What should you expect?
Seaside picnics, a recording studio, windy backstreets, hidden poker rooms and a healthy dose of Corsican pride.
The Big Picture
A striking independent island culture in the middle of the Mediterranean, Corsica is so full of geographical diversity and cultural richness that it’s a veritable miniature continent.
From the largest mountains on a mediterranean island, to some of the best beaches in the sea – you’ll also discover that for coworking in Corsica it’s an entrepreneur’s paradise. Because, for the digital economy, it’s still uncharted territory.
There’s not a huge community of tech-minded independent workers on this island of 300,000 – in fact, there almost nothing. No infrastructure, no large universities, no “Silicon Valley” in sight.
But, what you will find is one space that’s breaking the frontier for all the rest, that’s creating a haven for coworkers to match the island’s haven for wandering travellers – and that space is Bastia Coworking.
What You’ll Learn from the Space
Are you familiar with Corsica’s long history? Chances are you’ll learn some of it by the time you finish working at the space. Coworking, like many things in Corsica, is done with a strong sense of pride and self-determination that sets apart the small island from many other places in Europe.
We’re proud corsicans, not to be called French, open to the world
Ever since the 11th century, the island was ruled by foreign invaders. At first from Pisa, then Genoa, then much later (its current dominion) – France.
Bastia Coworking, founded in December 2012 by Francescu Santoni and Lionel Dumas Perini, was intended to be a space that would be a distinctly Corisican home-base for entrepreneurs on the island. Embodying and extending this Corsican history and the island’s strong spirit.
You’re gonna have some very interesting conversations with Lionel and others about the island and its current situation, giving you a unique perspective on your own home, wherever that might be!
Where You’ll Find the Space
Bastia is an ancient city on the island, fortified by the Genoese and briefly conquered by the British – it’s always been at the crossroads of Europe. Nowadays, it’s a small and quaint city with a strong Mediterranean culture. You’ll find many traditional cafés everywhere in the city, and local fishermen conducting business in the port.
Bastia Coworking is right by the old port of Bastia, in the historical heart of the city. It’s situated on a quiet old street, near many nearby restaurants and bars on the water. And almost all year round (even – because it’s Corsica – starting in February) you’ll find locals eating outside wearing just a t-shirt and shorts!
Tip! To get to the island can be a bit tricky, at least it has recently. The good news is that EasyJet has actually started flying to Bastia, which lowers the roundtrip cost of 150-250€ from Western Europe to less than 100€ on a good day! Take a look here
Where You’ll Be Working
The initial Bastia Coworking was founded in December 2012, in another location near the city centre. But, since January 2015 they’ve found and installed themselves in a beautiful new space for fourteen coworkers. It’s actually one of the oldest buildings still standing in Bastia.
Before it was part of a fort, then a bar with hidden poker rooms, then a local wine bar. Now, it’s heritage continues as an old-school future-forward coworking space. With a big shared table, comfy couches, desks made from old barrels and a modern bar (fully stocked, no doubt) – it’s a well-rounded space for laptop coworkers.
There’s one surprise here, though: they’ve got a new recording studio (and even a photo studio!) With an isolation booth and good basic audio equipment, it’s good for doing some commercial stuff or advertisements, or electronic music for films. (They’re also working with some local bands, too!).
Like many other spaces, who began coworking and “learned later that it was called coworking” – Bastia follows suit, and continues to accommodate demands of its coworkers with new facilities: like the need of a music studio (or an awesome bar…)!
Where You’ll Be Living
This might very well be the one big issue with coworking in Bastia – there are no hostels and no cool hotels. From the managers’ recommendations, you should check out AirBnB for the best options.
If you take a look, you’ll actually find that there’s a nice selection of funky rooms with great views for less than 60€ per night. Check out this one with an amazing sea view, or this room in a charming little villa with a nice garden. Here’s a small and extremely affordable apartment right on the water – there’s a good selection of affordable spaces, just check them thoroughly.
If you’re travelling in a group, check out this cool old four bedroom just two minutes by foot to the old port!
The Events You Will Go To
Bastia Coworking is a small community of around 12 members, and as such many of their events have been mostly internal and spontaneous. After acquiring their new space, however, they intend to partner with other tech and entrepreneurial organisations in Bastia to mobilise events for the city.
Given its nature as a small place, everyone kind of knows everyone – and now Lionel has plans to put things in place for many events. He’s currently working with a digital / cultural festival, Bastia Ville Digitale, and with others to put on some entrepreneurship workshops.
There’s many freelancers in Bastia, more than startups or small companies, and they intend to begin organising this community through their events in this coming year. Stay tuned for some interesting developments!
What You Will Eat
The best destination for culinary delights near Bastia Coworking is the Piazza di u Mercà. Here you’ll find a great assortment of restaurants and local cafés. There you’ll find the magnificent Grazie Mille, perfect for fixing your Italian food cravings without breaking the bank. The chefs cook up tasty variations of Northern Italian pasta and meat dishes, with a provincial flair.
Just down the street, you’ll find the small and romantic Lavezzi. With more salads, pastas and delicious risottos, take advantage here to get a seat on their porch overlooking the old port. It’s perfect for a late summer sunset dinner.
Finally, if you’re curious about true Corsican food, you’ve gotta stop in at U San Ghjuvà. A bit pricier than other choices around, it’s definitely worth it if you want to discover the beef and meat dishes native to this small island, as well as their notoriously huge desserts. It comes as a personal recommendation from the guys at Bastia, so definitely check it out if you can!
If you want to follow the guys and girls from Bastia Coworking into the island’s after-hours, you’ll definitely be following them (on many nights) to watch and support SC Bastia – the local (and pretty famous on an international level) football team. They’re all pretty involved in supporting them, so you’ll get a nice local sport experience when you visit (if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll visit their stadium, Stade Armand Cesari)!
Otherwise keep around Piazza di u Mercà, and just wander into an old bar with good music. In particular, check out Le Minotaure for some great wine and fresh Corsican dried and smoked meats. After a few glasses in this cozy brick-roofed cave, you’ll be right in the thick of true Bastian culture.
And if you’re looking for some good local music with a youthful crowd, then head back to the Flying Circus just behind the old port. It’s a cool and quirky bar with regular pub quizzes and great burgers.
For an outdoors after-hours (which is only natural when in Corsica), just take a walk through the windy small streets of Terra Vecchia in old Bastia, near where you’ll find the coworking space (but we’d recommend just to get lost and see where you end up!) Otherwise, head down to the pier with a bottle of Corsican wine and some cheese, and relax in the sunshine which this beautiful island provides!
The Practical Stuff
The Copass Crew
Latest posts by Michael Melia (see all)
- Why I Copass: Making a Hip Hop Album + NYC Workdays - 28/07/2015
- Cowork on a Catamaran sailing the world with Cobat - 24/07/2015
- Cowork in a Bright Yellow Van in France - 13/07/2015