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Beautiful, rugged and in parts fortress-like, Corsica is a suitable birthplace for an emperor.

Napoleon may have come to a sticky end but he had auspicious beginnings and it’s certainly worth visiting his birthplace in Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica. He spent his first nine years living there, in what is now the Musée National de la Maison Bonaparte (www.musee-maison bonaparte.fr) where you can see memorabilia of the great man’s life, reports BBC Travel.

Having done your duty to history, you can set about visiting this fascinating island that was on last year’s Lonely Planet’s list of ‘10 European Seaside Escapes’. Indeed the Mediterranean island has some wonderful hidden coves and beaches. The most beautiful is arguably the sweeping Plage de Palombaggia on the southeast coast or the Plage de la Folacca just to the south. The former is backed by pine trees and while lounging, you can enjoy views over the Îles Cerbicale.

But Corsica is not just about beaches. If you’re into exploring, there are impressive mountains, deep gorges and dense forests at your disposal. Or townies can stroll around the shady streets of Bonifacio, a yacht-filled port with white cliffs and a fortress (pictured) and enjoy the views from the Place de la Manichella (www.bonifacio.fr). You can also take a boat trip from the Bonifacio marina to the beautiful island of Lavezzi, part of an archipelago which is now a nature reserve.

Fly to Ajaccio from Gatwick or to Bastia from Manchester with Easy jet (www.easyjet.com), or to Figari from Gatwick with Thomson (www.thomson.co.uk). With a choice of Corsican airports to get you close to your destination, there’s no excuse not to go!

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