St Denis

Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Reunion's capital city of St-Denis is the northernmost city on the island as well as the largest. Really quite a fascinating city, St-Denis is often pushed aside in favor of a trip to the beach, a hike up a volcano, or a visit to the island's cirques. Too bad! This warm and welcoming town has plenty to offer Reunion Island visitors, so a stop here should definitely be part of your holiday itinerary.

St-Denis is also the only location on the island where you'll find a number of cultural sites, including museums. For example, the Musee Leon Dierx boasts quite an impressive collection of modern art. Founded nearly a century ago, this museum includes pieces by famous artists like Picasso and Gauguin. The Museum d'Histoire Naturelle provides visitors with a good overview of the natural history of the islands of the Indian Ocean, including fascinating exhibits on indigenous animals past and present.

Architecture aficionados will want to explore the unique Creole homes that dominate the town. A stroll down the street is a pleasant afternoon activity and a few of these homes, like Mansion Folio, are open to the general public for tours. Be sure to have your camera ready!

For accommodations in St-Denis, there are currently about a dozen hotels from which to choose, including those from popular chains like Best Western. Most of the hotels are quite elegant, featuring the amenities you'd expect to find on an island resort. There are, however, a few budget-minded properties as well.

If you're into dining, St-Denis has the best restaurant scene on the island. Reunion's cuisine, in general, is quite diverse, not unlike its population. In the capital city, restaurants run the gamut, from traditional Creole food to Indo-Muslim cuisine to Chinese specialties. You'll find formal sit-down establishments, casual bistros, and places to grab a quick bite on the run. Don't forget to try the "cari", unique to the Indian Ocean islands, and made with meat, poultry, fish or seafood and containing garlic, onion, lots of tomatoes, turmeric, clove and ginger. Yum!