Feel Bastia with our top 5 sensory experiences…

See France’s only Rococo oratory (miniature chapel), the Oratoire de la Confrérie de la Sainte Croix

Hear the shouts of fishermen and the ring of church bells echoing around the port

Smell scents at the Cyrnarom perfume museum, which also has a boutique

Taste the Corsican clementine, a cross between an orange and a mandarin grown on the island’s eastern plain less than 15km from the sea

Touch trinkets and bric-a-brac at the flea market on Place Saint-Nicolas.

Despite its industrial appearance, Bastia is a ville d’art et d’histoire nestled at the foot of Cap Corse on Corsica’s east coast, and boasts some architectural gems as well as a particularly attractive old marina. Wandering the alleyways of the old quarter you’ll discover flamboyant Baroque heritage such as the churches of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Mary, and the Oratoire de la Confrérie de la Sainte Croix, France’s only Rococo oratory. On a Saturday or Sunday morning you’ll stumble come upon market stalls laden with local produce beneath the bell tower – and from here you can admire the shimmering reflection of the citadel on the calm waters of the port as it resounds with the shouts of fishermen and the ring of church bells.

Wander through the Romieu garden for a moment of peace and quiet and visit the Palais des Gouverneurs, home to the fascinating Musée de la Ville. The flea market on Place Saint-Nicolas is the perfect place to unearth a rare trinket or two. Worth exploring on Bastia’s outskirts, meanwhile, are the quaint villages of Furiani, Ville de Pietrabugno, San Martino di Lota and Santa Maria di Lota, where delightful floral paths lead to mossy springs and rural chapels. Fancy a wine tasting? The vineyards of Patrimonio are just a short drive out of town.