volcan200_eruption_piton_de_la_fournaise_05_2015_-_credit_irt_-_luc_perrot_dts_06_2021.jpgPhotographePhotographe© Luc PERROT
© Luc PERROT

Piton de la Fournaise, the sacred furnace

The most popular natural site on the island

This is the star of Reunion Island. The Piton de la Fournaise is the most visited tourist site on the island. Since August 2014, the Cité du Volcan, at the Plaine des Cafres, has been unveiling the secrets of this huge giant, standing at 2,631 metres. This turbulent volcano can be seen from all over the island, even when the clouds are gathered around its peak… It erupts every nine months on average, making it one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Good to know

Call upon a Mountain Guide to help you discover the Piton de la Fournaise! You are guaranteed an incredible adventure, in complete safety.

A precious giant furnace

Reunion Island’s Piton de la Fournaise is around 500,000 years old and since 2010, it has been a member of the prestigious club of natural treasures listed as World Heritage sites by Unesco, due to their exceptional universal value. This honour is shared with the other Reunion Island volcano, the Piton des Neiges as well as the natural cirques and cliffs of the island: all of which belong to La Réunion National Park. The fantastic biodiversity of this extraordinary natural reserve is protected and studied.

 

Experience Feedback

The Piton de la Fournaise, combining beauty and tremors

Unveil the mysteries of the Piton de La Fournaise

 

To understand this captivating phenomenon, follow the educational trail in the Fouqué Chamber, the area surrounding Dolomieu crater which appeared in 1791. This is the volcano’s biggest crater and its physiology changes with each eruption. It’s not possible to go the whole way around the Piton de la Fournaise, but a marked path will take you to the observation point at the top on the north side, and it’s absolutely incredible!

 

You’ll see a lunar desert, as far as the eye can see, very similar to the Plaine des Sables , which we crossed to reach the peak of the Piton. These landscapes that appear to be from another planet, are not inhabited: the eruptions and lava flows take place inside the chamber and on the slopes on the south-east side. That means there’s never any real danger for the people of Reunion.

Did you know ?

In 1977, lava flow reached the main road in the town of Sainte-Rose, but it stopped at the threshold of the Notre Dame des Laves church, as if by miracle! Following this event, the Observatoire Volcanologique was created so that the volcanic activity could be monitored, and the eruptions anticipated.

Get even more out of your Piton de la Fournaise experience in the Land of Lava !

A land shaped by eruptions

When the Piton de La Fournaise erupts, it doesn’t only change the morphology of the volcano, it also changes the island itself! After the volcano erupted in April 2007, 45 hectares of new land were recovered over the water. Near the Pointe du Tremblet lava flow reached the ocean, and extended the surface area of Reunion Island. After that, some previously unknown species were discovered off Saint-Philippe. Even more proof of the rich natural heritage of Reunion Island!

New cones at the Piton de La Fournaise

  • Piton Louise et Henri Cornu
    • The Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, the Cité du Volcan and La Réunion National Park have announced the official naming of a new volcanic cone, which was created as a result of the eruption from the 11th to 15th August 2019 : the Piton Louise et Henri Cornu!

     

  • Piton Daniel Honoré
    • The eruption of the 9th November 2018 gave rise to a new cone called the “Piton Daniel Honoré”, in tribute to the writer from Reunion Island who died in October the same year.
  • Piton Lo Rwa Kaf et Piton Anne Mousse
    • Two other cones appeared during the eruption which took place between the 18th February and the 10th March 2019. They were named “Piton Lo Rwa Kaf” in tribute to the famous Maloya* singer and “Piton Anne Mousse” after the first woman born on Reunion Island, the 10th April 1668, grandmother to many Reunion locals.
Good to know !

When the Piton de la Fournaise is erupting, public access to the Fouqué Chamber, from the Pas de Bellecombe-Jacob footpath or any other footpath, as well as the landing of any aircraft in the area around the volcano is strictly forbidden until further notice from the Reunion Island Prefecture.