Reunion Island's capital, Saint Denis, is rich with European flair. This seaside city is like a tiny version of Paris, complete with boutiques and artisanal Gelaterias. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have the island's Creole flair! Here are 5 things you can do in Saint Denis when you visit Reunion Island.
1. Visit the Grand Marche
The Grand Marche, or Grand Market, is where you'll find the best souvenirs on the island! From baskets and fridge magnets to beach wear and statues - you'll find a huge variety of items from around the Indian Ocean islands. It's easy to get carried away with the many souvenirs on offer, so stopping for a snack at one of the market's food stalls will ensure you don't shop till you drop. Located very centrally, so exploring on foot from the market is easy, with public parking right next door.
2. Enjoy lunch in the square
The town square, located behind the cathedral, is the perfect place to enjoy lunch and a couple of Dodo beers in the sunshine. You'll find a mix of locals and tourists at the bars and restaurants spilling out into the square, offering everything from burgers to fine dining. The cathedral itself is interesting to visit, having been completed in 1832.
3. Walk along Rue de Paris
This street runs through just about the entire centre of Saint Denis, from north to south. It's the perfect route to stroll to get a picture of the island's culture and architecture. The noteworthy mansions and buildings have informational plaques, but there's also the option to join a tour. Ask for more informtaion at the Tourism Office at 14 Rue de Paris.
4. Visit Jardin de l'État
The garden is a beautiful oasis in the middle of town. One of the most interesting things about the garden is that the plants you'll see inside are all species that were brought to the island in the 18th century in order to experiment with what would grow well in the island's climate.
5. Take a tour of the only brewery on the island
Known by locals as "the Dodo", this famous beer is available everywhere on the island! From Tuesdays to Thursdays you can take a tour of the island's one and only brewery, where you'll learn the secrets of what makes it so popular. Taste a range of the brewery's beers and see the bottling process for yourself. To book your tour, contact Maison des Brasseries de Bourbon at +262 262 90 22 04.
There's also a variety of beautiful street art to discover, by the island's famous artists like Jace and Kid Creol. While you're walking around, be sure to stop for a gelato at Amorino, famous for their signature delicious flower gelato cone creations.