- Discover Ajaccio's sights
- Circuit Ville Génoise
- Circuit Ville Impériale
- Pointe de la Parata and Îles Sanguinaires
Discover Ajaccio's sights
Ajaccio's sights can be easily explored on foot, by mini train or by double-decker bus. The tourist information office, which is within sight of the cruise terminal, has city maps and advice ready. If you don't speak French, help is provided in English.
The mini-train “Petit Train d'Ajaccio” and the double-decker bus “Ajaccio Vision” offer regular trips through the streets of the city and to Pointe de la Parata. We recommend the tours through Ajaccio prepared by the tourism organization. We have tested it and found it good.
Petit Train d'Ajaccio
Tour bus stop
Circuit Ville Génoise
The tour makes reference to relics of Genoese rule and includes the following sights.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption d'Ajaccio (Assumption of Mary)
The baroque church is the seat of a suffragan bishop of the Archdiocese of Marseille. The rather small cathedral, painted ocher on the outside, was built between 1577 and 1593. The tall, short central nave with the bright-looking dome is striking. Napoleon was baptized in the cathedral in 1771.
Place Maréchal Foch
The square opposite the town hall was named in honor of the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch. The Place Maréchal Foch is surrounded by mighty palms and plane trees and is therefore colloquially called “Place des Palmiers” (Palm Square).
An imposing fountain with four lions dominates the square. It is dedicated to Napoléon Bonaparte. A statue enthroned above the lion shows him as First Consul, dressed in a Roman toga. The monument contains the essential dates of his biography. The second statue in the square is dedicated to Madunuccia, the patron saint of Ajaccio. The market is also held on Place Maréchal Foch.
The work on the extensive defense system was originally started by the Genoese occupiers. After the takeover of Corsica by France, the fortress was strengthened. The star-shaped complex is surrounded by a wide and fairly deep moat. A couple of donkeys keep the grass of the ditch short. Since it is a military area, only donkeys and French soldiers are allowed inside the citadel.
Below the citadel there is a narrow sandy beach facing the bay, the Plage Saint Francois.
Plage Saint Francois
Plage Saint Francois
Circuit Ville Impériale
This tour presents sights from the Napoleonic era.
Palais Fesch - Musée des Beaux Arts
The museum has one of the most beautiful and, after the Louvre in Paris, the most extensive collections of old Italian masters in France. On display are paintings by Bellini, Botticelli, Canaletto, De Tura, Tizian and others. The pictures were created in four epochs between the 14th and 19th centuries. The Palais Fesch also owns 30.000 paintings that were acquired after the French Revolution. There is also a collection of Corsican minerals.
The four-storey, representative building was built on behalf of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, Archbishop of Lyon, an uncle of Napoleon. In the courtyard of the fenced building there is a life-size statue of the cardinal.
The Chapelle Impériale and the Bibliothèque Patrimonale are also part of the building. The Cardinal and Napoléon's mother Letizia Ramolino found their final resting place in the Chapelle Impériale. The Bibliothèque Patrimonale owns 30.000 valuable, old volumes.
Hotel de Ville
Memories of the city's great son are exhibited in the “Salon napoléonien” on the first floor of the town hall, including the birth certificate in Genoese.
Ajaccio's town hall
The inconspicuous house, adorned with the bust of the King of Rome, is the house where Napoléon was born. In the rooms testimony of the family history is given.
Monument - Napoléon et ses frères
The Place du Général de Gaulle not only offers a wonderful view of the Gulf of Ajaccio but is also the best address for a monumental statue. This is what Napoléon portrays as the Roman emperor on a horse. He is surrounded by his brothers, who are also characterized with heroic gestures.
Napoléon Monument on the Place du Général de Gaulle
Pointe de la Parata and Îles Sanguinaires
In addition to the city tours, a trip to the Pointe de la Parata is recommended. Twelve kilometers west of Ajaccio is the Tour de Parata defense tower, built by Genoese in 1608, on the Pointe de la Parata headland. A road leads to the headland. The bus No. 5, the mini-train and the double-decker buses have their turning point there. There is a parking lot, a modern information center, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.
Visitors can climb up to the tower and walk around the headland in around 20 minutes. From above the view goes over to the Îles Sanguinaires, the "bloodthirsty islands". They are located at the northern end of the Gulf of Ajaccio. The largest of the islands, Grand Sanguinaire, is around 1.200 meters long and a maximum of 250 meters wide. To the name of the islands there are several explanations: the name of the islands has nothing to do with blood in the strict sense.
Ajaccio's goals, which are close together, fit comfortably into a visiting day. The day guests have enough time to have a drink after the excursion to the Pointe de la Parata and after the two mentioned tours at the port, in the Rue Cardinal Fesch or even at both places.
Rue Cardinal Fesch
A stroll through Rue Cardinal Fesch is always worthwhile. In the pedestrian street there is not only the Palais Fesch, but also many shops and the bars mentioned.
If you prefer sun and swimming in historical Ajaccio, visit one of the beaches between Ajaccio and Parata; Marinella Plage is beautiful. The city beach Plage Saint François is less inviting.
Ajaccio - Marinella Plage
Update December 2020