Ajaccio

Abyss Festival

In May took place the first Abyss festival for submarine image in Ajaccio. The theme of the inaugural edition was the protection of the sea and its resources, which has become a global concern. More than ten hours of films were shown in Ajaccio's Congress Hall, among them some of the greatest works by famous directors like Jacques Perrin, Yann Arthus Bertrand, Ruppert Murray or Luc Besson. Abyss was also a place for meetings and exchanges with all those involved in the protection of the sea, around the projection of films Ocean Planet for the Good Planet foundation and White Paradise for the Maud Fontenoy foundation. Maud Fontenoy came to talk with the public about the preservation of seas and oceans. Conferences on sharks in the Mediterranean, an exhibition on shipwrecks and meetings with members of the Corsicamare Osservazione maritime observatory were other key moments in this edition. Prizes were awarded to amateur underwater filmmakers and photographers. Abyss also offered to amateur divers the opportunity to shoot a protected plane wreck, the P40 Curtiss resting 11 metres underwater in the military waters of the Aspretto naval air base.

Web sites

Abyss © International Submarine Film Festival of Ajaccio12 cylindres P40 engine © David PaoliCongress Jean-Louis Lascoux © Ville d’AjaccioAbyss © International Submarine Film Festival of Ajaccio
No previous stage
Pop: 65,000
Prefecture of the Corsica region and of Corse-du-Sud department
Specialties: bruccio (cheese), sausage, doughnuts, aziminu (bouillabaisse), canistrelli (biscuits), AOC wines.
Economy: tourism, administrations.
Celebrities: Napoleon Bonaparte, cardinal Fesch. Tino Rossi, Alizee (singers), Roland Magdane (comic), Morio Matsui (Japanese painter), Jerome Ferrari (novelist).
Sport: AC Ajaccio, Gazelec Ajaccio (football), hippodrome of Vignetta, imperial regatta (May)
Culture: Spanish and Latin-American film festival (February), printemps des poetes (March), cinema and history meetings (April), ABYSS undersea pictures film festival (May), Napoleonian festival (August), Italian film festival (October), English and Irish film festival (December), Comics book fair (December)  
Labels: climatic resort, town of art and history, Grand site de France and Natura 2000 (Sanguinaires islands and Pointe de la Prata)

Timeline

  • Middle Ages

    Existence since Antiquity of a seashore locality abandoned in the 8th century.
  • 1492

    The building of Ajaccio, whose construction has been decided by Genoese, starts in April 1492 on a promontory called Capo di Bolo.
  • 16th and 17th centuries

    Religious buildings are being built: the cathedral and the churches of San Rucchelu, St Erasmus and St John the Baptist. The construction of Napoleon’s birthplace in St Charles street starts in the mid 17th century.
  • 1769

    Ajaccio becomes French after the defeat of Pascal Paoli troops in Ponte-Novu.
  • 1801

    The extension and embellishment scheme presented by first consul Napoleon Bonaparte transforms the city and takes it out of its ramparts.
  • 1811

    Ajaccio becomes the prefecture of the Corsica department.
  • 1826

    Construction of the prefecture, town hall and theatre.
  • 1860

    Restoration of the Foreigners quarter. Ajaccio becomes a trendy holiday resort in the Second Empire.
  • 1943

    Ajaccio is the first French town to be liberated on September 9.
  • 1970

    Ajaccio becomes the prefecture of the Corsica region and of the Corsican Territorial Authority in 1991.
  • 1976

    Ajaccio becomes the prefecture of the Corse-du-Sud department.
St John the Baptist church © Jean-Pierre GalichonPasquale Paoli, portrait by William Beckey, 1810Place de Gaulle, Napoleon and his brothers © Ville d’Ajaccio
No previous stage
Pop: 65,000
Prefecture of the Corsica region and of Corse-du-Sud department
Specialties: bruccio (cheese), sausage, doughnuts, aziminu (bouillabaisse), canistrelli (biscuits), AOC wines.
Economy: tourism, administrations.
Celebrities: Napoleon Bonaparte, cardinal Fesch. Tino Rossi, Alizee (singers), Roland Magdane (comic), Morio Matsui (Japanese painter), Jerome Ferrari (novelist).
Sport: AC Ajaccio, Gazelec Ajaccio (football), hippodrome of Vignetta, imperial regatta (May)
Culture: Spanish and Latin-American film festival (February), printemps des poetes (March), cinema and history meetings (April), ABYSS undersea pictures film festival (May), Napoleonian festival (August), Italian film festival (October), English and Irish film festival (December), Comics book fair (December)  
Labels: climatic resort, town of art and history, Grand site de France and Natura 2000 (Sanguinaires islands and Pointe de la Prata)

