Being an overseas department of France, Réunion makes up the outermost part of the Eurozone. Greater privileges are granted, as well as political representation in the French mainland. This accounts for the Francophile atmosphere tourists will see in the major cities of this island country, which imbues it with a special kind of charm that invites one to stay as long as it takes to explore the whole expanse.
What to see & do
Nature enthusiasts will delight in the beautiful countryside of Réunion, especially in its western shoreline that is largely made up of fascinating sights. St-Leu, which prospered in the days of the sugar industry, is one of the places to visit. Other than the natural charm beyond its borders, this part of Réunion lets visitors view the contents of Musée du Sel and La Caverne. It is set on the cliffs at St Pointe au Sei, between St-Leu and Etang-Sale-les Bains. It is housed in an old salt warehouse, which lets tourists view the local salt-harvesting history of the area. From here, tourists can move on to the Notre-Dame de la Salette, a white chapel built as a plea for protection against the cholera epidemic. It is a popular pilgrimage site for the locals who usually visit around September.
Those going around St-Leu will find the Conservatoire Botanique National de Mascarin on the route des Colimacons. This attractive garden on the slopes north of St-Leu was built on the grounds of a 19th-century Creole mansion, which contains a collection of native plant species. Tourists out to see more sights can also visit the Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, a church built using lava stones in 1875. Kelonia, located two miles north of St-Leu, is also a major marine research centre dedicated to sea turtles. Exhibits and interactive displays, as well as big tanks, can be found here, which feature Chelonia mydas, a green turtle.
The Cirques, which make up the jaw-dropping mountainous beauty of Réunion, will find it a pleasing destination. Adventurous hikers will find a simple, yet exciting environment with gorges, ranges, and valleys. Cirque de Cilaos is one of the greatest ranges here, with fascinating volcanic peaks which nurture the hot springs in Cilaos. Although mainly catering to rich colonials, hikers can go here for a relaxing bath after the hike. On the other hand, those out to see the view with only a minimal of the arduous walking required can check out La Roche Merveilleuse, where one can get a bird's eye view of Cilaos. One can bring a picnic here to enjoy the scenery.
How to get around
Those going around can take the bus, which connects the major towns in the country, as well as villages around the area. Most routes run between early in the morning to early in the night, with the routes concentrating on St-Benoit, St-Joseph, Ste-Rose, St-Leu, and St-Paul. There are also routes heading between St-Andre, Salazie, Hallbourg, Grand Ilet, and other areas. Tourists who prefer to drive on their own can consider renting a car, while those who want to traverse the mountains can look for places to hire a bicycle.
How to get there
Travellers going to visit Réunion can book connecting flights to Roland Garros Airport. Airlines serving here include Air Austral, Air France, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Corsair International, and XL Airways France. They mainly connect passengers from Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Athens, Bangkok, Chennai, Dzaoudzi, Johannesburg, Mahé, Marseille, Mauritius, Moroni, Nosy-Be, Paris, Sainte-Marie, and Saint-Pierre de la Réunion.