poster_ambiance_terre_heritageAmbiance Terre d'Héritage

The north coast

The Land of Heritage is the gateway to Reunion Island. Urban and cosmopolitan, it shows travellers the two sides of Reunion Island – resolutely modern and outward looking while preserving its history and heritage. One side is the colonial era of the past symbolised by the Creole houses in the centre of Saint-Denis, the other is modern day Reunion, multifaceted, artistic and intensely free. The north coast crystallises the diversity of Reunion Island as a whole.

The Island’s urban atmosphere

Saint-Denis is a city unlike any other. The capital and beating heart of Reunion Island, it is also the first side of the ultimate experience. The timeless city has preserved its legendary charm without ever forgetting to renew and reinvent itself. The historic district of Le Barachois in Saint-Denis, from which the city developed, illustrates this perfectly with its canons proudly facing the ocean, bearing witness to a rich and tumultuous history.

When you talk about a beating heart, you’re talking about rhythm! Immerse yourself in the capital’s beat and take full advantage of the rich and lively ambiance, day and night. In the Land of Heritage, foreign accents mingle with children’s laughter and the music coming from bars. No time to get bored here! Shopping on rue Maréchal-Leclerc, the busy pedestrian street, cultural events in the theatres and museums or guided tours of the city: there are so many ways to experience the north of Reunion Island.

Trade plays an important role in the history of Saint-Denis, from the East India Company to the present day. Typical markets, such as Grand Marché (known as the “Malagasy market”) in the upper town, or the busy street market in Le Chaudron which takes place in this popular district ever Sunday, add spice to the urban space and bring it to life, mixing tradition with modernity.

Reunion Island, North Coast - Land of Heritage
Reunion Island, North Coast - Land of Heritage
Reunion Island, North Coast - Land of Heritage

Diversity and tolerance

When the sun sets on the Indian Ocean, the nightlife comes into its own. For a taste of Reunion Island’s party atmosphere, head to Carré Cathédrale! Countless bars and restaurants have sprung up around Saint-Denis Cathedral, a beautiful neo-classical building, and it is now a dynamic and lively district. Here you’ll find local aperitifs, exotic cocktails and concerts in the street!

The Land of Heritage is also known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural mix. It’s like the embodiment of Reunion Island itself, an intense melting pot. Malbar, kaf, sinois, yab, zarab or zoreil, there’s no such thing as different communities in Reunion Island, but people united as one who have made their differences their strength. In Saint-Denis, the oldest mosque in France sits comfortably alongside the Cathedral and Tamil temples, while trendy bars coexist with the capital’s historic Chinese restaurants. Diversity is everywhere, on the street, on plates and on faces.

Capital of art and history

While the North Coast is intensely anchored in the present, it also invites travellers to explore its authentic past. Follow a guide or explore the streets of Saint-Denis by yourself to go back in time. Exotic yet familiar, rue de Paris and its colonial architecture is one of the city’s iconic streets. It takes visitors back to a bygone era, that of large verandas and guétalis (small kiosks overlooking the street) and architecture lovers will be bowled over. Are you interested in life in days gone by? Many of the buildings still have their original furnishings. The rattan and period works are still there, as if to underline the omnipresence of the past in the Land of Heritage.

The Beautiful Country retraces this History through art too and the numerous museums in Saint-Denis. Be sure to visit the Leon Dierx Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts of the Indian Ocean (MADOI) and the Artothèque. Recently opened but already a must-see attraction, Cité des Arts hosts numerous concerts, exhibitions and other original events to discover the island’s contemporary culture.

The pace in the North can be gentler for explorers in search of thrills. From the sea front, the coastal path goes from Saint-Denis to Sainte-Suzanne along the sea shore. On foot or by bike, it’s a lovely way to cross the Beautiful Country. To get away from the ocean and get a bit of height, head to the historic and swanky district of La Montagne and its winding road. At the end of the day, while the sun sets on the other side of the cliffs on the Coast road, the sky becomes a particularly deep orange colour. From Trois Bancs or Parc du Colorado, you can enjoy splendid views of Saint-Denis and a whole array of incredible landscapes in the North.

Immersion on the North Coast