Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius on the shores of the Indian Ocean, is a truly cosmopolitan city that is sure to fascinate visitors with its variety of cultures.
Located on the north-west coast of the island and therefore sheltered from storms, the city is made up of a fusion of Western buildings and Creole houses: the result of a wide ethnic mix that makes the island so diverse.
Far from western capitals, Port Louis still bears the scars of its colonial past. The city was founded in 1735 by French settlers, under the government of Mahé de Labourdonnais which built its well-equipped port, and today this melting pot of cultures is inhabited by the descendants of Indian, Chinese, African and European immigrants. Over the course of its history, the city has been occupied by the Dutch, French and British. After the arrival of the British, a great many Indian merchants settled in the capital. Let yourself be transported into an authentic ocean of culture where art and history are everywhere.
Every little corner of the city seems to be bristling with evidence of this turbulent past. Start your visit with an overview of Port Louis, looking down from the heights of Fort Adelaide. Then go down to the capital itself, taking your time as you walk along the pretty cobblestone pavements, much loved by the locals and a remnant of the French era. As you wander around, you are bound at some point to arrive at Port Louis Central Market where the sights and smells of the local produce will undoubtedly delight you. Next, step into the Far East with an exploration of Port Louis’ Chinatown. Continuing the Asian theme, Aapravasi Ghat is a UNESCO world heritage site and was the spot where the first Indian immigrants landed in the 19th century.
Other sights to discover include the Champ de Mars, a very popular racecourse which hosts regular meetings and horse races, and the Domaine Les Pailles, where you will step back in time to get an idea of the atmosphere of the sugar cane plantations of Mauritius. And don't forget to visit Le Caudan Waterfront, where you can find big brands as well as local handmade goods.
A trip to Port Louis offers a journey brimming with a thousand colours and flavours.