Spot monuments of national heroes, sample Corsican cuisine at an outdoor café terrace and browse the stalls of flea markets at this lively public square.
Picturesque Place St-Nicolas is Bastia’s central public square and a popular spot for social gatherings. Find historic statues and monuments, shop at local markets, enjoy cultural events and dine at open-air café terraces. Developed in the mid-1800s, Place St.-Nicolas takes its name from the Chapel of St. Nicolas, which once stood on the site.
Go to the center of this tree-lined square to see a 19th-century statue of former French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte. See if anyone is performing at the bandstand and look for a monument to the soldiers who fought during World War I. Sit on a bench and observe as a varied mix of people go about their business. Kids ride bikes and play games. Locals walk their dogs, pausing to chat with friends while courting couples stroll by.
Surrounding the square is an assorted collection of bars, cafés and restaurants, most with open-air seating areas. Sip on a coffee or a glass of locally produced wine and sample traditional Corsican food, such as sanglier (wild boar). Most places are open during the day and in the evening, when streetlights elegantly illuminate the square.
Visit Place St.-Nicolas on a Sunday when it becomes the location of a flea market. Browse for Corsican handicrafts, one-of-a-kind items, antiques, stamps and old postcards. Throughout the year the square hosts music and cultural events. Information about these events is available at the tourism office located at the north end of the square.
Just a short walk from Place St.-Nicolas are some of Bastia’s most popular commercial streets. Find bakeries, ice cream parlors, independent boutiques and well-known brands on Boulevard Paoli. Discover more shops, bars and centuries-old churches on Rue Napoleon. The street connects the square with the zigzagging lanes of Bastia’s Vieux Port (Old Port) and Terra Nova (Citadel) districts.
Located behind the Port of Bastia, Place St.-Nicolas is easily accessible from all parts of the city. It’s less than a 10-minute walk from Bastia’s main train station and major attractions such as Place du Marché. Parking is available, for a fee, in the lots underneath the square. Public buses also stop at the square.