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Posts from the ‘France’ Category

on joining ‘join us in france travel podcast’

I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and woke up in Corsica.  –Peter O’Toole

We had a Corsican wine that had great authority and a low price. It was a very Corsican wine and you could dilute it by half with water and still receive its message.  –Ernest Hemingway

Join Us in France Travel Podcast is a web site and podcast hosted by Annie, and sometimes her long time friend Elyse. Annie is a French woman who had lived in the United States for many years, and decided to return to France where she lives now in Toulouse. Elyse is an American who lives in Toulouse, as well.

Recently, I did an interview–Fall in Love with Corsica, Episode 267–with Annie about my experiences in Upper Corsica, or Haute-Corse, in September, 2019. On the page, “Click to Play” and you will hear our discussion. She provides also a page with guest notes and an outline for easy reference.

Join Us in France has existed for many years. Over time, it has expanded its content to include many contributions by her friend Elyse, a scholar and historian, who talks about locations in France, other than Paris but not always, and their historical significance.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Most of the listeners are fond of Paris and many of the podcasts are devoted to it. However, more broadly, questions are asked and answered about families traveling to France, what to do and where to go for first time visitors, and sometimes something new is offered for those who travel frequently to France.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

My favorite moments in the podcasts are when the attention is turned to the locations other than Paris. I like listening to the banter between Annie and Elyse, who are obviously long time friends. One has a sense of being a fly on the wall while listening to good friends talk about their favorite topic–France.

Certainly, Join Us in France should be on the top of any list for research about traveling to France.

on hindsight on the route from calvi to porto

“It is easy to be wise after the event.” ―Arthur Conan Doyle

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘It might have been.’” ―Kurt Vonnegut

In the villages and towns of Upper Corsica, it is there where time as a tourist passes. More care, I think, should be given to the journey between those villages and towns.

During a recent trip through Haute-Corse, around Cap Corse, several long drives warranted more consideration on my part.

Part of the problem is finding places to stay. Secondly, only after driving through them did I know where I could have paused and breathed or where I would have wanted to spend a day or two.

Today, there are four routes where I wished I had paused: 1) on the east coast, the route between Bastia and Macinaggio; on the west coast, the routes 2) between Centuri and Saint-Florent; 3) between L’Île-Rousse and Calvi; and 4) between Calvi and Porto.

Between Saint-Florent and L’Île-Rousse is the desert des Agriates, for example. It is not a desert filled with sand but the maquis bush, which is common on Corsica.

The issue with taking advantage of the drives is what to do with them. You want to stop, but where? The roads are narrow and sometimes the turn-outs are not available. Stopping anyway is not possible; that is a given. Too many curves, and thinking that no car will come is foolish.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on porto on haute-corse: no, not porto-vecchio to the south

Porto, Haute-Corse is a port. Sometimes its name is associated with Ota (Porto, Ota, Corsica, France). It is small; and without tourism, it would simply be another small village with summer homes and the occasional fishing boats going out if they had already identified markets for their catches, maybe in Calvi to the north or Cargèse to the south.

Despite its size I spent three nights in Porto at a funky hotel called Hôtel Bon Accueil. I would return to Porto if I could again reserve a room there. It is not a hotel for those who want comfort and luxury. It reminded me of the low budget hotels where I used to stay when I was younger and hipper and when I looked for places where my parents would refuse to stay.

Porto is a former fishing village that now caters to tourists. It has restaurants, summer homes, and boats that take visitors to the Calanches de Piana and to the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola.

Porto has a tower on the port, la Tour Génoise de Porto à Ota. It is the major tourist destination. You can go to the top of the tower. Inside are historic displays, and climbing some steps further, you can have the panoramic view that the tower promises from a distance.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on corsica, the roads go where?

All roads on Corsica lead to Corte. Sort of. If one looks at a map, in the center of the island and a bit to the north one finds Corte. The major roads going west to east and north to south pass through it, or nearby.

The train system intersects at Corte as well, except for the train going from Bastia to Calvi. One must transfer to a second train at Ponte-Leccia to continue to the west coast and Calvi.

Tourists, myself included, like to take the train in the morning from Bastia to Corte, spend some time there, and return to Bastia. It is small, Corte is, and much can be seen with part of a morning and much of the afternoon. The train ride is about two hours. One can walk into town from the train station; I did.

I chose to spend three nights in Corte. That meant wandering some streets more than once. Saying that, I would return and do it again.

Corte is set in the mountains. You are reminded of it during the train ride and later when you climb to the citadel and look to the horizon.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The citadel offers the best views of the surrounding countryside. It requires paying the entry fee for the Musée de la Corse. One enters the mueum, turns left before entering the exhibits, and walking outside to the citadel viewing area. One must be able to walk up steps. But wait, there’s more!