©Lazaret|Emmanuel VIRIN

Reunion island heritage

A blend of tradition and modernity

Small villages are nestled throughout the island. Explore them in the heart of the cirques: Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos, halfway between the sea and mountains. The majestic natural environment, stretching between pitons, cirques and mountains is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Villages, towns and “îlets” (small villages) are scattered throughout this untouched setting, where residents maintain Creole lifestyle.

Villages and atmospheres

Bourg-Murat, Entre-Deux, Grand-Coude, Petite-Ile, Plaine-des-Grègues and Tévelave in the south; Cilaos and Les Makes, Salazie, Grand-Ilet, Hell-Bourg and Plaine-des-Palmistes inland; Le Maïdo Petite-France, Le Plate and Saint-Leu to the west; and Sainte-Rose and Saint-Philippe in the east.  Each one is unique with its own specialty and atmosphere.

Hell-Bourg, ranked among France’s most beautiful villages, Plaine-des-Palmistes and Entre-Deux have traditional Creole “cases” (houses). Discover pretty villas built by rich families in the small mountain villages to escape the heat of astral summer. The traditional colourful sheet-metal houses are decorated with cut-out friezes along the roofline, and surrounded by flowering gardens.

In Les Makes and Maïdo, where the astronomical observatory is located, there are many belvederes looking out over the endless horizon! Take to the heights to discover the incredible wealth of natural beauty on the island, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 2010. In La Réunion National Park, the island’s cirques, pitons and ramparts are a breathtaking spectacle, and home to fragile unique ecosystems, unlike any other in the world.

The nature theme is common to Grand-Coude, Saint-Joseph, Tévelave aux Avirons, Bourg-Murat, Plaine des Cafres and Plaine des Palmistes with waterfalls, primary forests, botanical trails and volcanic landscapes. It’s a majestic spectacle !


The atmosphere in Saint-Leu is marine with coral reefs and blowholes where seawater is compressed then released with a blast of vertical spray.

In Sainte-Rose, lava flows that reached the ocean have brought unique Reunion Island fish from the depths to the surface. In Saint-Philippe, where the coast is fractured by the sea, is also known by the appropriate name: Cap Méchant which means the vicious cape.
Finally, the peaceful lifestyle of Petite-Ile Grande-Anse, where coconut palms, white sand and Sunday picnics – another facet of the island’s soul – liven up life on Reunion Island.

  • A more bucolic atmosphere with Creole flavours in Bourg-Murat where there are dairy farms. Taste the Plaines cheeses with guava jam and peppercorn or mountain honey.
  • Turmeric or “safran péi” Plaine-des-Grègues
  • Citrus fruit, garlic and spices in Petite-Ile 
  • Vanilla, palm cabbage and tropical fish in Saint-Philippe’s fishing village.