A relaxing stopover in an exceptional site
Between the sea and the scrub, the Giargalo gîte provides a relaxing stopover and a change of scenery in a charming place that is open all year round. The owner, Solange Roche, is an offspring of the Woodstock generation who has chosen to settle down in Corsica to grow her vegetable garden and live a healthy life in harmony with nature. She could not find a better place than Piana! After launching a takeaway crepes business – the first of its kind in the region – she opened a bakery and a restaurant. Solange Roche ended up being accepted by the village inhabitants as one of them. This hardworking and enthusiastic woman has also managed to buy a family house and a plot of land stretching over nearly one hectare, where she finally created her vegetable garden, between the fragrant scrub and the oak undergrowth. Solange patiently and courageously restored and extended the facilities, which now are a charming rest house with rustic comfort and a warm atmosphere.
Five personalised bed-and-breakfast rooms are available, each one of them bearing the name of a flower of Corsica. The rooms are equipped with private bathroom.
A model of sustainable development
Besides its idyllic location 300 away from Piana and perched on the heights of the Calanques, the table d’hôte of Solange Roche is really worth the visit, namely for its scrumptious breakfasts. On the terrace at sunrise and facing the sea, you get to sample her delicious jams concocted out of fresh fruits from the garden (figs, strawberries, tomatoes, melons, oranges, lemons, plums…), her fig and nut bread and homemade golden brioches. An experience that you never get tired of! The cook also offers a menu that showcases Corsican specialties such as ‘brochiu’ ravioli or chard ‘bastelle’ (stuffed bread). This table d’hôte only offers organic food and drinks, from veal to lamb and rosé wine produced by organic vineyards on Ile Rousse, as well as myrtle liquor or homemade kefir (fermented milk).
Food that has taste and respect nature
When she is not busy cooking or cultivating her vegetable garden, Solange Roche enjoys having a chat with her clients and explaining her approach of sustainable development. She realised one day that the food that she was buying didn’t have any taste, particularly the apples, which didn’t taste like the ones she used to eat as a child. Since then, the owner of the gîte endeavours in offering a variety of organic dishes prepared using fruits, vegetables and herbs from her garden, all the while promoting local produce. She goes out to get some shopping in the village and once a week, she goes to the Roulotte, the only organic shop on the island, situated in Ajaccio. “I do the best I can with the means at hand to contribute to the cause and to respect nature,” says Solange Roche, who already has plans for the extension of her house. The construction works will be undertaken in a sustainable manner. The gîte is a real favourite among travellers with ecological sensibilities and it is advised to book long before the beginning of the season.
The Ficaghjola and Arone beaches below are a few minutes away by car to enjoy lounging on the beach or to have a swim. Multiple trails departing from the village are available for trekking buffs to enjoy a walk along the spectacular Calanques or head into the scrub filled with innumerable fragrances of the wild. Diving, rock climbing, mountain biking and horse riding are other activities available in the surroundings of the gîte.