There are two sides to Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island. The first, all fire and brimstone, brings to mind obscure legends such as that of Grand-Mère Kalle. The second manifests itself in the scientists from all over the world who come to study the volcano. Both these sides can both be found at Cité du Volcan in Reunion Island. It’s full of thrilling adventures for young and old alike! With a 4D Cinema, augmented reality and interactive exhibitions, a family trip to this museum is a fun way to learn all about the lava giant.

Living legends

We begin our exploration of Cité du Volcan with a tour of a lava tube – an absolute must. It’s a recreation of a gallery formed by a cooling volcanic lava flow. We wander through this lava corridor as if through the bowels of the earth, with its purple light and ambient sounds, to reach the core of the Volcano. The lights begin to glow red, the ground starts to vibrate and thunder rumbles around us. It doesn’t take long to feel totally immersed at Cité du Volcan! The kids cry out “wow” in surprise. The first of a long series this afternoon.

Learning is fun

With two holograms and an interactive quiz about how Reunion Island was formed, we get to know Ti’Krator, the museum’s mascot. The little erupting volcano wanders round the Cité every Sunday to guide budding explorers. He tells us that the next 4D film will be starting in the cinema soon!

Once the film starts, we enjoy a unique experience of Reunion Island from our seats. Heat, vibrations, sound effects and the fourth dimension: it all conspires to transport the spectator in a whirlwind of sensations to the centre of the earth. We plunge into the ocean before surfing on the lava while the children cling to their seats.

All this time, those with a contemplative bent enjoy the 270-degree panoramic screen, another bit of cutting-edge technology in the museum. When the lights go out, it only takes a few seconds for us to fly to the heart of the milky way or into the mists surrounding Piton de la Fournaise. Once the excitement is over, the tribe finds itself in a bathyscaphe, nestled comfortably in the large leather armchairs. Soothing images of the deep sea appear on the screen in this room which feels a bit like Nautilus.

Cité du Volcan is clearly the ideal port of call just after visiting Pas de Bellecombe in the first light of day. A perfect day in the Land of Lava that whole family will love and will leave you with lasting memories.