Tourism / Transport
Grand Bay and Pamplemousses
All those fond of shopping should stop at Sunset Boulevard in Grand Bay. Other shopping centres such as La Croisette and Super U in Grand Bay have outdoor play areas, skateboard parks and bumper cars that are great for children (and the young at heart!) and will keep them occupied while you do your shopping.
Those who wish to buy souvenirs can head to Pamplemousses where they will find an assortment of handicraft items, gift boxes, local fashion products, ship and aircraft models, paintings and jewellery. Furthermore, at Pamplemousses: a renowned manufacturer of ship models and memorabilia related to sailing ships.
Cycle from Cap Malheureux towards Calodyne and Saint Antoine through the little villages, sugar cane fields, and pine forests and enjoy the view of the outer islets.
Grand Bay is the Mauritian sailing paradise thanks to its protected bay. From there, one can join a yacht trip, a catamaran cruise or even rent a private sailing boat. The conditions for sailing are ideal and yachts can be hired to navigate around Mauritius or to visit some of the islands that lie off the north coast.
The North has some great kitesurf «spots», especially around Cap Malheureux and Anse la Raie.
The North has the most beautiful dive sites of the island. There is a range of interesting options for beginners as well as for experienced divers. Some of the most popular spots are: Gunner's Coin, with a depth of 26 meters where you can see large parrotfish at each dive; Whale Rock (26 to 38 meters deep) where the lucky ones can come face to face with a hammerhead shark; and Holt's Rocks (16 to 25 meters deep) whose name suggests the formation of huge rocks under the sea. Other spots are to be found in Trou aux Biches, which is more adequate for families, and Pointe aux Piments where you can swim with the turtles. Don’t forget your waterproof camera!
Other underwater activities
Among the most spectacular and favourite ways to explore the ocean: a trip in the Blue Safari submarine or with an underwater scooter. An opportunity for those who do not dive to enjoy a superb encounter of the rich Mauritian marine fauna.
Excursions to the islets
The Northern islets
The small group of islands in the north of Mauritius has become the favourite stopover for boats and divers. Whether by catamaran to enjoy a long trip before lounging on the islands or by speedboat, these trips to the northern islands are worth the detour.
From snorkeling in the crystal waters of Gunner's Coin, whose cliff holes nest seabirds, to swimming and picnics around Flat Island and Gabriel Island... you will not regret taking a trip here.
Round Island is a unique nature reserve whose access is prohibited (unless having a special permit) in order to protect its endemic plants and reptiles as well as the indigenous species introduced there.
The Mauritius Aquarium at Pointe aux Biches
This playful and very ecological Aquarium in Pointe aux Biches features a collection of 200 Mauritian fish species, invertebrates, corals and sponges, including a reservoir of large predators like sharks. This one and only aquarium also offers a pool where children can have direct physical contact with some of the harmless species that live around Mauritius.
If you want to have some great evenings in Mauritius and meet the locals, there is nowhere better than Grand Bay where you will definitely feel the heat! Just follow the coastline at night and you will discover the various and lively discotheques, clubs, bars, lounges and billiard halls.
The Caudan Waterfront
The Caudan Waterfront is a must for those looking for the top designer brands at bargain prices. At this bustling, lively seafront you will find numerous restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. Take a visit to the artisanal shops and only library in Caudan and browse through the contents of the shelves… You are likely to find a treasure of Mauritian art and literature.
The Champ de Mars
From March to December it is the ideal place to witness lively horse races during weekends. Very popular activity in Mauritius. A family venue where a colourful and friendly crowd celebrates each race on the race course.
Museum of Photography
At this unique Museum of Photography, you will travel through time with the cameras and thousands of photos passionately collected by the photographer Tristan Breville.
Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre
The Rajiv Gandhi Centre is both a leisure park and a fun scientific track located on the outskirts of Port Louis. Children and youngsters will be able to participate in different exhibits and activities. The goal is to show children in a fun way the basic principles of mechanics, physics of sound, light and waves.
In the 1780s, thousands of voluntary Chinese migrants set sail for Port Louis from Guangzhou on board British, French, and Danish ships and found employment as blacksmiths, carpenters, cobblers, and tailors. They formed a small Chinatown, the ‘Camp des Chinois’, in Port Louis.
Today the Chinese still occupy an important position in the life of Port Louis, and a trip to Chinatown will immerse you in the rich commercial life of the Chinese community. There are plenty of genuine Chinese restaurants and busy grocery stores, stocking Chinese delicacies, to choose from, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll catch the Chinatown Food and Cultural Festival held annually.
The main square of Plaine Verte is loved by tourists. Try the Mauritian “gato piman” and other Indian and Muslim cakes, drinks and food on offer.
A passage through time
There are numerous historical sites in Port Louis and discovering them is like a treasure hunt.
Take a walk through the neighbourhoods to see the old Colonial houses and the “Casernes centrales” where the police headquarters are located. If you look closely at the outside walls surrounding the line barracks, you’ll notice a wrought iron in the shape of an “S”, which was the sign of the French governor, Labourdonnais, who initiated its construction in the early mid-eighteenth century.
