Exploring Port Louis
Located 1200 miles from the east coast of the African continent, Mauritius is a Republic consisting of Mauritius Island and Rodrigues Island.
The capital city is Port-Louis, which is also the largest city of Mauritius. The lively ethnic quarters of this bustling city display the rich diversity of cultures and traditions that have outlived colonisation. Port-Louis is the main administrative city and it opens on the harbour. It’s the right place to get a real feel of local life: street food, hawkers, the central market, the Champs de Mars horse racing track (2nd world’s oldest!)… The central market has been renovated but the arches at the both entrances have been there since the Victorian times. A few landmarks will take you back in local history. Let’s make it clear: attractions in Port-Louis are mostly historical for real history or black history enthusiasts.
A number of monuments lie across Port-Louis: Queen Victoria, King Edward V11, Mahe de la Bourdonnais, important figures in the then Mauritius… Walking down the cobbled sidewalks in Port-Louis allows one to see how modern architecture cohabitates with colonial-style buildings. The Fort Adelaide (La Citadelle) which a few publications describe as having a Moorish air, was built in 1840 by the British. It’s one of the best places to visit in Port-Louis. The fortress offers a panoramic view of the harbour and the capital city.
Religions lie at the heart of island life in Mauritius. Prominent places of worship like the St. James Cathedral, St. Louis Cathedral, Chapel of Marie Reine de la Paix, Jummah Mosque (the inner courtyard is open to the public from Monday to Thursday except during Ramadan), Kwan Tee Pagoda, Nam Shun Fooy Koon Pagoda, Kaylasson Temple, all located in and around the city centre, allow to get a glimpse of the dimension of traditions present in the local communities.
Who said there was no museum in Mauritius? The Photography Museum is our favourite. It’s a family-run museum with thousands of collectibles around photography and printing, nicely set in a charming building in the city centre. The Postal Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Blue Penny Museum are all located within walking distance from the centre.
We also recommend Aapravasi Ghat, the Immigration Depot, where more than 500 000 indentured labourers landed before being transported to plantations during the British Empire.
Port-Louis has a rich history, many stories, which we’ll keep sharing with you…