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Is it just me ??

Sofia
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Is it just me ??

I am sorry to be frank, but I am just back from southern Corsica, and I must say I am not impressed at all. Reading from the forums and looking at the pictures it should all have been sugar and spice and everything nice - far from reality.

My impression firstly is that this is a place geared to the French - international tourists seem to be unimportant for the locals. I was amazed that nobody speaks English, and all menus are in French only. When we asked for an English menu we were almost universally told an abrupt "No". What sort of French jingoism is that - is it something they have against the English or foreigners in general (I myself am not English, nor a native speaker, but suffer from no such prejudices).

Secondly the beaches - they are at best average, yet the tour guides and photos on the net make you think they are almost Carribean-like. Not so! The only reasonable ones, that are relatively accessible (i.e. not by dirt road), are Palombaggia and Rondinara, and at that they are nothing special.

Thirdly the towns and villages - they really have a crude and austere, "no frills" look about them - perhaps like the local people. Yes they are interesting, but by no means charming or beautiful. Of course Bonifacio is impressive, but I don't think for this one place it is worth flying in from abroad.

In all fairness, the food is awesome, and the mountains (particularly the Bavella Needles) are breathtaking, but these are about the only things I really liked about the place.

I wish I was able to get a fairer view of the island, before going, and hope this will help future visitors. I would say Corsica for me is more of a mountain place, than a beach and history place. You must also have a fair knowledge of French in order not to feel like an outsider.

middle england
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for Leicestershire, Norfolk
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1. Re: Is it just me ??

Well maybe you went to the wrong part of the island - the south is more "Italian" than the north. But I have to say that expecting English speaking in any holiday destination is ludicrous. I actually prefer Corsica as it is and me and them have no desire for the residents to speak English. I get by pefectly well with the little French I know. My experiences in restaurants are different as well. Welcoming staff and menus in many languages - but there are always exceptions. Why anyone should object to dirt tracks leading to beaches I do not know. My experience is that all the best beaches are to be found there. Certainly many Caribbean beaches are at the end of dirt tracks! Most of the villages are austere because they are built of the local stone and are some of the most beautiful I have seen. For future visitors, you are going to a French island with strong Italian influences - if you want Englsh speaking, high rise hotels, kiss me quick hats and amusement arcades, go somewhere else - Blackpool might suit!

Essex
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2. Re: Is it just me ??

HELP - I went on holiday in France and everyone there spoke French......

What a ridiculous complaint.

Sofia
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3. Re: Is it just me ??

I was sure I would have this kind of answers from the Corsica fans, but I wanted here to be at least one post with "the other side of the story". Maybe because I expected Corsica to be more like Italy or Mallorca that I was disappointed, but I think a large part is played by the island's own presentation which is excessive and nowhere near the reality.

Even Palombaggia and Rondinara are photoshopped into Carribean beaches, which they are not - they are not even like Es Trenc, and I visited some other beaches (described in the local guidebook as "the playground of the rich and famous") that I would not even call a beach (e.g. Cala Rosa).

And yes I do expect that in a tourist destination that expects to get my (international tourist) money that they have an English menu and someone speak at least a tiny bit of English. I also don't expect surly "No's" when I ask for an English menu. I have not had this in any other place I have visited. It is not too much to ask, given that I don't ask them to know my language, i ask them to know a language that is spoken by virtually everyone in international travel nowadays (for better or worse).

I do accept that my comments relate only to southern Corsica (or extreme south as they call it), so I was curious to know did I just pick the wrong part of Corsica or is it the whole island.

London, United...
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4. Re: Is it just me ??

I guess you are right OneNightTravel, Corsica is very close to what you describe, this is not Italy nor Mallorca and you will not find a single british pub or beer garten with an English menu served by a McDonald trained crew. Corsica has a lot of issues and its own characteristics and it is not for everyone. The island is very much about mountains and not too much about beaches, it has no infrastructure, it is very rustic and not very open towards the rest of the world (and to your point, the Northern part of the island is even worse)....and this is exactly why we love Corsica!!