The same sign can be seen on the oldest remaining wall in front of the “Grenier” (formerly the loft of Mauritius, but today a parking), near the Windmill Museum at Caudan Waterfront, on the remains of the coral that once partially surrounded the sea in the port. There, be transported back in time as you take shelter in the shade of the city’s few remaining rare trees while you kids play on the Astrolabe.
There are quite few Nature Parks (Casela, Gros Cailloux, etc.) in the West where you can see some tamed animals imported from Africa, as well as local birds, reptiles and mammals. Different family activities, extreme sports, safaris, and much more are on offer. On-site restaurants serve lunch and refreshments to keep your energy up. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memories of a day you’ll treasure forever!
The shopping centres have something for everyone… You can buy souvenirs and gifts, and clothes that you will proudly wear on the beach and back home. Feeling hungry? Local cuisine and world famous dishes are all available at the wide range of restaurants. At Cascavelle, you can even try your driving skills on fast and furious karting tracks!
The West is the best place to swim and play with wild dolphins. This attraction is famous among tourists in Mauritius. Whether by motorboat or catamaran, simply book your excursion to meet the dolphins at any time of the year, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Mauritius in September, you may even get to spot the whales as they migrate at that time of the year.
Mahebourg market is an opportunity to do good deals with spices, clothing and toys among others. Taste the fresh local fruit and traditional foods such as "biryanis", "gateaux piments", "dhull puris", etc. Moreover, discover the genuine heart of the people. Typical local atmosphere.
Those who want to embark on a real sea adventure should try kayaking – a physical yet doable sport that will take you through the lagoon, among mangroves, around the still preserved island of Ile d’Ambre. If that sounds too much like hard work you can book a trip with a local fisherman or a tour organiser to Ile d’Ambre where you can swim, visit the ruins, walk through the forest, relax and have lunch.
Roches Noires Caves
In the area of Roches Noires, there are plenty of caves, with amusing names like Madam Cavern and Princess Margaret. You can walk from the villages of Roches Noires or Rivière du Rempart and discover the remains of the volcanic activity that formed the island of Mauritius. Birds such as the Mauritian fruit bats and swallows live in these cool, dark caves. Rocks and stones can be loose underfoot so watch your step!
Also in Roches Noires are numerous lava tubes connected to the sea, which have been transformed into cool freshwater springs where you can swim and snorkel among fishes. Take along your snacks and drinks and make a day of it. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Bras d’Eau National Park
The mountain-bike trail in the Bras d’Eau forest is open to the public and winds it’s way through the bush and through the shady exotic forest before following an old railway line to the lava caves where you will discover the ruins of an old sugar factory. Bring your own bike or book a trip with an outdoor adventure company. If you are not into cycling, you can follow the trail on foot. Pack lots to eat and drink and plenty of sun protection too.
A special Milky Way observatory is found in the Bras d’Eau forest where small radars on kilometres follow the movement of our galaxy.
The East Road
This route is far less travelled than those of the West and the North, but it is well worth the detour. It snakes down from Grand River South East to Mahebourg along the coast, taking you through small agricultural and fishing villages, with stunning views of the Grand Port mountain range and the turquoise lagoon that stretches from Trou d’Eau Douce to Blue Bay. On the way, have a look over the GRSE bridge, take some pictures at Pointe du Diable (Devil’s Point) and visit the Frederick Hendrik Museum.
Devil's Point Battery
Under the French occupation, 27 defence guns guarded access to the island. For many years, the fearsome and effective battery at Devil's Point (Pointe du Diable) prevented the English from approaching Grand Port. The cape was so named by the captains who sailed in front of it heading either to or from Grand Port and witnessed the strange occurrence of the compass needle turning madly all the way around… The truth was, the magnetic field inside the mountain was attracting and moving the compass dial!
Pont Bon Dieu
On the eastern plateau, at Brisée Verdière, hidden in the middle of a sugar cane field, is the Pont Bon Dieu Cave. A trail leads to this natural cave, which is approximately 15 metres high and 20 metres wide. As well as the interesting volcanic phenomenon you are likely to see swallows nesting inside the cave and wild monkeys. With beautiful surroundings and views of the sea, the cave is a little treasure off the beaten track.
A number of authentic Chinese-Mauritian restaurants will be found on all the high streets and traditional Indian food sold by hawkers can be found on just about every roadside or in the markets. Look for the longest queue and you’ll be sure that the food at the end of it is good!
Climbing the Moka Mountain Range
Looking like a ‘thumbs up’, at 811 metres Le Pouce mountain is the third highest mountain in Mauritius and forms part of the Moka Mountain Range. Close to Le Pouce is the 820 metres high Pieter Both with its distinctive stone ball that appears to balance right on the top. You can hike up these mountains from both Saint Pierre and Port Louis, but always check on the weather conditions beforehand and plan accordingly, or if you prefer to be accompanied by a guide, book through an adventure company. From the top, you are able to see most of the island, so it goes without saying that the view is incredible!
Follow the Tea Route
The "Tea Route" is a must when you visit Mauritius. A treat for the senses, this aromatic journey through the world of tea starts at Domaine des Aubineaux, takes you to the factory of Bois Cheri at Rivière des Anguilles and finishes at Domaine Saint Aubin.
