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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Ajaccio

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in southern Corsica each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March 17–18: Madunnuccia (Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, local event)

This festival honours Ajaccio's patron saint, the Madunnuccia, believed to have saved the city from the bubonic plague in 1656. Infused with faith and tradition, the celebrations include a huge procession through the streets of the city, a concert at the city hall, and a mass at Ajaccio's cathedral, officiated by the bishop of Corsica.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

On the first of May, it is customary to offer a sprig of lily-of-the-valley to close friends, family members or neighbours. On this day, anyone in France can sell lily-of-the valley sprigs on the street without needing a licence, provided the flowers have been picked wild or homegrown. Unsurprisingly, sellers can be found on almost every corner!

June 21: Fête de la Musique (celebrated nationwide)

Also celebrated internationally as World Music Day, for this festival many free concerts featuring all types of music are held in the streets and at various venues around Corsica.

July 14: Bastille Day (national holiday)

This holiday celebrates both the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the key event marking the beginning of the French Revolution, which would culminate in the collapse of the absolute monarchy, and the end of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. Festivities in southern Corsica include concerts and dance parties. At nightfall, dazzling fireworks displays light up the skies over many Corsican towns and villages.

August 15: Assumption Day (national holiday)

This celebration, still very popular in Corsica, is marked by the faithful with several religious processions through the streets, among other observances.

Third weekend in September: European Heritage Days (celebrated nationwide)

Held in major cities, the aim of the European Heritage Days is to open up numerous sites and monuments, many of which are normally closed to the public: public and private buildings, castles, museums, etc.

October: WRC Tour de Corse – Rallye de France (local event)

This event, which served as the French round of the World Rally Championship from 1973 until 2008, returned to Corsica in 2015, with a longer route and more varied stages.

October: International Circus Festival of Corsica (local event)

Bastia and Ajaccio host this competition for circus troupes from around the world. Clowns, animal trainers, acrobats and other performers try to outdo each other with phenomenal circus acts, for the delight of competition spectators.

November: International Comics Festival in Ajaccio (local event)

For all lovers of comic books, this is an important event on the calendar each year, with 40 visiting artists and numerous workshops, exhibitions, conferences and receptions.

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Ajaccio

Ajaccio and southern Corsica enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are especially mild. Average low temperatures in the winter are well above freezing (4.1°C or 39°F in January), while high temperatures often exceed 30°C (86°F) in the summer. Each year, there are over 2,700 hours of sunshine, making southern Corsica one of the sunniest spots in Europe. Storms are relatively frequent, especially in the autumn and spring. It rarely snows in Ajaccio.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 4/39 14/57 62/2.4 Not the best period to go
February 4/39 14/57 56/2.2 Not the best period to go
March 5/41 15/59 57/2.2 Not the best period to go
April 7/45 17/63 64/2.5 Not the best period to go
May 11/52 21/70 39/1.5 Good period to go Good period to go
June 14/57 25/77 23/0.9 Good period to go Good period to go
July 17/63 28/82 10/0.4 Good period to go Good period to go
August 17/63 28/82 20/0.8 Good period to go Good period to go
September 15/59 26/79 24/0.9 Good period to go Good period to go
October 12/54 22/72 92/3.6 Not the best period to go
November 8/46 17/63 95/3.7 Not the best period to go
December 5/41 15/59 68/2.7 Not the best period to go
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Southern Corsica Airports

Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport

Ajaccio's Napoleon Bonaparte Airport is located about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the city centre and is Corsica's busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers.
  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Ajaccio and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the N193
    • The airport offers a single parking area: EUR 3.00 for 1 hour, EUR 10.50 for 24 hours, and EUR 5.00 for each additional day.
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport.
  • By bus
    • A shuttle bus service connects the airport with the Ajaccio bus station. Buses depart from the airport about every hour between 5:35 a.m. to 11:20 p.m. Monday to Sunday and from the Ajaccio bus station about every hour between 5:10 a.m. and 10:50 p.m. Travel time is about 20 minutes and the one-way fare is EUR 4.50.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks just outside the arrivals hall during the hours when flights arrive at the airport. The trip to the city centre usually costs between EUR 15 and EUR 20.
  • Services : bars, restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi), and interactive terminals providing tourist information are available in the airport
  • Telephone : +33 (0)4 95 23 56 56
  • Website : http://www.2a.cci.fr/Aeroport-Napoleon-Bonaparte-Ajaccio.html

 

Figari Sud Corse Airport


Figari Sud Corse Airport is located not far from the centres of Figari (6 kilometres/4 miles), Porto-Vecchio (20 kilometres/12 miles), and Bonifacio (15 kilometres/9 miles).
  • One terminal for both international and regional flights

Getting from the airport to Figari, Porto-Vecchio or Bonifacio and back
  • By car
    • Travel time to the centre of Figari is about 10 minutes.
    • Travel time to the centre of Bonifacio is about 20 minutes.
    • Travel time to the centre of Porto-Vecchio is about 25 minutes.
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport.
  • By shuttle bus
    • A shuttle bus service connects the airport with Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks just outside the arrivals hall.

