Ile-Rousse is an old fishing village: it enchants with its orange islets of red porphyry contrasting with the turquoise-blue water bay.
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Between the sea and the Mediterranean maquis, Ile-Rousse (or Red Island) enjoys an exceptional geographic position in north-west Corsica. This ancient fishing village owes its name to the colour of the granite that makes up Ile de la Pietra, a small island connected to the town by a causeway, one of the most romantic spots for a sunset stroll.

L’Ile-Rousse is famous for its enchanting beach right in the heart of the city, for its gentle and peaceful atmosphere, for its shady little squares and promenade.

No one can remain indifferent to its incredible bay, topped by orange islets in red porphyry, surrounded by magnificent landscapes tinged with turquoise blue and shimmering green.

Things to do in Ile-Rousse

Ile Rousse has the charm that enchants all types of tourists: sun worshippers will appreciate the warmest microclimate in Corsica, those who want to experience the town will linger in the small village squares lined with cafés with a pastis in hand or wander the cobbled streets of the old town, full of places to eat, drink and buy local products.

But Ile Rousse is also the chicest place in Corsica. Elton Jonh, Jean Paul Gaultier or Jean Paul Belmondo own splendid summer residences here. This is why the town has become the Saint-Tropez of Corsica, famous and frequented especially during the summer months.

Old town

It is a real pleasure to stroll through the narrow streets of the town, discovering its architecture, the Scalo tower and church, the picturesque alleys lined with Florentine houses, all leading to the central Piazza Paoli.

Wandering around the city, you can admire a number of ancient palaces and splendid summer residences of celebrities, with impressive dimensions and lush gardens. Right in the centre is also one of the most luxurious hotels, the Hotel Liberata, but the room prices are definitely exorbitant.

In the evenings, bars and restaurants come alive and tourists mingle with city dwellers: between a taste of typical dishes, a glass of wine and a game of boules, Ile Rousse is the ideal place for a relaxing stay.

Covered Market

120220 Isola Rossa, Francia

Every day of the week, regional producers welcome travellers to the city’s covered market. The building is truly original, resembling an ancient Greek temple: composed of 21 immaculate white columns, it has been a recognised historical monument since 1993.

Inside, the various exhibitors share the authenticity and genuineness of Corsican products: goat cheeses accompany artisanal cold cuts, a riot of honey and jams colours the stalls packed with gastronomic specialities.

The Marinella seafront promenade

2Prom. de la Marinella, 20220 L'Île-Rousse, Francia

The Marinella seafront promenade stretches along the coastline and skirts the town, allowing you to admire the beaches that lap Ile-Rousse.

Don’t miss the bronze Mermaid statue created in 2016 by Gabriel Diana. She watches the horizon and fishermen from her granite promontory, like her counterpart in Copenhagen.

Along the promenade you can also see the Scalo Tower, on the town hall square: it is an old Genoese tower, built in the mid-16th century and well restored in 2012. In front of this fortification, across the street, is the war memorial. The work of Antoniucci Voltigero known as ‘Volti’, it is located opposite the town hall of L’Ile-Rousse, on a large square by the sea frequented by boules players.

The Island of Stone

3Isola della Pietra, 20220 Isola Rossa, Francia

The Island of Stone is the symbol of Ile-Rousse: in fact, its reddish rocks gave the town its name. The island can be reached in 15 minutes on foot from the centre, thanks to a dam. The closer you get, the more you can make out the islets surrounding the island of Pietra known as Roccio, Roccetto and Piano.

We advise you to visit the Pietra peninsula without hurrying: climb up to the Genoese watchtower above the harbour and then follow the path to the 13-metre-high Pietra lighthouse. Built in 1857, the lighthouse can be visited and from the top you will have a splendid view of the clear waters of the bay. Once at the top, you have a view of the entire peninsula and Ile Rousse.

The best time for this walk is undoubtedly sunset, when the evening light illuminates the reddish colours of the stones that contrast perfectly with the turquoise water of the Mediterranean.

Place Pascal Paoli

4Pl. Pascal Paoli, 20220 L'Île-Rousse, Francia

All the streets of the city centre lead to a giant square, Piazza Paoli, full of atmosphere and charm: it is the centre of the city where many bars and restaurants are concentrated, with extraordinary terraces in which to relax.

But the most striking aspect is revealed at sunset, when many city dwellers gather here to play their favourite sport, bocce. Without being intrusive, you can witness scenes of everyday life: people play and chat, creating a fantastic, intimate and familiar atmosphere. If you go out of season, the atmosphere will be even more authentic, enhanced by the lack of tourists.

In the centre of the square is a bust of the town’s founder, Pascal Paoli, who sits proudly in the shade of giant palm trees.

Best beaches in Isola Rossa

Plage de Isola Rossa

511 Campore, 20220 L'Île-Rousse, Francia

This is a fine sandy beach near the centre of the town. Holidaymakers and residents alike relax in front of these shades of blue, a stone’s throw from the houses.

With your feet in the water, admire the jagged coastline of the island of Pietra on the horizon. The promenade lives to the rhythm of the many bars and restaurants that enliven the promenade.

Plage de Bodri

Nestled between fine sand and green hills is the beautiful beach of Bodri. To reach it, you must first leave your car at the pay car park and then follow a short coastal path.

After a ten-minute walk, paradise will magically reveal itself to your eyes: a beach with crystal-clear water awaits you, surrounded by an enchanting landscape.


In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Where to stay in Ile-Rousse

Ile Rousse is a city on a human scale, which adapts to the desires of all holidaymakers. The town offers cheaper prices than neighbouring Calvi. You can choose from luxury hotels or cosy B&Bs, with a wide range of options.

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Where is located L’Île-Rousse

It is located in the Haute Corse department, just 24 km from Calvi.

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