By Aefa Mulholland
Separated from mainland France by the Ligurian Sea, La Corse is for those who want to take their Mediterranean island experiences back from the coasts of the continents. Like Tenerife,
Corsica offers an incredible breadth of scenery, from the Agriates desert on the north coast and down through a stern mountain spine of medieval cities and tiny hill towns to the dense forests to the south?s white sands.
It?s perfect for couples that love a lookout but don?t want to do more than dip their toes into crowded beach or bar scenes (there are really no especially gay bars on the island). After a direct flight from Paris or ferry from Nice, Marseille, Genoa, or Toulon, bed down in the ancient fortified town of Calvi (pop. 5,500). One of the island?s most decadent addresses, La Villa (from $144), offers exquisite five-star rooms, an infinity pool, and views of the 15th-century Genoese Citadel and Bay of Calvi, four miles of white sand fading into sea and sky. Part of an enticing strip of waterfront restaurant-bars, L?Île de Beauté (1 Quai Landry; +33-4-95-65-00-46) is perfect for trying local delicacy sanglier (wild boar) and watching the sunset over the bustling harbor. Calvi is also home to one of the hippest spots in the Med, celebrity magnet Chez Tao (The Citadel; +33-4-95-65-00-73), an opulent piano bar housed in a former bishops? palace, where straight and gay visitors and locals lounge over good wine and cocktails.
>BEST BEACH Two hundred beaches bask around Corsica?s 620 miles of coastline, but the remote, pine-fringed Punta Spano (25 minutes northeast of Calvi) best captures the fierce, rugged beauty of this isle. Here and elsewhere, you can?t miss the maquis, scrubby areas between the beach and the tree line, where wild rosemary, lavender, sage, and thyme grow, each step stirring up aromatic heaven.