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GETTING AROUND Ajaccio

The best way to discover southern Corsica is to rent a car.

By rail

Although trains can be used to get around Corsica and admire the island's magnificent and varied landscapes, they have two main drawbacks. The first is that they run rather slowly and the second is that the rail network does not serve southern Corsica from west to east. Trains connect Ajaccio with destinations in northern Corsica, such as Bastia and Calvi, via Corte.

By car and motorcycle

In both northern and southern Corsica, renting a car or a motorcycle is the best way to get around the island. Both types of vehicles may be easily rented on the airport property or in most large towns and cities in southern Corsica.

By taxi

If you would rather not rent a vehicle, taxis are sometimes the only other way to get around Corsica, whether to return to where you are staying in the evening or to get to the airport.

By bicycle

Bicycling in Corsica is really only recommended for the most athletic visitors. If you head almost anywhere in from the coast, you can be guaranteed that your ride will involve some climbing. There are a number of bike rental shops in the island's main towns and cities.

On foot

Of course, walking is without doubt the ideal way to visit the historic centre of towns and villages in Corsica and to admire the island's landscapes.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in southern Corsica, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Ajaccio Municipal Tourist Office

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, public transport, sightseeing and tours) as well as brochures and maps.

  • Adresse : 3 boulevard du Roi Jérôme, 20181 Ajaccio
  • Opening hours : du lundi au vendredi de 8h30 à 19h00, fermé le midi, ouvert le samedi de 13h30 à 17h30
  • Telephone : +33 (0)4 95 51 53 03
  • Website : http://www.ajaccio-tourisme.com

Porto-Vecchio Municipal Tourist Office

Offers sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures.

  • Adresse : Rue Maréchal Leclerc, 20137 Porto-Vecchio
  • Opening hours : du lundi au samedi de 9h à 19h, fermé le dimanche
  • Telephone : +33 (0)4 95 70 09 58
  • Website : http://www.ot-portovecchio.com

Bonifacio Municipal Tourist Office

Offers sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures.

  • Adresse : 2 rue Fred Scamaroni, 20169 Bonifacio
  • Opening hours : du lundi au samedi, de 9h à 19h, le dimanche de 9h à 18h
  • Telephone : +33 (0)4 95 73 11 88
  • Website : http://www.bonifacio.fr

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Currency and Exchange Rates

$1 = €0.94

€1 = $1.06

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to France.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no specific food safety risks. French government authorities promote good hygiene practices and put in place strengthened control procedures for sites especially frequented by tourists during the summer months.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Corsica.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter France. Foreign nationals in the two categories listed below are not required to carry a visa for stays of 90 days or less:

  • Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Swiss Confederation
  • Citizens or nationals of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

For stays of more than 90 days, a long-stay visa is required.

Travellers from all other countries must be in possession of a visa, regardless of the length of their stay. Visa applications must be submitted to the nearest French Embassy or French Consulate in the country of permanent residence well in advance of departure.

For further information, visit the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/

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Useful addresses

Foreign embassies and consulates in France

The directory made available online by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French only) includes addresses and contact details for all foreign embassies and consulates in France: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/le-ministere-et-son-reseau/annuaires-et-adresses-du-maedi/ambassades-et-consulats-etrangers-en-france

Travel information and recommendations

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Corsica, be sure to check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country for the latest travel information and recommendations.

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic French phrases that will make your stay in Corsica a little easier:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Bonjour

Good evening: Bonsoir

Good-bye: Au revoir

Yes: Oui

No: Non

No, thank you: Non, merci

Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas

Could you repeat that: Pouvez-vous répéter ?

Please: S'il vous plaît

What time is it: Quelle heure est-il ?

Excuse me: Excusez-moi

Airport: Aéroport

Train station: Gare

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hôtel

Hospital: Hôpital

Bank: Banque

Telephone: Téléphone

I'm (…): Je suis (…)

I'm looking for (…): Je recherche (…)

How much is (…): Quel est le prix de (…) ?

Do you have (…): Avez-vous (…) ?

Where can I find (…): Où puis-je trouver (…) ?

Where can I buy (…): Où puis-je acheter (…) ?

I'd like (…): Je voudrais (…).

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Good to know

00 33
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to southern Corsica)
6 : 00
of time difference with
New York
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
220V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In southern Corsica like elsewhere in France, a service charge is always included in the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.