Memories of an exile

"By the scent of its maquis, from afar, with closed eyes I would recognise Corsica."

Napoleon Bonaparte

The "Veranu" in western Corsica

All seasons are beautiful, but in spring the region is an inexhaustible garden of colours and scents. It offers "time to take your time"...

International Happiness Day is held on 20 March each year, so it will fall at the same time as the arrival of spring until 2044. A wonderful coincidence, as it is obvious to all that spring is the season to return to the happiness of enjoying!

In nature, it is an explosion of colours. The maquis is in flower and the light is exceptional. The fragrant scents come out of the maquis and it is these scents that made Napoleon say "that by the scent of its maquis, from a distance, with my eyes closed I would recognise Corsica."

The climate is almost ideal, sunny but reasonably warm for those who fear the rigours of the summer climate, spring is the perfect time to discover the region in a different way, by the sea or by hiking trails. But there are also traditions that are rooted in the mists of time and give your holiday that magical touch between mysticism and religion. 

And of course, for the little ones as well as for the older ones, Easter is still an opportunity to make a few splurges and indulge in the sweet and savoury treats of the moment.

To really know Corsica

It has its own maquis perfume! Anyone who has not seen the maquis in flower at the end of April and beginning of May cannot form an idea of Corsica. The whole island is then transformed into a colossal bouquet, all the essences of an unheard of and powerfully aromatic vegetation are starred with corollas from which rise these scents...

Dr Pascal ZUCARELLI in 1931, taking over from Albert SURIER

The maquis and its scents

An inextricable place with a thousand scents

Less high than a forest and always green, the maquis covers almost half of the territory. Dense and fragrant, bushy and thorny, it is found on abandoned soils and is mostly composed of arbutus, heather, rockrose, immortelle, myrtle, thyme, rosemary, mastic, asphodel, cyclamen, clematis, sarsaparilla, honeysuckle, bramble and holm oak. Lost in the maquis, one can find cork oaks or olive trees, memories of ancient cultures.

On the warm slopes of the coast, Mediterranean flora grows, where exotic flora (prickly pear, tamarisk, American agave, aloe, eucalyptus...) and scrubland and maquis plants (Phoenician juniper, wild olive tree, juniper, mastic tree, pine, thyme, rosemary, rockrose, lavender, oak, clematis, tree heather, myrtle, asphodel, fennel, immortelle...).

The maquis and its dreamlike landscapes 

To marvel, to feel reborn with nature, we share with you good reasons (do we really need any?) to discover West Corsica in spring, from the Easter holidays to the month of June.

  • The omnipresent maquis is adorned in a thousand shades and the vegetation seems to want to devour the road. The villages bathed in light and the mild temperatures call us to contemplation and to the terraces of the cafés.
  • It is good to walk, to breathe, to breathe... You don't need to go far, you will always find a path in the bush ready to welcome your meditative steps. Walking simply, without any concern for performance, is conducive to rejuvenation, disengages the mind and allows you to (re)find yourself.
  • If the water temperatures are still a little cool for the more chilly, you can enjoy the beaches quietly to air your body and mind and listen to the murmur of the water 
  • Tourism remains moderate in this season and the great outdoors are yours to enjoy
  • The rates are very competitive on all accommodation offers

Easter tradition

The "Merendella

This is a tradition that has been perpetuated in Corsica for centuries, and an opportunity for the family to get together for a picnic in the countryside at Easter. It is an opportunity to gather the different generations around a convivial and rural meal, composed of some typical island specialities.

On the beach, in the mountains, in the scrubland and elsewhere, celebrate Easter in all its beauty and enjoy the mild summer and spring sunshine at any time

Traditions and Religion

Holy Week

At the beginning of the Easter festival

The Easter celebrations generally begin at the beginning of Holy Week. They are characterised by religious processions through all the streets of the island of beauty. More precisely, the processions (Way of the Cross) take place on Good Friday.

 On Holy Saturday, all Corsicans prepare for the upcoming commemoration. It is also the day when priests bless the houses in the villages of the island. Holy Saturday is also the religious day when the branches used on the previous Sunday are burned during Palm Sunday.

Another important tradition: the Crucette, These are woven palm crosses that are hung all year round on a wall or on the rear view mirror of a car and thus ensure divine protection. They are sold or distributed for Palm Sunday, in addition to the olive branches

Holy Week is an important time for Christians and even more so for Corsicans who have particular traditions. There is a particular one in Western Corsica, that of the village of Cargèse

A former Greek colony, it celebrates Easter in its Catholic church of the Byzantine rite, following its own ritual, under the leadership of the Archimandrite. Songs and lamentations in the unlit church on Good Friday evening, candlelight ceremonies for the return of light on Holy Saturday, and the singing of the Greek rite at midnight are expressions of the mystical atmosphere that pervades these ceremonies. On Easter Monday, a procession takes place during which a Holy Icon of the Greek colony is exposed at the four cardinal points.

To celebrate Easter Monday you can also opt for outdoor picnics

The "Campanile" also called "Cacavellu

For Easter Sunday in the region, look forward to a day of joy and resurrection to be celebrated over a traditional Easter meal with your family.

The traditional menu usually includes lamb, cabri and, of course, a selection of sweets. For dessert, discover or enjoy the flavour of traditional cakes such as cacavelli(cacavellu is a sweet bread in the shape of a crown, into which a whole hard-boiled egg is inserted, to mark the end of Lent) or campanile, panette, etc. ..

Easter Sunday marks the end of the days of hardship and the beginning of a great day of Easter festivities in Corsica.

Origin and recipe of Cacavellu

It is said that Easter cake was used to mark the end of Lent, a period of fasting for Christians. The recipe for this cake was created using eggs that were not eaten during this period.

The tradition has continued and the eggs that are incorporated into the cacavelli are either eaten by the children or eaten at the traditional Easter Monday picnic.

You'll have to bake to enjoy it!

The preparation time is quite long, because of the resting time needed for the dough.
Gourmets will have to take it upon themselves to wait 2 to 3 hours before tasting!

500 g flour
1 sachet baker's yeast
2 whole eggs
125 g sugar
50 g lard
1 dose pastis
20 cl water

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar, then add 2 eggs, the softened lard, the pastis and the warm water mixed with the yeast.
  • Mix and knead the dough vigorously. Then let the dough rest covered with a cloth for about 2 hours in a room at room temperature away from draughts and light.
  • Before preparing our cacavellu, preheat your oven to 180°C.
  • Roll the dough into a large ball (save some for two more balls: to hold the egg).
  • Insert an egg on one side (raw with its shell) and cover it with two small puddings to form a cross on top.
  • To bake the Easter cake, put it in the oven at 180°C for about 40 minutes. You can brush it with an egg yolk to give it a nice golden colour.
  • The egg will cook quietly while the cacavellu is cooking.

And now you can enjoy it at the Merendella