Duration of the trip by car: 15 minutes per way
Distance: 9 kilometres per route
Accessibility of the road network: Any vehicle (axle nevertheless relatively dangerous for bicycles).
Tourist office: +33(0)4 95 54 20 50
At the foot of the Pigno massif, Bastia lies in a small bay on the north-east coast of Corsica, marking the boundary between the Biguglia plains and the first steep slopes of Cape Corse.
It takes its name from the "A Bastia" fortress built by the Genoese at the end of the 14th century to facilitate their trade in the Thyrrhenian Sea. Bastia, prefecture of the Haute Corse with 38,000 inhabitants, is a true economic capital of the island and one of the most beautiful cities on the island.
To get to Bastia, follow the direction of the trading port. At the end of the tunnel keep in the right lane. On the other side of the roundabout there is a parking lot under and under the main square of the city, which is partly accessible for motorhomes.
The Place Saint-Nicolas extends its palm guard in front of elegant buildings of beautiful dimensions, it is considered one of the largest pedestrian squares in France (300 m long and 90 m wide), it takes its name from an old chapel from the 11th century, which was destroyed during the extension works on the promenade in the 19th century. In addition to the monuments that adorn it and its charming little music kiosk, Place St Nicolas has become the Forum of the Bastiais, where you can meet for a drink on one of the many shady café terraces. The square is parallel to Boulevard Paoli, the city's main shopping street.
At the top of the square at the H. Pirangelli course you reach the square of the Town Hall, also known as the Market Square, because every morning, except Mondays, there is a traditional market full of charm, colours and scents. Enjoy the warm, typically Mediterranean atmosphere, where you will be offered a wide selection of local products and culinary specialties from the region. The Church of St. John the Baptist and the Town Hall are the two architectural jewels of this square. The spacious interior of the church, accessible from the square, houses a monumental altar made entirely of polychrome marble, large organs and numerous paintings of religious scenes. Landmark of the city of Bastia due to its privileged location on the old port, listed since 1999.
In front of the magnificent baroque façade, the Rue St. Jean, take the stairs leading to the old harbour: a charming little marina in the old town. You can follow it to the Dragon Pier, from where you can see from the lighthouse the old Terra Vecchia buildings around the bay, small anchored yachts, brightly coloured wooden fishing boats form a postcard environment. Go back in time. To your left you enter the green Romieu Garden, where a winding path leads through palm trees, laurels, pines and lush plants.
On a rocky promontory stands Terra Nova, the citadel surrounded by its walls. A political, administrative and religious centre under Genoese rule, it housed the governor's and runner's residences in a maze of picturesque alleys. Here are the most remarkable buildings of the period, such as the Assumption, the Oratory of the Holy Cross and the Governor's Palace. From the Place du Donjon, along the city walls, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the whole city.
Return to the Place du Donjon and leave the citadel complex through Louis XVI's gate, a neoclassical style reminiscent of a Roman triumphal arch. To return to the old port, walk along the city walls and then pass the Romieu Garden on the left to reach a monumental double circular staircase. It will take you back to the Old Port. Walk along the quayside of the First Shock Battalion and the Martyrs' Quay. If you wish, you can try one of the many specialities of the various restaurants. During the season, this area often vibrates with the sound of guitars and other Corsican folk songs by the artists who perform the shows in the evenings.
As a rule, a large fireworks display is fired at the quays of the trading port around 10 p.m. on 14 July. It attracts thousands of people, so it is advisable to arrive early in the evening. The Nicholas Square to the Citadel, over the Quai des Martyrs, are so many places where you can admire it.
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