It is Etienne Regnault in 1668 who becomes Bourbon’s new governor and settles near a small river that he quickly names after his vessel: Saint-Denis. An agglomeration slowly grows around this small settlement. In 1738 governor Mahé de la Bourbonnais decides to establish a port there and make this settlement Bourbon’s capital, instead of Saint-Paul. Today Saint-Denis is still the island’s prefecture with the Regional Council located in the city. Just like any other French town, Saint-Denis boasts wonderful cafés, restaurants, a cathedral, parks and many more. Enjoy it all during your luxury charter vacation with Sunreef Yachts Charter.
Creole houses, colonial buildings, plush green gardens, a Tamil temple and a mosque all create the town’s particular charm. This bustling town during the day becomes deserted at twilight when you will return aboard your luxury charter mega yacht.
The waterfront Barachois promenade is located on the Place Sarda-Garriga. With ancient canons facing the open sea and the statue of Roland Garros, a celebrated French pilot originating from Saint-Denis, the promenade is a true walk through history. The historic city center is another serving of the past witness of which is the statue of Mahé le Bourbonnais, the island’s former governor, standing in front of the prefecture building, once a store of the French East India Company. Nearby stands the local mosque with its statuesque minaret towering over the city. On Juliette-Dodu and Paris Streets is where are situated quaint Creole houses with their exuberant fragrant houses.
Stroll down the Sainte-Anne Street to visit the town’s two Chinese pagodas and later down Général-Leclerc Street to reach the beautiful Tamil temple. At the end of your tour, take a walk down to the town’s small and grand markets, the former for its unique ambiance and fragrances and the latter for its basketry and local artwork.
Step down from your luxury charter yacht to spend the afternoon in the Léon-Dierx Museum. Located in an ancient bishop’s palace, the island’s first museum was founded by two intellectuals, Marius and Ary Leblond. The site celebrates Léon Dierx (1838-1912), a famous French poet originating from Réunion. This contemporary art museum is a unique exhibition of paintings, sculptures and engravings dating from the second half of the 19th century collected by Ambroise Vollard, one of the most important dealers of contemporary art. Rouault’s etchings along with the works of Bonnard, Gauguin, Berthe Morisot and Vlamnick are all to be admired by all art enthusiasts. All of this to prove that your luxury charter vacation in Réunion will be filled with exceptional discoveries.
State Garden and Natural History Museum
Perhaps you should take your time to discover the State Garden. In 1817 during the time of the French East India Company it was the King’s Garden. More than 5 hectares of land is home to rare species of plants: ficus, almond trees, baobab as well as palm trees. Each year, the Indian Ocean Flower Show is takes place in lush gardens.
The Museum of Natural History never ceases to surprise its visitors with an astounding vast collection of fish and birds characteristic to the Indian Ocean, especially coelacanths, fish believed to be extinct but to this day living in the waters surrounding the Comoros and Madagascar. Also noteworthy are the reproduction of the dodo bird as well as the Bourbon hoopoe and the many picturesque rocks and minerals.
Surrounded by mountains from three sides, Saint-Denis was until 1963-date of the construction of a waterfront road- solely accessible by a twisting mountain road. The city’s northern part is where one can access the Providence botanical pathway ideal for tranquil hikes with family or friends. Le Brûle is a perfect departure point to Cascade Maniquet and La Roche-Ecrite with an altitude of 2 277 meters above sea level, some four hours of walking. The views overlooking the calderas, les trios cirques, and island’s volcanoes will long keep you in awe.