Take a break from Réunion’s natural attractions and visit the welcoming town of Saint-Pierre. Discover a legacy of impressive colonial landmarks, explore colorful markets and tour a rum distillery. Wander the streets of an old fishing community and get insight into the Creole way of life. Saint-Pierre straddles the often-dry Rivière d’Abord on Réunion’s southern coast.
Find major attractions scattered around the architecturally impressive Centre Ville, which is a neighborhood that’s easy to explore on foot. Check out the Entrepôt Kervéguen, Hôtel de Ville and La Médiathèque Raphaël Barquisseau, 18th-century buildings bequeathed by the French East India Company. Spot Creole mansions as you stroll along Rue Marius et Ary Leblond.
Be ready to identify religious buildings, which showcase the cultural diversity of Réunion. Among these are St-Pierre Church, Attyaboul Massadjid Mosque and the Dravidian-style Temple Tamoul Narassingua Perournal.
Enjoy some retail therapy at Saint-Pierre’s boutiques and markets. Shop for exotic fruits, spices and handicrafts at the Marché Couvert and African- and Indonesian-influenced items at Saturday’s waterfront Saint-Pierre Market.
Cross the river to Terre Sainte and wander around the streets of a one-time fishing village. Come in the late-afternoon to watch locals play animated games of dominoes along the seafront. Go back to the Centre Ville and relax on Plage de Saint-Pierre.
Be sure to visit the gardens and museums situated on the outskirts of town. Learn about Réunion’s rum-making history at the island’s oldest family-run distillery, Saga du Rhum. Join a guided tour of a coffee plantation at Domaine du Café Grillé. Admire over 300 plant species, including bonsais and orchids, at Parc Exotica.
Getting to Saint-Pierre is easy via public buses from Le Port, Saint-Benoit, Saint-Denis and Saint-Paul. Alternatively, rent a car and drive along Réunion’s scenic coastal roads. Consistently mild temperatures make Saint-Pierre a destination for all seasons. Time your visit to coincide with cultural events such as May’s La Fête du Pain, a festival of bread that celebrates Saint Honoré, the patron saint of bakers.