We're in Bonifacio, at Corsica's southern-most tip. We arrived after a short drive down the east coast. Bonifacio is built on chalk-white limestone which has been eaten away by the ocean, leaving parts of the town precariously cantilevered over the sea. The old town, what you see in the first picture, is very charming, a warren of old buildings and narrow streets, outdoor cafes and shops.
Today we took a look at some of the defense and navigation aides located in this most-southerly point of metropolitan France.
In 1825 the French built 5 lighthouses around Corsica to help ships navigate, a program led by Augustin Fresnel. In addition to the one shown below, the Pertusato lighthouse, others were built in the Sanguinaires islands (near Ajaccio), Chiappa, Revellata, and Giraglia. The Pertusato lighthouse is a 21m high square tower, made of stones, centered on a rectangular building. It has been automated since 1985. Near the lighthouse is the Pertusato semaphore. It is still in use, guiding ships through the Corsica/Sardaigna strait.
Today we hiked out of town to the lighthouse which is on the island's southern-most tip and which is just a few km north of Sardinia. The beautiful hike tracks the edge of a limestone cliff. It passes the semaphore, some ruins of old buildings, and then ends at the lighthouse of Pertusato. As a bonus we were buzzed by a few French fighter jets as we walked along the cliffs. The greenery is plentiful but low and scrubby. An easy hike though there isn't any shade.
Today we explored the old town of Bonifacio. The town is precariously perched about 70m above the sea on a long peninsula. On one side of the peninsula are ocean-eroded white cliffs, on the other side is a long thin harbour. The harbour, as one might expect, is full of yachts and catamarans and tour boats, with the occasional Moby ferry which sails between here and Sardinia. And of course the harbour is bordered by a well-maintained boardwalk fronting hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Life is good in Bonifacio.
Like every other town we've visited in Corsica Bonifacio is well-maintained, spotlessly clean, and good looking. Since it is fall some shops and hotels are starting to close for the season. Still, there are a lot of tourists though it's not crowded with them unlike Toledo or Venice.