Serving as the capital of Corsica, Ajaccio is renowned as the birthplace of the 19th-century French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It centres around a bustling port on the island’s rugged west coast and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and the spectacular natural scenery of Pointe de la Parata.
Things to do in Ajaccio
Learn about Napoleon Bonaparte’s links to Ajaccio at the Maison Bonaparte, a historic residence that was occupied by members of his family from 1682 to 1923. It’s now filled with memorabilia and family heirlooms relating to the emperor’s life, including a glass medallion that contains a lock of Napoleon’s hair.
To see where Napoleon Bonaparte was baptised, visit Our Lady of the Assumption, which was designed in an ornate Baroque style in the 16th century. Wander beneath the barrel-vaulted arches to admire the marble baptismal font and see the interior paintings by Delacroix and Tintoretto. You can enjoy a moment of quiet reflection in one of the seven side chapels or listen to the pipe organ that was built in 1849.
Stretching west of Ajaccio is the awe-inspiring Pointe de la Parata, a black granite promontory topped by a Genoese watchtower that was built to defend against pirate attacks in the 16th century. It can be accessed along the picturesque Route des Sanguinaires, which takes in rugged beaches and offers stunning views of the offshore islands.
Getting around Ajaccio
Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport is a 15-minute drive from Ajaccio’s city centre and offers flights to destinations across Europe. Ferries connect from Ajaccio’s port to the French mainland and Sardinia while buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Ajaccio is compact enough to explore on foot.