France: Corsica

Northern Corsica

Wine regions of Calvi, Patrimonio and the Cap Corse
By Tom Fiorina

This Guide was last updated on 18 July 2013
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Places to stay

U Palazzu

Address: 20220 Pigna
Tel: 04 95 47 32 78   Fax: 04 95 46 08 68
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 42:35:59N (42.599775)    Longitude: 8:54:10E (8.902683) 

Picture a huge, 18th century stone palace, dominating an ancient hilltop village strategically located between Calvi and Ile Rousse, authentic charm oozing from its chestnut-beamed ceilings and flooring, and with walls the colour of an ancient Italian convent. This is U Palazzu, ancient siege of the Franceschini family since 1701, now renovated by Dominque Franceschini, who was born in what is now one of two luxury suites in this Hotel de Charme. Besides the two suites, there are two double rooms that are also decorated in a regal style fitting the Franceschini family’s prominent position in the Balagne between the 17th and 19th centuries. The doubles share a small conservatory area, but each suite has its own private terrace with sweeping, picture-postcard views of the Bay of Algajola. What you won’t get is air conditioning (with meter-thick, stone walls and 200 metres of elevation, you won’t miss it) or a television. But what you will get is a true understanding of why real Corsicans leave the beaches in the summer to live in their mountain abodes. You won’t miss the traffic jams and stifling summer heat, and you’ll have your choice of a dozen beaches just a 15-minute drive away. As if that wasn’t enough, U Palazzu’s restaurant has been recognised by the guidebook Gault et Millau for its authentic rustic cuisine prepared by chef Jean Luc Debeuf. (Breakfast is expensive). This same village of Pigna features a second interesting hotel restaurant, La Casa Musicale, which is dedicated to fine eating and traditional music and is open all year. Casa Musicale organises a year-round series of concerts (Corsican polyphony and medieval music) and there is a Festivoce music festival in early July. See the website for information.

Useful information: Rooms: €140-€240; suites: €240-€285; breakfast from €16. Menu: €50. Open April 1 - October 30.

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