More paradise awaits us in the final stop of our trip.
After 3 days in Mauritius, the 4 of us leftover boarded Air Mauritius flight MK 238 at 3:30pm, landing 45 minutes later at 4:15pm in Réunion Airport.
I’ve been hitting it out of the park with these airport pickup names:
After being picked up by our arranged taxi for 31 euros, we checked in at probably our favorite digs of the trip with Villa Angelique:
First discovered by the Portuguese before it was handed off to the French, and previously known as île Bourbon, this enchanting destination is more known for its sweeping mountain paths and formidable landscapes than it is for sandy beaches.
Within the capital of Saint Denis, take a walk around for buildings and monuments mixed with French, Chinese, Indian and African Architecture.
The State Garden may be worth a visit to begin your walk around the city, featuring a fountain pool flanked by Palm trees.
Then heading up north and starting from Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption de Saint-Denis . . .
. . . you can pass by the following sites mostly along Rue de Paris:
49 Rue de Paris: An example of colonial architecture in the créole vernacular style.
musée Léon-Dierx, featuring 19th-century paintings & historic art:
L’Artothèque, a modern art gallery:
Chapelle de l’Immaculée Conception:
18 Rue de Paris, another colonial-style villa with an outstanding portico that was built from 1973 to 1804 for Baptiste Lestrac, the first mayor of Saint-Denis. Now it has become the Ministry of Culture:
Hôtel de Ville de Saint-Denis, the old City Hall and Mayoral Residence (my DSLR briefly malfunctioned due to a speck of sand lodged in somewhere, so I resorted to the iPhone):
Cathedral Of Saint Denis Reunion:
Palais Rontaunay, a prestigious villa built in the early 19th century in the créole vernacular style. Julien Rontaunay Gaultier lived here, before it was renovated to become the location of the government and Consul General of the island.
Préfecture de La Réunion, which originated as the warehouses of the French East India Company, and is the both one of the first large public buildings and oldest extant structure on Réunion Island:
Le Barachois is the waterfront promenade with its distinctive cannons facing the sea.
Off from Rue de Paris and a stroll down a pleasant pedestrian mall, there’s also the Great Mosque which you can freely enter:
Our Lady of Deliverance Church, across a small river to the west:
and the Taoist Temple Chane et Temple Lisi Tong:
We winded down our first night together with excellent Shabu Shabu at the appropriately named Shabú:
And then kicked back at our villa outside with rosé all day:
Next day lunch was particularly pleasant, right before we had to say goodbye to Sarah:
And for our third and last lazy day of the trip, we booked a last minute helicopter tour of Réunion for approximately 280 euros per person with Helilagon, who was gracious enough to arrange a tour for us at 10am.
Even though everything seemed booked up online, a simple phone call, finger crossing, and 20 minutes did the trick.
On our 45 minute tour from the Gillot airport by Saint Denis we saw —
Saint Denis itself:
Plain of Sands and its moon-shaped scenery:
The Furnace Peak volcano, one of the most active in the world:
Mafate and its remote islets of human civilization:
Salazie and its luxuriant flora:
Cilaos and its incredibly steep ramparts:
Belouve / Bebour and its primary forest:
And last but not least, the impressive waterfall in the Iron Hole where a beautiful rainbow waited for us:
Ugh, what a way to end a trip.
Looking forward to my return home: the longest domestic flight in the world — Réunion to Paris!
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- At time of posting in Réunion , it was 21 °C - Humidity: 73% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy