Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Two ways of discovering the Parc de Saleccia

The Parc de Saleccia - a few kilometres northwest of L'Ile Rousse on the road to Bastia - can be approached on two distinct levels.

As a day out surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubs it easily gets an eight out of ten from this regular garden visitor. I'd rather go there than London's Kew Gardens for instance - there are great facilities for kids in Saleccia, a nice snack-bar/drinks area and assistants who speak good English.

But you can look at Saleccia on another level entirely. If you are intrigued by essential oils, and want to know more about the plants that supply them, then you'll find most of the answers you are seeking there. If you want to discover more about olive trees - wild and cultivated - you'll be able to trace much of this tree's exotic and complex story in this small estate. You can also use your visit to Saleccia to find out about the maquis and the plants that make them up - the aromatic myrtle, the arboussier and rosemary. It's a bit like a living lexicon of Corsican vegetation.

Saleccia could do with a few more explanatory notices in languages other than French. And I wish someone would tidy up the beach just opposite: don't bother trying to go for a swim there afterwards - believe me, I've tried. But as a place to visit on one of the days you decide to give your favourite beach a miss, it takes a lot of beating for just a handful of euros.

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