Property in Corsica

A guide to Corsica and the type of property for sale in Corsica

Why not consider property or properties for sale in Corsica?

You may have considered buying property in mainland France and even considered permanently moving there for a new life (Life in France). It could well be that you have considered buying this property in the south of France (Property in the south of France), wanting to feel that special Mediterranean ambience, to relish the warm climate and to enjoy the spectacular scenery and slower pace of life. You may have considered the Riviera (French Riviera Property - an insider's guide), Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Guide), the Languedoc (Languedoc Property - Top 10) or Catalan and Basque France... but have you considered Corsica?

Corsica is France with a difference

The island of Corsica is France... but with essential differences. Even more "Mediterranean" in climate and character than the Riviera, Corsica is usually referred to as one of the 26 regions of France, yet it is also its own country in some essential respects. It has its own language, for example, and there are distinctive traditions and a quite different culture on this little island. Technically, Corsica is neither a region of France nor an independent country, but a "territorial collectivity".

Corsica is a natural beauty

Corsica is possessed of a wonderfully warm and sunny climate (Weather in France), and has a spectacular natural beauty unsurpassed in most of mainland France. Unsurprisingly, then, it is popular with tourists and in the summer season it can get quite busy, especially in the coastal towns. It remains, however, remarkably unspoiled, unchanged even, and in this it stands out from the commercialised and glitzy Riviera, so near yet so far away in character and style. Corsica's natural glories are the 1,000 kilometres of coastline (including 800 fabulous beaches) and its beautiful mountains and forests that form the wild and rugged interior of the island. The climate, too adds to its attractions, and its sunshine and warmth makes a perfect antidote to the cold and grey of Britain.

Corsica - the possible political disadvantages

Chances are, if you mention the possibility of buying property in Corsica, someone will tell you it isn't a good idea because of terrorist activity against non Corsicans. Now, there is an element of truth in this, and it can't be denied that Corsica has had its share of problems over the years. There have been attempts to bomb certain buildings (usually government buildings, not private residences). The problem is one of a desire for political autonomy, and whilst a certain amount of autonomy is desired by many of the islanders, most are neither extremist nor prone to blowing up innocent holidaymakers or new residents.

Property owners in Corsica unlikely to be affected

Like the Basques, the Corsicans are a proud people who want to preserve their heritage, language, and cultural identity, at least to some extent. A fully satisfactory resolution has yet to be found, but although there can be no absolutes, private property owners in Corsica are unlikely to experience many problems. There is some history of Mafia type activity in Corsica too, but this is largely a thing of the past, and once more is most unlikely to touch the average house owner.

Property, Corsica and crime

In spite of anything you may have assumed after hearing of the occasional violence perpetrated by the extremists, there is actually a very low crime rate in Corsica. It is considered very unnecessary to lock your car when you leave it, for example, and many people leave their houses unlocked too with no ill effects. The island is also considered a safe haven for children. Corsicans are known for their love of children and the importance that they place upon family life, so anyone moving to or holidaying in Corsica with children is likely to find that the ice is already part way broken with the sometimes taciturn islanders. Crime is not common on the island, as it is a relatively small place and difficult for thieves to hide their goods or identities! In fact, the islanders say that the only time there is theft or petty crime on Corsica is in the holiday season, and it is usually carried out by strangers!

Corsica - its people

Polite, proud, hospitable yet maintaining something of a distance with strangers, Corsicans are slow to take you to their hearts, preferring that you prove your true colours first. But once accepted you will find they will demonstrate their acceptance with a fierce loyalty that lasts for ever. The best way to be accepted is to play a real role in the community, becoming at one with Corsican culture rather than trying to impose your own. Corsica is not a place for those who crave sophistication and bright lights, so if this is your dream, stick to the Riviera and leave Corsica to the nature lovers, the outdoor sports fans (Sport in France) and those who enjoy a simpler way of life. Ostentatious shows of wealth may not endear you to the indigenous population, but a respect for the culture and traditions will go a long way.

Corsica - how to get there?

It is much easier now than it used to be to reach Corsica from the UK. You can take direct flights with budget airlines to Corsica, or take budget airline flights to the south of France and then make the crossing by boat (Southern Ferries make the crossing from Nice and Marseille). Or you can fly with British Airways or Air France (via Paris) or direct with GB airways from Gatwick. (French Connections.) The airports on Corsica are at Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari.

Property for sale in Corsica is in relatively short supply

Corsica offers some lovely property for sale, but it is quite expensive in general, and in relatively short supply. The most desired properties are those close to the beaches, and it is definitely worth considering a leaseback property (Leaseback Property in France, French leaseback property - Top 10) if you are only planning to use it for holidays rather than full time living. The Corsican holiday market is well developed, so any "buy to let" property in a good location should perform well. (Letting property in France, Buy-to-let Property in the South of France.) If you are seeking a less expensive or more traditional option, you may be well advised to look further inland, where the old Corsican villages exist much as they have for hundreds of years, seemingly untouched by time or tourism. It is possible to purchase a village house for far less money than you will have to find for a beach property, but allow time for your neighbours to get to know you, and remember that if you choose this option it is important to fit into the community, to contribute and to adjust.

Corsica - a very special choice

If Corsica appeals to you, be aware that is it a very special place, quite unlike anywhere else. Its history covers many hundreds of years of turbulence and foreign rule, with the island falling definitively into French hands only in 1768. Even today, there is dispute over its place as a part of France.

Corsica - property for sale here might be your best option

Buying property in Corsica may not be the simplest option, but it just might be the best. Corsica has much to offer the discerning property seeker, and once you have adjusted to life on this little isle, it is said that you will never wish to live anywhere else. Let's face it, an island that was the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte was never going to be ordinary!

Additional articles which may be of interest:

Health care in France
Sarkozy and French property owners
Best things about living in France - Top 10

About the author

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of south-west France in October 2004 having found her property through French Property Links.

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