St. Gilles-les-Bains is Réunion’s ultimate beach town, a resort complex famous for its beaches, watersports and nightlife. This town also offers the chance to see pretty waterfalls and fruit farms and attend open-air theater performances. St. Gilles-les-Bains fills up on weekends, when local daytrippers join the large numbers of tourists. Throughout the week, the town presents a quieter ambiance with beaches undisturbed by mass tourism.
The town’s major highlight is its two golden-sand beaches, Plage des Roches Noires and Plage des Brisants, which sit either side of a marina. Enjoy swimming in the clear water and try watersports such as kayaking and surfing. The pristine coral reef is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Just a short drive south is L’Ermitage-les-Bains, a beach community home to the Jardin d’Eden botanical garden.
Back in town, stroll around Port de Saint-Gilles to see colorful fishing trawlers and stylish yachts. Charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing excursion. Go to the port’s Aquarium de la Réunion to see displays of exotic fish native to the waters of Réunion.
In the port’s immediate surroundings you’ll find everything from watersport centers and surf shops to bakeries, bars, cafés and restaurants. Browse the stalls of Le Marché de St. Gilles-les-Bains, a weekly market with handicraft, fresh produce and artisanal food vendors.
Attend a ballet, theater production or jazz concert at the outdoor theater, TEAT Plein Air. An event schedule and tickets are available at St. Gilles-les-Bains’ tourist information center in the heart of town. Learn about Réunion’s mango-growing culture and sample some of the succulent fruit on a guided tour of La Maison de la Mangue. Alternatively, hike along Ravine Saint-Gilles to the waterfalls and swimming holes of Bassin Cormoran.
St. Gilles-les-Bains is a 15-minute drive south from the town of Saint-Paul and accessible via public buses. Stay in boutiques hotels, guesthouses and apartments. Mild year-round temperatures make St. Gilles-less-Bains a destination for all seasons where you can experience a relaxed break from Réunion’s volcanic mountain landscapes.