London, United...
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5. Re: Is it just me ??

In Northern Corsica I find that lots of people in restaurants now speak some English, especially younger ones, and many of the menus have (terrible) English translations. .Personally I prefer it when you have to speak French or Italian and nobody sucks up to you because you speak English the master language.

The rich and famous who come to Corsica are probably only the French rich and famous, who anyone outside of France wouldn't have heard of. So in that respect, yes, maybe the publicity was a little bit misleading!

I don't know Mallorca, but Corsica is not so very different from the most interesting and least developed parts of Italy - eg Puglia, Calabria, Sardinia - but it is different from the international touristy parts - Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi coast - which have long been invaded by English speaking tourists.

May it long remain so.

Usk, United Kingdom
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6. Re: Is it just me ??

"And yes I do expect that in a tourist destination that expects to get my (international tourist) money that they have an English menu and someone speak at least a tiny bit of English"

I was just in Switzerland and it seemed liked half the country spoke English. It's a bit of an exaggeration, but many people speak English there, especially people who deal with tourists.

Portland
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7. Re: Is it just me ??

Actually, I don't think Corsica qualifies as "a tourist destination that expects to get my (international tourist) money." Instead, it seems to be a French tourist destination, first and foremost. Others of course are welcome, but it is not a place that is going out of its way to attract non-French (or even Italian) tourists. That's one reason it has remained free of package tours and the like. It's why it remains relatively "undiscovered", for better or worse, and why a lot of people prefer it to Santorini, Ibiza, etc.

Sofia
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8. Re: Is it just me ??

Well I hope that future visitors will know what to expect, because I really felt unwelcome and out of place initially.

I don't think English nowadays is only UK's or US's language, and I never thought of the British as the "master race", etc. So I see nothing wrong with people speaking English or having English menus as a courtesy to their clients.

Most of us come from countries, where we could not possibly expect our international clients to know our native language. Most travellers' native language is also not widely spoken internationally. So I see nothing wrong with meeting each other half way and speaking to each other in a language that is generally accepted as an international medium for communication.

Much as I like the British and the Americans I don't speak English out of admiration for them, but out of necessity. There are English menus in Germany, in Greece, in Turkey, in Russia, in UAE, even across the sea in Sardinia they speak English to the extent necessary to serve their clients. So there must be something else with the Corsicans to be so stubborn on the subject (and maybe this comes from their educational system).

We cannot be expected to speak every language in the world - I for example, speak apart from my native tongue also English, Russian and Spanish, but not French. Is this a reason not to travel to Corsica or to make me feel like an intruder in their restaurants etc.? I don't think it should be.

Anyway, we are not going to change the Corsicans, whatever our opinions. Perhaps future travellers will have a better match between their expectations and reality and choose Corsica for the right reasons - this should help them have a more satisfying experience.

Calvi, France
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9. Re: Is it just me ??

Are you for real!!! I really do not know what to say to this post....Corsica is Corsica....and if you have the chance to visit this island then please do not complain that nobody speaks English...why would we and what is the obsession with everyone speaking English....does not each country have its own language??? We are French...and also Corsican.........which some ignorant people may not know is a language in its own right!!! If you want english menus ...tarmaced roads...and posh beaches with sunloungers then go back to Ibiza and Mallorca......I have travelled all over the world but i have made my home in Corsica because it is a very special place and it should be looked after and not slagged off by narrow minded people.......but sadly we need tourists here as its the only industry.....I don;t think many of the beaches are photo shopped......if you come off season then Rondinara and Palombaggia look exactly as they are in the photos,..sadly its the tourists that ruin it!!!...maybe if you made the effort to get off the beaten track then you would find the real Corsica and not the touristic one.......but that probably would not please you either....!! I hope you enjoy your next holiday in Ibiza RIP!!

Sofia
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10. Re: Is it just me ??

Well, that sums up the situation quite well...

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