Saint-Denis is the capital of the island and the largest city in the overseas departments of France. It is located on the northern tip of Reunion Island and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. In the eastern part of Saint-Denis is the Baracho district. This is a great place for walking and relaxing – there are restaurants, bars and cafes, shops and markets. Not far from here is the Botanical Garden, where more than 50 species of trees from all over the world are collected, all kinds of plants that you can admire while walking along the footpaths. The Museum of Natural History operates in the Botanical Garden. It was opened in 1855 and became the first of its kind on the islands of the Indian Ocean. It has a collection of shells, corals, birds and animals.
Of the architectural attractions, one can single out the numerous Creole mansions that stand along the roads, the Prefecture building , the construction of which was started in 1735 and which was used as the headquarters of the Indian Company, the Monument au Morts monument , the City Hall and Saint Denis Cathedral. It is worth noting that in addition to the cathedral, the city has temples and mosques, which testify to the diverse cultural and religious affiliation of the local population. Galerie Léon-Dur-Art opens
in Saint-Denis with a collection of French Impressionist paintings. Be sure to visit the island’s largest market – Grand Marche, where you can buy souvenirs. Hiking trips depart from Saint-Denis to Mount Ecritus (2227 m), which descends to the circus Salazi.
According to NONPROFITDICTIONARY.COM, Saint-Paul is the first capital of Reunion and the most ancient city of the island, it was founded in 1663. In the southern part of Saint-Paul, on the coast, a grotto has been preserved, in which the first French people who landed on the island lived. The city is full of colonial mansions, which are located on a wide seaside boulevard. Tourists will be interested in the Simetière-Marti area, where there are shops, restaurants and cafes. In Saint Denis there is the largest cemetery of the island, where you can see the grave of the last pirate of the Indian Ocean – Olivier “La Buze” Levasseur.
South of Saint-Paul begins a series of beach resorts. In Saint-Gilles-les-Banes, the Gardens of Eden are interesting, where about 700 species of tropical plants are presented. To the east of Saint-Gilles-les-Banes lies the region of lakes and waterfalls Bassin Comoran, where you can swim. From Saint Leo, head to the Coral Farm with a sea turtle hatchery. Near the town of Etang-Selles-les-Banes is the Natural Park of Birds. Saint-Louis is home to the oldest church on the island, built in 1732.
The city of Silao is located in the center of the island at an altitude of 1200 m. In 1815, thermal springs were discovered here, on the basis of which a resort was built. Nowadays,a new complex , Irreni Akkot, is operating in Silao, which uses water from old sources. This complex offers a lot of procedures for the treatment of various diseases and relaxation. EXCURSIONS TO THE VOLCANIC CIRCUS Centuries-old active activity of the island’s volcanoes has led to the emergence of circuses (calderas) – large round valleys, surrounded by mountains on all sides. Circuses have a diameter of about 10 km. There are three of them in Reunion – Mafat, Salazi and Silao.
There are no roads to the Mafat Circus, so you need to get here either on foot or by helicopter. Here, along the Rivière de Galets, which flows into the ocean, you can see ancient lava flows cut by numerous ravines and narrow mountain ranges. Despite the inaccessibility of the valley, it is inhabited by people. In small villages you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the life and culture of the local population.
Circus Salazi is considered the most beautiful place on the island. The starting point for traveling through this valley is the city of Hell Burg. Salazi is constantly clouded or obscured by clouds. Above it rises Mount Piton des Neiges. It is a long and deep valley, with sheer cliffs from which waterfalls fall. In total there are about 100 waterfalls. The largest of them – Le Veil de Mary (Bridal Veil). The waterfall got its name because of the many thin jets that resemble a bride’s veil.
Circus Silao is the southernmost of the island’s three circuses. Silao has the least rainfall, so the vegetation here is not as diverse as in other valleys. Because of the sparse vegetation, Silao looks more like an ordinary volcanic crater.