Corsica on a Harley Davidson
Despite the uncertainties of Covid 19, we decided, taking all the necessary precautions, for a three-week trip to the Isle of Beauty.The full turn counterclockwise with frequent penetrations into central lands. The choice of means of transport fell on our two-wheel Harley Davidson which had not moved for six months. This report will let you know Corsica exactly as we saw it ourselves.This is the fourth time and we never tire of it. But enough of the chatter, let's quickly move on to the articles and photos which are in a 3-second carousel step by step. NB: a travel map is displayed at the end of the report.
It is at the port of Bastia that we disembark quickly with the bike after an instant coffee that we could enter in the torture register, Quick baggage check and no less rapid visual of the mechanics, we turn immediately to the right direction the north cape, no fear for gasoline service stations pulullent here. We will visit Bastia on our return in 3 weeks. Beware of nasty switchbacks at the exit of the city, be careful on 2 wheels especially on the first kilometers.Note in passing the professionalism and speed of the Corsica Ferries teams both while disembarking.
First stop for the Genoese tour of Losse (half way) the sea is splendid, then we leave the D80 towards the tip of Corsica, the village of Barcaggio and its adorable mini-port. You can eat on Noelle's terrace. We leave under the admiring gaze of the tourists present given the "potato" of the unpastellated bike, we feel as discreet as an advertising neon. Back on the D80 facing south this time to Centuri and its pleasant little lobster port. On the way, we eye on the heights the "Mattei mill" surrounded by wind turbines without going up. The weather is fine as long as it lasts.
We still go down on the D80, skip the Seneca tower, apart from wanting to walk for a while to see a ruin, and stop at Nonza a beautiful little village that is worth your visit (especially the Paoline tower and the amazing gray beach). Arriving in St Florent we become city dwellers again. We visit the citadel, the port, charming alleys.The central and majestic square, surrounded by numerous restaurants and parking lots, including our favorite "Le Passage".
We descend the D81 crossing the Agriates desert. Then connection with the N197 (T30). Display the Marinella promenadeon your GPS, numerous car parks but above all the two beaches are very beautiful. First time we see palm trees but the poor victims of acute scoliosis. After your swim, the enchanting streets await you and the covered market is a must see. The Pietra lighthouse and its magical surroundings and the little beach train that connects Ile Rousse to Calvi, stopping at all the isolated beaches and all this for less than 5 euros. Our restaurant of the day "La brasserie"very average.
It is the most beautiful town in Corsica, except for the beaches of the Gulf. From Ile Rousse we stay on the T30 for 25 terminals so no rush, we urge you to visit Algajola (fairy beach) on the way. Arrival in Calvi, go straight up to the citadel, leave your vehicle in the car park and enter (cathedral, museum, powder magazine, fortifications and barracks of the green berets). Get out and walk through the colorful alleys to return to the port. The Gulf of Calvi despite its mega length of beach does not offer the quality of its neighbor Ile Rousse hence the existence of the small beach train. Restaurant of the day "Via Marine Le Bistrot" 18/20.
Nothing to do with good Portuguese wine, but you can't pass the west coast of Corsica without visiting the city of Porto. From Calvi we take the unmissable D81B, the one that runs along the steep coast, it's magical especially on 2 wheels. We pass Galeria to join the D81, we enter southern Corsica. After the Col de la Croix, the D81 winds its way down to the Gulf of Porto and its city. Turn immediately to the right towards the port, it is small but well organized in termsof parking. A good hotel, the "blue waves" with a view of the sea but without private parking and as a restaurant the "setting sun". Otherwise take the road again, at the exit of Porto to the left towards Ota go eat "at the Mill" at the young Jean Pascal a must and very inexpensive. Go to bed early tomorrow's busy day.
Corte and Valley Restonica
Good Terra Costa restaurant facing the statue of Pascal Paoli.
From Porto, about fifteen kilometers is enough to reach the village of Piana, a village lost to the power of 10, but these few kilometers will make you discover a visual enchantment the Calanches or Calanques (the 2 say each other) of Piana with the sea in the background. An ocean of colors where ocher and brick red stand out and blend together,
the blue of the sky and the sea, the gray of the rock, etc. Simply magical, especially when the sun is out. Be careful, everything is not rosy sometimes blocks stand out on the road and when you cross a road because it is a galley assured. Small pleasant snack at the entrance of Piana le Phocéa and its colossal tree. The village has a church of the Assumption which contains several remarkable works.To go to the beaches it is the first and only road on the right. We take the road towards Cargèse where we will spend the night.
The D 81 takes us for 35 km to the town of Cargèse, we visited the cul-de-sac Arone beach before departure, a lot of road for little results. Cargèse, on the other hand, is a beautiful little town with an enchanting port. It is the only city that has two churches facing each other of different faiths (Latin and Byzantine) roughly Catholic and Orthodox. The most beautiful beach is called Pero, and recently it was the scene of the settling of mortal scores in front of straw huts. The port, however small it may be, offers motor boat rentals, alone or with a skipper, which will allow you to visit the Calanques on the sea side (from 165 euros).
Good creperie restaurant Lortu and as a hotel the Roc et Mare residence, its studios with kitchen, swimming pool, sea view, friendly atmosphere but no restaurant, but a small SPAR 10 minutes walk.
