10 largest cities in France


Bastia (Bastìa)


Bastia (Corsican: Bastìa) is a French commune, prefecture of the departmental constituency of Haute-Corse and located in the territory of the community of Corsica. With 45,715 inhabitants (2017 census), Bastia is the second most populous commune in Corsica after Ajaccio. It is the capital of the Bagnaja, a region in the northeast of the island, stretching between the Golo and Cap Corse.



Bastia is one of the most beautiful towns in Corsica. But it undoubtedly requires more attention and more imagination than other places on the island which are self-sufficient. Italian city by its origins, it has kept its heart and the Citadel.

Between the old quarter of Terra Vecchia, whose origins date back to 1380, and that of Terra Nova, begun a century later, sits the Genoese domination. However, Bastia sometimes has Neapolitan accents with its cracked houses, its wrought iron balconies and its facades where multicolored garlands of linen float gleefully.

You can visit Bastia as a tourist: the Place Saint-Nicolas on which you will stroll before sitting on the terrace of a café, the Romeu garden through which you access the Citadel, the ethnographic museum and the Museum of the Sea, the churches and chapels with generous decorations. Bastia has several religious curiosities, including an Assumption in chiseled silver by a 17th century Sienese artist, and the Black Christ from the Sainte-Croix church, found floating on the water between four marvelous lights. It is celebrated on May 3, feast of the Intervention of the Holy Cross, and the statue is carried at the head of a procession through the streets of the city.

But the beauty of Bastia, a mysterious city for those who do not reside there, is not in the marble and gold of its churches. She is in these houses with closed shutters but half-open jealousies. You have to take the trouble to walk and get lost in the alleys to discover it.

Music floats between the houses, soft as a summer evening when the music is slow to die out on the horizon. So Bastia shakes up its modernism and regains its former grandeur, when patrician families lived in the honorable wealth that cosmopolitan commerce afforded them. The music spreads in the narrow streets and invades the city. Bastia: city of culture, crossroads of nations, with a destiny linked to that of an Italy streaming with riches.

From the Place Saint-Nicolas which looks at the sea, go up alleys with Mediterranean colors and scents. Above the Cardu mountain, whose summit can be seen, there is a pass where the Libecciu sinks. This wind blows over the city like a bird of prey and seizes everything it finds. The breath dies very high in the sky and Bastia regains her appearance of calm.