Friday, March 31, 2006


Jazz in Calvi

I'm a great lover of Corsican music - especially Corsican Polyphony in all its forms. I actually learnt about this music through i muvrini, a Corsican band who started out as a Polyphony group but who have evolved and become accepted into mainstream contemporary music in France and elsewhere. (If you're interested check out for some great clips).

I don't understand jazz (though I suspect my son and sister-in-law do) but I realise the importance of the Calvi Jazz Festival in the Island's calendar. However, you have a problem finding sensible information about this event on Google, and the last time I asked them, the Corsican Tourist Board didn't know the dates - hopefully this has now changed. Thanks to a couple of people who have taken the trouble to inform the discussion group Corsica Lista ( I can now reveal that the date of the Festival in 2006 is 13th-18th June. It would be great if the organisers could keep their website going all year so that jazz-loving tourists don't have to do lots of research before they book their flights.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Corsica's weather in Spring & Autumn

Corsica's visitors seem to be fascinated by the weather there off-season. What's it like? Is it wet? Is it warm? Are any bars and restaurants open? There are frequent posts on these subjects on forums such as Trip Advisor and VT Forum.

I've not been there often enough to answer the questions fully, but I can tell you what we found during the past six months. We were there for the last week of October last year and were on the island again earlier this month. Late last October, the weather was warm and sunny - not many places open, but there were places to eat and enough people around to make you feel welcome. We swam in the sea every day.

March was a diferent proposition. We had sun every one of our five days, but it rained on two as well. The temperature reached 20 degrees C on a couple of days, but the evenings were chilly. The great thing about March is the amount of snow on the mountains. They were spectacular seen from the Balagne coast. We had our lunch outside on the last day, but it was too cold to eat out in the evenings. We found Ile Rousse and Corte surprisingly busy at lunchtime, but found Calvi almost empty of people.

A thoughtful posting on one discusion group, from a resident of long standing, however, warns walkers against super-ambitious plans this early in the year: if you're going through the mountains, bring your snow gear, and be warned that many of the refuges will be closed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Time for a rethink, Monsieur Villepin?

I've been thinking about the decision by the French Government to stop Easyjet running daily flights from Paris to Corsica. I have no problem with Air France's CCM subsidiary (who we used last weekend - a great service from Orly to Calvi - well done guys). However, why can't we have another service run by a different operator as well? Healthy competition could bring costs down, and bring more visitors to the island, thus boosting the region's economy, and personally I'm disappointed.

Some folk are surprised that Easyjet didn't launch a summer service from one of the London Airports to Corsica - I'm not. In the summer months, British visitors can fly direct to the island with BA (three flights a week now) (Sundays) Thomson Fly and Westernair (links to these at So what kind of an opportunity is there here for a newcomer like Easyjet? Gone are the days when the only way of geting to Corsica was to fly to Nice then get a ferry!

Paris to Corsica is another matter entirely. M. Villepin (who would like to be seen as a friend of Corsica) should ask himself whether he wants more visitors going to the island, or whether he wants to be seen as supporting the local Airline CCM. It's a tough choice, and yes I do realise he has on or two other things on his mind right now.

One hears rumours that Ryanair is eying up the possibility of a flight from Britain to Corsica. If so, Michael O'Leary would do well to think in terms of an off-season launch. Corsica is (some would say) unpleasantly crowed in August and July; the rest of the year, well, the traders could do with a bit more custom. An airline that shows year round comitment to the island (as, let's face it, Air France and CCM have done) deserves all our support.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Back in harness

I've always wanted to know what Corsica was like this early in the year - and now I know. Got back to the UK on Sunday night - wet and cold. We had left Calvi in sunshine and 20 degrees C, but there was thick snow on the mountains still.

Yes, we had a bit of rain, but we had sunshine on every one of the five days we were there. The flowers were glorious (especially in the Foret de Bonifatu, near Calvi). The red kites are flying around, and there are even one or two bars and restaurants open! It's going to be three months before we can go back.

So, back to work...

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