Departure from Cargèse on the D81, stop at Sagone (beach) then drive without conviction on a road halfway under construction to join the national road and enter Ajaccio, the largest city in Corsica. Do not look for good hotels at nice prices there are none. "Very expensive" say the English We fell back on a budget Ibis 90 euros / night. What must be done in Ajaccio, visit the bloodthirsty islands (25 euros) and go out at night in the rue de Rome where all Ajaccians meet for the party. If you still have time to visit the birthplace of Napoleon, the place of General de Gaulle and a small meal in the fishing port (Forum or Voile Bleu).
Tino Rossi's property has no interest you will only see the portal. See the seaside resort of Ajaccio Porticcio a must. On the negative side, there are huge traffic jams and to drive it is a question of ... vocabulary and horn as in Paris.
The heavy rain forces us to go through the national road, the Celaccia pass, an ordeal until Propriano where the weather calms down a bit. We park directly on the port (Valincu I believe) a big hunger leads us to a restaurant which was to our taste the "Tempi Fa" which succeeds in the feat of putting our brains in pose for 2 hours of pleasure. Then visit a magnificent church (la misericorde) and digestion walk along the port where many beautiful units are camped. Sarténe is very close and can be reached in less than 30 minutes. The rain is still present, we park in the central square where the church and the town hall are also nestled. Sarténe is an adorable and surprising little town because it is all gray (gray granite) and despite its 3500 inhabitants it is the largest municipality in Corsica. Besides the ramparts its attraction are its stylish Middle Ages alleys.
The rain from the Sarténe road sent us straight to Bonifacio where the sun finally reappears. Bonifacio is the southernmost French town where you can see Italian Sardinia a few kilometers in front. A port and a citadel make up this super endearing city. Touristically speaking there is a lot to do in Bonifacio but we will tell you the main ones, see the unique and spectacular cliffs of the city, visit the citadel on foot (currently a lot of renovation work on the former barracks of the Foreign Legion), see the staircase of the King of Aragon and its 200 steps carved into
the cliff and finally visit the marina. Restaurant chooses "Le Time" and its Bonifacian mussels. For sleeping at the hotel for foreigners at the entrance to the city, simple but clean with private and protected motorcycle parking.
Porto Vecchio is in fact a seaside resort about thirty kilometers north of Bonifacio which has splendid beaches around such as Santa Guillia, Palombaggia and so many others hidden away just as splendid, a bit like Ile Rousse.The port is majestic doubled by a commercial port. However, we were disappointed with our visit to old Porto Vecchio.On the port, wearing the mask, we were interviewed by local TV on the usefulness of wearing a mask against covid 19. This city, bigger than one imagines, has a hypermarket, the first to be seen in Corsica of this magnitude.To eat the terrace of the Bellaggio restaurant on the port enchanted us. To sleep due north at 25 terminals at the Mozziconaccio campsite which even has adorable little villas at 55 euros per night, fully equipped. A Corsican nugget.
Aiguilles de Bavella
Unmissable place in Corsica. From the previously mentioned campsite due north to Solenzara then on your left the D268 you will follow the border between Haute Corse and Corse du Sud the road course is winding and very slippery, beware of the bikes. Cover yourself also, it climbs in altitude, ravines, canyons, forests, torrents and peaks in the form of needles it is magic. The village of Bavella has a restaurant but rather go up to the belvedere (1300m) with giant parking lot to take a unique photo with the sea in the background. Here hikers will be delighted.Take the same road that goes down to Zonza where we had lunch in an excellent restaurant, Auberge du sanglier. Unfortunately the weather prevented us from visiting the archaeological sites of Cucuruzzu (in this specific case we dream of a car). Return by the D368 towards Porto Vecchio where we will find the Corsican sun.
Departure from the same Mozziconaccio campsite due north towards Bastia by the T10, the end of our journey. We pass Solenzara then to our right the air base of fighter planes land in a deafening noise, then it is the Diana pond which supplies the whole of Corsica with mussels, you can taste on the spot. And finally Bastia where we land on the majestic Place de St Nicolas where we quench our thirst with a little yellow well deserved at Napoleon where the boss, fan of big motorcycles, gently taps us. A walk on foot does us good and takes us to the market place
where we randomly join the restaurant "l'Idéal" for mussels au gratin, a must. You can digest by visiting the old port, know that an elevator takes you to the governor's palace for free and then stroll through all these enchanting Bastia alleys. We join the Corsica Ferries boarding in the rain, trip over, sniff sniff!
Map of Corsica
What there is to know
Needless to say, everything we are telling here was experienced at the end of September 2020, despite covid 19, with a road bike (Harley Heritage for connoisseurs) whose vision is not the same as with 4 wheels and in particular the scents, traffic jams and almost non-existent parking lots for us bikers. Also note that the hotels and restaurants
encountered have all received our visit and may never know that they are mentioned here. Also know that there is no tourist site worthy of interest that is deserted during the mild periods, you will always have the coaches parked in their giant car parks bringing their flood of tourists. You may also have to work together to take the best photo or the best place on the beach and even the kids who will poison your life with their overflow of life, but despite this your Corsican days will be magical not to say divine on this paradise island where we do not speak in kilometers but in time. Don't forget the anti-covid 19 barrier gestures. Have a good trip to the brave. Alain and Mireille