Mediterranean Climates: Porto-Vecchio, France, and San Clemente

By Christine Lampert, Architect, AIA, NCARB

My San Clemente family now has permanent ties to Porto-Vecchio, France, a small city on the island of Corsica in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Our daughter, Michele lives there with her French husband, and their daughter. They have chosen to live on the island of Corsica and it has a lot in common with San Clemente.

In some ways, Porto-Vecchio in the Mediterranean Sea doesn’t feel so different from the city of San Clemente on the Pacific Ocean. Both places are considered Mediterranean climates. With its warm dry summers and mild winters, the Mediterranean climate is probably one of the most ideal in the world. There are only five Mediterranean climates in the entire world: the area around the Mediterranean Sea, the southern coast of California, the west coast of Australia around the city of Perth, the west coast of South Africa and northern coastal Chile.

San Clemente and the Southern California coast probably have the best Mediterranean climate of all. Comparing the summer temperatures and humidity to the other four Mediterranean locations, San Clemente’s summer is much more comfortable, with cooler temperatures and less humidity. Also, the winter is warmer in San Clemente than most other Mediterranean climates. It rains a lot less in San Clemente than other locations.

The island of Corsica looks similar to Southern California in many ways, with tall mountains which collect snow during the winter. The natural flora is called chaparral in Southern California and the name for this type of flora in France is macchie or macchia. Chaparral and macchie both describe the scrubby plants that we have in both locations. Other types of plants that are common and thriving in both Corsica and San Clemente are citrus trees, olive trees, palm trees and cactus.

It is easy to see that parts of Corsica looks look a lot like the hills of San Clemente before the town was built in the 1920s. The big difference is the architecture. Corsica has many small villages that were built hundreds of years ago mostly out of stone. However, red tile roofs are very common, just like San Clemente. Many of the newer structures in Corsica are stucco and resemble the San. Clemente style of architecture.

It is easy to understand how these two locations have a lot in common and both places are close to being paradise.


Christine Lampert of Lampert Dias Architects is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. She has lived in San Clemente for more than 45 years, and used to reside part time in Hong Kong.

Christine Lampert, Architect, AIA, NCARB


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