The lucky charm of Balagne’s beaches

If there is one activity I love doing most on the beach, it’s walking at the water’s edge and scanning the sand to try and spot this little, discreet wonder.

Hidden amongst the pebbles, you must be patient and pay close attention to see its perfect colours appear. One side is curved and showcases a range of pinkish red tones, and the other side is flat with the pink-red colour, spiralling round. This stunning shell is a real treat for the eyes and is a delight to touch with its silky smooth texture.

Also, everyone has their own technique for happening upon such a treasure. Personally, I prefer turning my back to the sea and running my hands through the sand, slowly, to gently move the smaller pebbles that are hiding this precious treasure. Where did I find most? On L’Ile-Rousse and Bodri! However, some shell-seekers I happened to meet assured me that Arinella beach in Lumio and Galeria beach also were full of these hidden treasures. However, you should know this small eye-shaped shell loves to curl up on all of Corsica’s and Balagne’s beaches.

If you haven’t managed to find a single one, don’t dismay. Head to the shops in L’Ile-Rousse, Calvi or Algajola, and there you will find these famous shells mounted on jewellery: bracelets, necklaces, rings or even earrings.

The history of Saint Lucie

Lucie was a young woman of noble origins. One version of history states that after praying at the tomb of Saint Agatha and before being subject to the trials and tribulations of being burnt at the stake, the young Lucie gouged out her eyes to give them to her fiancé.

Her fiancé’s behaviour led her to carry out such a heinous act. He kept pressurising her to get married, whereas she wanted to devote her life to the poor. As a result, Lucie asked her fiancé what made him so drawn to her, to which he replied “your eyes”. Without further ado, Lucie gouged out her eyes using a small knife, before placing them on a dish and feeling her way to hand them over to her fiancé.

Seeing such a selfless act in the name of faith, the Virgin Mary gave Lucie her sight back with eyes that were even more beautiful than before…