Web sites

Ajaccio and cycling

In 1966, the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice ended in Ajaccio on a victory by Italian Michele Dancelli. Raymond Poulidor left the island with a fragile leader's jersey that Jacques Anquetil took away from him on the last day. The stage could be reminiscent of the Race to the Sun with hills resembling those of the Nice hinterland. Ajaccio is also the birthplace of several riders who marked the history of Corsican cycling, two of them taking part in the Tour de France.


Pierre Bordigoni, founder of the AC Ajaccio club and of the Tour of Corsica, rode the 1910 Tour for team Armor but could not finish the race.
In 1919, the brave independent rider Napoleon Paoli, an Ajaccio-born bicycle retailer based in Antibes, decide to participate in the world's greatest cycling race. He reached Cherbourg outside the time limit as the finish line had been dismounted while the Tour officials were fast asleep.


Paoli did not lose faith and he entered the Tour the following year but was hardly more fortunate – he crashed into a donkey and was later held by falling rocks in the Pyrenees. More recently, Dominique Bozzi – better known as Doumé – was the first Corsican after WWII to become professional in 1995 alongside Luc Leblanc in team Le Groupement one year after earning a silver medal in the 100-km team event at the world championships. Bozzi was instrumental in helping the Tour make its first visit to Corsica.

Jacques Anquetil, June 27, 1963 © Nationaal Archief
No previous stage
Pop: 65,000
Prefecture of the Corsica region and of Corse-du-Sud department
Specialties: bruccio (cheese), sausage, doughnuts, aziminu (bouillabaisse), canistrelli (biscuits), AOC wines.
Economy: tourism, administrations.
Celebrities: Napoleon Bonaparte, cardinal Fesch. Tino Rossi, Alizee (singers), Roland Magdane (comic), Morio Matsui (Japanese painter), Jerome Ferrari (novelist).
Sport: AC Ajaccio, Gazelec Ajaccio (football), hippodrome of Vignetta, imperial regatta (May)
Culture: Spanish and Latin-American film festival (February), printemps des poetes (March), cinema and history meetings (April), ABYSS undersea pictures film festival (May), Napoleonian festival (August), Italian film festival (October), English and Irish film festival (December), Comics book fair (December)  
Labels: climatic resort, town of art and history, Grand site de France and Natura 2000 (Sanguinaires islands and Pointe de la Prata)

Web sites

Places to see

Sanguinaires islands

The Sanguinaires archipelago is a heaven for sea birds and dolphins. In the summer, boat tours are organisers from the Tino Rossi harbour. Several travel books evoke the beauty and majesty of the site. Alphonse Daudet wrote one of his letters about it: "Imagine a wild and blood-red island with a lighthouse at one end and old Genoese tower at the other...another beautiful place I have found for dreaming and for being alone".

Bonaparte's house

The present house was the second residence in Ajaccio of the Bonaparte family, who came from Italy in the late 15th century. The house kept being enlarged through the years.
In 1764, Charles-Marie Bonaparte, a lawyer for the Corsican Higher Council, married Letizia Ramolino, the daughter of an renowned Ajaccio family. The couple settled on the first level of the house in which the rest of the family was still living. Their oldest son, Joseph, was born in Corte, but Napoleon, Lucien, Louis, Jerome and their three sisters were all born in this rather luxurious house.
In 1793, the Bonaparte family, who supported the Republic, were forced out of Corsica, then ruled by Pascal Paoli and his English allies. The house was plundered while their rural properties were ravaged. Letizia was allowed back in 1797 and, thanks to important compensation, she embellished the house with a new apartment and new furniture. On return from Egypt in 1799, general Bonaparte visited the house for the last time.

Fesch Museum

The building was constructed on request by cardinal Fesch, the uncle of Napoleon, in order to shelter an Institute for Arts and Science. A great art collector, Fesch gave his native town more than 1,000 pictures. The Fesch museum is the second largest museum in France for Italian painting.

