese, charcuterie and chestnut flour is very much in demand...

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