Maybe you’ve just bought a new property with the help of your South of France surveyor, or maybe you’re simply exploring the region on a vacation, or perhaps scoping out areas for a possible future move?

Whatever your motivation for visiting, you’ll need a few pointers on where to go and what to see. Obviously, we could write a book on all the great places to see in the South of France, so we thought we would start a little smaller and more focussed – with Corsica’s ancient hill-town, Sartène.


Located in the south-west of the Mediterranean island of Corsica, Sartène has a long and storied history. Once the domain of bandits, pirates, and gangsters, visitors to this wonderful town will thankfully find themselves greeted far more warmly these days.

Today the town is more famous for its prestigious wine production than it is for more nefarious undertakings.

The first thing which is likely to grab your attention as you enter Sartène are the tall buildings – mostly three stories – appear to be as much part of the landscape as the rocks and hillside they are constructed on. In fact, if you view the town from afar, it can sometimes be difficult to deduce where the natural landscape ends and the man-made constructions begin.

The town is built on several levels, with the oldest parts connected by a labyrinthine warren of narrow alleyways and streets, some blocked with sudden and surprising blocks of granite, which one can while away hours exploring. The 17th century part of town also offers great rewards for explorers, who will find a selection of delightful shops and the Musée de Préhistoire et d’Archéologie Corse – home to a fascinating collection of artefacts from local archaeological sites, Cauria, Funtanaccia and Paddaghju.


Place de la Liberation (Place Porta to the locals) lies at the centre of the town and offers beautiful shady trees under which to escape the midday sun and stunning views across the valley to enjoy while you do.

You can also find the old Governor’s Palace in the Place de la Liberation which is now open to tourists. The square was once home to a working guillotine as well, although that has now thankfully been removed.

On the edge of the square, you’ll find the Sainte Marie church. Featuring classic examples of ancient Corsican architecture, such as its characteristic belltower, the church is also the focal point for many of the town’s festivals, including its Easter procession.

Final Thoughts

With much of it unchanged for centuries, exploring Sartène is a great way to connect with the history of France and get a genuine feel of life in this beautiful part of the world.

If you feel inspired to start your own journey to this breathtaking region and are thinking about buying French property, your best bet is to employ the services of a professional and knowledgeable South of France surveyor.

Charles Mackintosh has over 30 years’ experience buying and selling French property.

Please get in touch today for more information.