Lantivy Palace

Now the Corsican prefecture, the palace was built in 1826 on plans by architect Alfonse-Henri de Gisors (1796-1866). Its construction was part of the extension and embellishment scheme presented by Napoeloen Bonaparte to turn his birthplace into a wealthy modern town.

Cathedral

The construction of the Cathedral of the Assumption, started in 1577, was completed in 1593 under bishop Giulio Giustiniani, whose armouries feature on top of the portal in Carrara marble. The Emperor was baptised in the cathedral on July 21, 1771.

Sanguinaires Islands © Ville d’AjaccioNapoleon’s birth house © Jean-Pierre GalichonFesch Palace, Museum of Fine Arts © Ville d’AjaccioNotre Dame de l’Assomption cathedral © Ville d’AjaccioTino Rossi port © Ville d’AjaccioPlace Foch, statue of First Consul Napoleon © Ville d’Ajaccio
No previous stage
Pop: 65,000
Prefecture of the Corsica region and of Corse-du-Sud department
Specialties: bruccio (cheese), sausage, doughnuts, aziminu (bouillabaisse), canistrelli (biscuits), AOC wines.
Economy: tourism, administrations.
Celebrities: Napoleon Bonaparte, cardinal Fesch. Tino Rossi, Alizee (singers), Roland Magdane (comic), Morio Matsui (Japanese painter), Jerome Ferrari (novelist).
Sport: AC Ajaccio, Gazelec Ajaccio (football), hippodrome of Vignetta, imperial regatta (May)
Culture: Spanish and Latin-American film festival (February), printemps des poetes (March), cinema and history meetings (April), ABYSS undersea pictures film festival (May), Napoleonian festival (August), Italian film festival (October), English and Irish film festival (December), Comics book fair (December)  
Labels: climatic resort, town of art and history, Grand site de France and Natura 2000 (Sanguinaires islands and Pointe de la Prata)

Web sites

The first french town to be liberated

Often overshadowed by the Allied landing in Normandy, the liberation of Corsica was the real prelude to the liberation of France and Ajaccio was the first French town to be liberated.

From November 11, 1942, some 80,000 Italians and 14,000 Germans were occupying the island, almost one soldier for two inhabitants. However, Corsica was liberated first, even before the intervention of the Anglo-American troops. The island owes this fact to the courage of the local Resistance, who were later joined by Italian defectors and French troops from North Africa in 1943.

While the Paris Liberation Committee was created in November 5 that same year, Corsica had already laid the arms and freed itself from the German rule. The Parisian committee called on its followers to follow “the example of our valiant Corsican brothers”. The insurrection started in Ajaccio on September 9, making it the first French town to be liberated, while Bastia followed on October 4, marking the liberation of the whole island. The French Committee of National Liberation made it clear in a radio statement on September 21, 1943: “Corsica has the honour to be the first part of France to be liberated by the courage of its people and the value of its arms.” General De Gaulle himself paid homage to the liberators by landing in Ajaccio on October 8, 1943: “The Corsican patriots could have waited for the armies to dictate their destiny. But they wanted to be victorious themselves.”

The liberation of Corsica played a leading role in the pursuit of hostilities. The island was used as a naval air base, as an attacking post against Italy and a launching pad for the landing in Provence on August 15, 1944.

No previous stage
Pop: 65,000
Prefecture of the Corsica region and of Corse-du-Sud department
Specialties: bruccio (cheese), sausage, doughnuts, aziminu (bouillabaisse), canistrelli (biscuits), AOC wines.
Economy: tourism, administrations.
Celebrities: Napoleon Bonaparte, cardinal Fesch. Tino Rossi, Alizee (singers), Roland Magdane (comic), Morio Matsui (Japanese painter), Jerome Ferrari (novelist).
Sport: AC Ajaccio, Gazelec Ajaccio (football), hippodrome of Vignetta, imperial regatta (May)
Culture: Spanish and Latin-American film festival (February), printemps des poetes (March), cinema and history meetings (April), ABYSS undersea pictures film festival (May), Napoleonian festival (August), Italian film festival (October), English and Irish film festival (December), Comics book fair (December)  
Labels: climatic resort, town of art and history, Grand site de France and Natura 2000 (Sanguinaires islands and Pointe de la Prata)

Web sites

video30/06/2013 

The towns 2013 : visit Ajaccio

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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