A little slice of France in India, the tiny city of Pondicherry sits on the Bay of Bengal in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. This former French colony has retained a remarkable amount of its European charms, and still feels very continental today. Here you can indulge in fine wines, French cuisine and the French language is still widely spoken and understood.
Stroll through the leafy boulevards and rues of the French Quarter and you’ll be forgiven for forgetting you’re in India at all! Holidays to Pondicherry often take on a spiritual component as the city’s yoga and meditation centers are critically acclaimed and increasingly popular with celebrities and spiritual types from around the world. Auroville and Sri Aurobindo Ashram are two of the most famous centers, so there’s always the opportunity to reconnect to with yourself on a trip to Pondicherry.
Back in the old town, you can expect to see tree-lined boulevards, colonial villas and trendy boutiques selling chic wares that fuse together French style and Indian inspirations. The city is divided by a central canal and the west side possesses much more of the vibrancy and chaos that you might expect from India compared to the neighborhoods along the coastline. The beach itself is beautiful, backed by a long promenade to enjoy evening strolls. ‘East-meets-west’ is one way to describe the city, although many who travel to Pondicherry feel that it has a peaceful charm to it where you can simply kick back and do nothing, besides a little boutique shopping!
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