Saturday, September 23, 2023
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Place Paoli in Corte: everything has changed, except the essentials

Time nibbles things and people. How have the neighborhoods of Corte ? This Sunday, the central square. The sets have changed. The spirit remains.

Philippe lived there, in the English hospital, place Paoli. Third floor, right door. The rest of the Penciolelli family too. On the ground floor, there was even a butcher’s shop in their name. Having belonged to the grandfather, then to the father, then to the son… then that’s it. Philippe is the last to have served pieces of meat behind the dilapidated walls which threatened to fall.

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Besides, they fell. In 1976, according to the son.

Shaved, for the safety of the Cortenais. There remains a large empty square that has become a parking lot, and the memories. Heaps and heaps, recited at the Cyrnea bar over a short coffee.

From the military hospital to the parking lot

Memories of the structure phenomenal “, an architecture ” all in marble » arranged in such a way that there are hiding places. ” Recesses, places from which the light, although on, was not visible from the outsidesays the child camouflaged behind the hoarse voice of Philippe Penciolelli. Pieces that passers-by could not have suspected the existence. »

Memories of the state of mind sharing », of remarkable mutual aid between neighbours. ” The military hospital communicated with the houses next door. When there was the slightest worry, that my mother had to drop everything to take care of her seven children, the neighbors came back. They came to hold the shop, clean the floor, close the premises. If they had to cook, they cooked. Without even asking. »

Memories, finally, of the alley leading down to the roundabout. Today rue de Monseigneur-Sauveur-Casanova, bishop of Ajaccio born in Corte. Yesterday, rue Scoliccia, a must for locals. Nicknamed for its river pebbles that made many people skate. ” They acted as weather forecasters. When their surface was wet, that meant it was going to be sunny. When everything was dry… Not good! »

The kids were cutting games in the stone ramp. No designated name, but rules and a strategy that mark: “ The pebbles had to be aligned in vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. »

The old face of Place Paoli still lives on in the memory of the 73-year-old butcher. He unmistakably points out the erased signs and the names that made them. Vincent repaired televisions, Toussaint Tomasi ran a photography shop, César Renucci sold his shoes alongside those of Belinotti.

People came from L’Île-Rousse and Calvi to shout out the freshness of their fish in the streets. The Leonelli family sold the products of their farm directly.

The town hall, of which we can still guess a few letters of the republican motto, welcomed General de Gaulle when the city was liberated in November 1943. The sepia pictures reveal a space full to bursting. Some 300 berets and other headgear came to cheer on the soldier.

In 1961, the population again mobilized to greet the president. “It was the soul of the village. We passed there on foot, by car, by bicycle and on horseback. The road cut the space in two. Vehicles parked anyhow, anywhere. Everything was nearby. The square gave us what we needed, without having to travel far. They even celebrated Saint John’s Day there by lighting a big fire. »

“A place for restaurants”

Like the surrounding neighborhoods, everything – or almost – has changed. The finding seems familiar to this topic.

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The Town Hall has been moved (twice). Businesses have closed, sometimes been taken over. Pascal Paoli got rid of the barriers surrounding his pedestal.

In 2015, even the paving stones, bothered by tree roots, had a makeover, allowing the terraces to gain a couple of meters. Philippe Penciolelli sighs: “ It has become a place for restaurants. Before, there were only two: A Scudella (which still belongs to Hervé Divry, editor’s note) and the Plat d’or, now the local restaurant. The other day I counted seven “.

That in fact, menus listed on slates, of course. The butcher would be wrong to limit himself to a simple count of storefronts. The establishments, shiny as worn by the years, deserve that we scratch a little in search of stories, anecdotes, figures.

And there are. Heaps, like memories.

The Chez Angèle sandwich shop is guarded by Poupy, a bichon who should soon blow out his ten candles. At the helm? Angèle Rinieri-Delleaux – unsurprisingly – and the youngest of her daughters, Christina. Two articles, taped to the top of the box, recount the sporting exploits of the young woman. Fifteen years of football in the thighs, several regional victories on the clock.

Another pillar of the place: Manu Simonini, hidden in his off-center wine cellar. He has been seeing her since he knows how to align one foot in front of the other. It belonged to the grandfather. Bequeathed to the father, then to the son. The cobwebs are so old that they support clouds of dust. Above all, do not remove – they give character. That, and the barrels turned into tables. ” I carried them well, thunders their owner in a powerful voice. I took them when I went to get wine in the vineyards. » The barrels no longer travel; the clientele of the cellar, yes. It comes from all corners. (Re)known actors, multilingual tourists. ” At the time, it was even more glaring. People had an interest in central Corsica. They passed by Corte, met here, partied until morning, laughed till their stomachs twisted. Now they are drawn to the beaches. »

“They are great workers”

Special mention to Romane Pola-Castelli.

You’ve already met her: she wears sneakers, pants with holes, a tray and a smile from ear to ear. It is she who, since last October, has been bouncing non-stop against the tables of the Café de la Place. She is also the one who, without noticing, sends orders from the bar to the thirsty. Only. ” My partner, Stéphane El Jallal, suffered a double fracture of the tibia, she explains between two round trips. I haven’t been able to find a replacement. So, I continue. It’s my twelfth day. I don’t have the right to get sick or hurt myself. Otherwise, I close. This is not the moment ! »

Philippe Penciolelli said of the neighborhood that there was, in his youth, a spirit of mutual aid. He would be happy to learn that this desire to help has not evaporated. ” I’m lucky to have support. Restaurant owners come by regularly to ask me if I need anything. They are great workers. And me, I’m the little one from here. It looks like I’m alone, but it’s not. »

If everyone recognizes a lack of greenery since the felling of trees, all make a common observation: ” There is a good agreement. We feel good there. »



  1. Next time I read a blog, I hope that it wont disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually believed you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

  2. Next time I read a blog, I hope that it wont disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually believed you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.


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