An Is­land Get­away

We take you to Cor­sica where turquoise blue wa­ters and white sand await

Where Paris - - Contents - By San­dra Iskan­der

Cor­sica is France’s dar­ling is­land, where turquoise blue wa­ters and white sand await ev­ery sum­mer with open arms to many wealthy French res­i­dents from the main­land who have their hol­i­day homes in the is­land’s pop­u­lar cities, Porto-Vec­chio and Boni­fa­cio. Lo­cated in the Mediter­ranean Sea, the is­land boasts in­cred­i­ble beaches and mar­vel­lous moun­tains, off­set­ting the turquoise blue of the sea with the emer­ald green of the dense forests. While tech­ni­cally Cor­sica is part of France, it has a very dif­fer­ent vibe, that of course of be­ing an is­land, with quaint vil­lages that feel like walk­ing through a post­card. France’s best kept se­cret is now out and it turns out you don’t need to head to the Caribbean for is­land vibes and crys­tal-clear wa­ter. So what should you do while on your is­land get­away? Dis­cover the beaches. The most beau­ti­ful beaches on the is­land are with­out a doubt Palom­bag­gia and Santa Gi­u­lia, which are lo­cated in Porto-Vec­chio and are ar­guably some of the most beau­ti­ful in Europe, with both boast­ing in­cred­i­bly blue wa­ters that in­vite you to dive into. You can get to the beaches ei­ther by car or by boat with Azur Priv­ilège, which op­er­ates from the Casadel­mar Ho­tel. Pick­ing you up from the ho­tel, you will be spoiled by the beau­ti­ful views as you feel the wind in your hair as the wa­ter gen­tly splashes on your face and the wa­ter grad­u­ally turns from a dark, mid­night blue to turquoise. Both beaches have a restau­rant from where you can re­serve a chaise longue for the day and tow­els, and which of course serve great food. And ser­vice doesn’t get bet­ter than at Les Trois 2 at Santa Gi­u­lia beach with mag­a­zines and sun­screen avail­able for your read­ing plea­sure and to make sure you keep your skin pro­tected, and fam­i­lies will find toys, buck­ets and spades avail­able to them to build sand­cas­tles with their chil­dren. Be­sides tan­ning and swim­ming, be­ing on a sum­mer hol­i­day also means en­joy­ing great food, and Cor­sica of­fers some of the best Mediter­ranean cui­sine in the re­gion. Two stars de­fine Casadel­mar Ho­tel’s fine din­ing es­tab­lish­ment and Ital­ian chef Fabio Bra­gag­nolo brings his awarded tal­ent from his amuse-bouche to his flavour­some main dishes with his sig­na­ture dishes, in­clud­ing the can­nel­loni of sea bass, spi­der crab and caviar, wel­com­ing your taste buds to the is­land be­fore pas­try chef Clau­dio Pezzetti sweet­ens the end of the meal with his cre­ative desserts, in­clud­ing his Granny Smith ap­ple sphere. For an au­then­tic Cor­si­can meal you must re­serve a ta­ble at Stella d’Oro, a fam­ily-run restau­rant and is what Cor­si­can cui­sine dreams are made of. The sig­na­ture dish here is the Aubergines à la Boni­fa­ci­ennes, serv­ing you a seem­ingly sim­ple dish that once you bite into bursts in your mouth, treat­ing you to the Cor­si­can-style egg­plant parmi­giana us­ing three dif­fer­ent cheeses and a pinch of sugar in the home­made tomato sauce that sweet­ens the acid­ity of the tomato. Of course the ex­act recipe is se­cret but the worst kept se­cret is that this dish is the best egg­plant dish on the is­land, if not the world. For vis­i­tors who en­joy a few late nights, make sure you stop at B’52, with crowds spilling onto the foot­path fac­ing the ma­rina, you will love the view, mu­sic and drinks. If you want a few cock­tails but with a lit­tle bit less of a crowd stop in next door at La Car­avelle Ho­tel and Restau­rant that boasts a for­mer chapel that is now the ho­tel’s op­u­lent bar, a rather un­ex­pected nook with bare stonewalls, keep­ing pa­trons cool even when it is siz­zling hot out­side, and a baroque dé­cor with a daz­zling chan­de­lier. While a trip to Cor­sica is pretty much one long R&R hol­i­day, take it one step fur­ther and book your­self in for a spa treat­ment at the Spa Espa, where its sig­na­ture mas­sage is sig­na­ture to you with the treat­ment tai­lored to ev­ery guest, cre­at­ing a be­spoke mas­sage ev­ery time. The sig­na­ture treat­ment, Mas­sage Casadel­mar, uses a blend of aro­matic es­sen­tial oils, which come from Cor­sica’s wild Maquis shrubs, with some grown in the ho­tel’s very own herb gar­den, mak­ing the treat­ment even more of a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­fore you leave the is­land try to find the time to make your way from Porto-Vec­chio to Boni­fa­cio. Driving along the windy roads be­tween the two cities will have you take in the sea from high above as you slowly make your way up the Boni­fa­cio cliffs. Once you’re at the top, get out of your car and feel the sea breeze as you are served a spec­tac­u­lar panoramic view of the wa­ter down be­low, a mag­nif­i­cent pal­ette of emer­ald green and turquoise blue, and on clear days you can see Sar­dinia across the Mediter­ranean.

Re­lax and un­wind at the Casadel­mar Ho­tel (above) and take in the view from the Boni­fa­cio cliffs (op­po­site page)

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