28. In response to the the incredible popularity of the island with tourists, the French have given Corsica a rather pretty nickname. What is it?
From Quiz Corsica: Un Paradoxe Français - La Géographie
Answer: "L'île de Beauté" - The Island of Beauty
The island of Corsica has also been known as "the scented isle", or "l'île parfumée" in French. With a static population of around 261,000 residents, Corsica sees around 2,000,000 tourists per year, and the vast majority of these are French. The rather unspoilt appearance of Corsica has also led to the nickname "jewel of the Ligurian Sea" being used. With its 650-mile (1,000km) littoral, Corsica also boasts around 20% of France's coastline.
The various pet names given to the island by France are a clear indication of the ecological state of the island. The lush, dense forests of acacia, holly oak, and chestnut trees along with vast floral fields filled support many rare faunae that can only be found on Corsica. The nickname of "the scented isle" comes from a certain type of thick undergrowth unique to Corsica. This thick undergrowth is known as "maquis", and is made up of a variety of sweet smelling plants, which include lavender, myrtle, and heather. It is, in its way, the Corsican equivalent of the South African "feinbos". The maquis is famous for something a little more salacious than the heady scents, though.
In Corsica, to escape government persecution, one didn't head for the hills. One headed for the maquis. Here, fugitives could happily bed down with very limited intervention from other fugitives, and there was little threat of being found and captured!