Institut français de Maurice
The French Institute (formerly the Charles Baudelaire Cultural Centre) situated behind the Rose-Hill Police Station is the place for cultural activities with both Mauritian and invited foreign artists. The Institute has a vast library, an office that offers guidance to students who want to study abroad, and a restaurant on site. Their program can be viewed online.
At 600 metres, Plaine Champagne is the highest plateau in Mauritius and is covered with forests and lakes. Travel by car from Vacoas or Curepipe towards Mare aux Vacoas, the main water reservoir in Mauritius, and visit the sacred Grand Bassin along the way. At Pétrin you can hike in the Macchabée Forest past the Mare aux Joncs waterfall and walk around the Mare Longue reservoir back to Pétrin. If you want to walk further and have someone to drive your car, you can walk down into the Gorges and meet your driver in Black River. You can also cycle along these same trails.
If that all sounds a bit too adventurous for you, head to the nature reserve at Bassin Blanc, or take a right and stop at the different viewpoints along the roadside. Appreciate the fresh air, the stunning views of the South and the East, and you may even spot some wild monkeys. In March and April, you can stop and pick the delicious red and yellow guavas from the bushes that border the road.
The Plaines Champagne route will also take you to Chamarel, the seven-coloured earth, and to Le Morne.
La Rhumerie de Chamarel distils rum from its own sugar cane planted in fields nearby. Visit the impressive copper vats used to make the delicious rum and different rum liqueurs. The on-site tasting will help you to discover your favourites, which can then be purchased directly from the distillery. There is a restaurant on site serving stunning meals in a truly beautiful location. Why not try one of their exotic rum cocktails to end the day?
Restaurants in Chamarel Village
In Chamarel Village, there are plenty of small family restaurants where you can stop and sample the delicious local fare.
Fancy hiking and canyoning down the seven waterfalls? To be safe, it's best to go accompanied by a professional guide who will make sure you have lots of fun among flora, fauna and the wildlife, with unbelievable scenery to boot.
There are many clothing and textile manufacturers in Mauritius who produce for the local and international market. Prices are competitive and quality is of a high standard. There are colours, styles and brands for all ages and sizes. As well as clothing you can buy electronics, jewellery, popular wines and whiskies, shoes, accessories, arts and crafts, paintings, books… the list is endless! Shop ‘til you drop in Mauritius!
Depending on the purpose of your travel to France, there are different types of visas that will apply to the occasion. Whether you are planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside there permanently, you will have to apply for a different France Schengen Visa, accordingly.
You can apply for the France Visa since 1997 when France, as a Member of the European Union, also became a member state of the Schengen Area. Monaco – a European microstate/city-state located within France – is considered part of the Schengen Area although it did not officially sign the particular documents of the agreement. Besides, no border control is performed for the Schengen countries surrounding it!
On the other hand, Andorra as another microstate located between France and Spain performs border controls, therefore to enter it you should obtain a multi-entry Schengen visa since you should enter the Schengen Area while going or leaving Andorra.
Stat: As per 2014, France has issued a total of 2,613,995 uniform Schengen visas.
Stat: As per 2015, France has issued a total of 2,997,410 uniform Schengen visas from 3,356,165 visa application received. The Visa rejection rate was 9.9%.
Who does and who don’t need a Visa to enter France?
Not to every foreigner and not for every territory of France applies the same visa policy. As such, visa exemptions are greatly influenced by dissimilar factors, where the major ones are: foreigner’s nationality, the territory of the France that the applicant seeks to visit, foreigner’s residence status in Schengen Area or specifically in France, the purpose of visit, as well as duration of stay.
- French European Territory
- French Overseas Départments or Regions (DOM)
- French Overseas Territories (TOM)
Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in European French Territory?
France is part of the Schengen Area. Therefore, its European territory is a complementing part of other territories: of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, also members of the Area.
Learn HERE who CAN travel to the European French Territory without a French Visa and who NEEDS to get one for entering and staying there.
Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions?
The following foreign nationals are FREE to travel WITHOUT French Visa for a short stays (up to 3 months) to Guadeloupe (and its dependencies: Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy), French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion:
- Schengen Area member countries,
- Costa Rica,
- El Salvador,
- Hong-Kong (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
- Macao (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
- New Zealand,
- South Korea,
- The Holly See,
- United Kingdom,
- United States,
- Uruguay and
*Note: Nationals of the above listed countries CAN enter and stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions WITHOUT a French Visa, except for the following categories of foreign nationals, who MUST have a French Visa to stay in those territories:
- Nationals of the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela or Singapore who aim to work in these territories,
- Nationals of the United States who: aim to study there, hold a diplomatic or official or other service passport and aim to stay in these French territories in a diplomatic or official mission there, as well as those who aim to stay there for journalism purposes
All other foreign nationals of the excluded countries from the above list, CANNOT enter or stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions WITHOUT undergoing the French Visa Application procedure and getting the appropriate French Visa.
Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Territories?
The following foreign nationals are FREE to travel without a French Visa for a short stays (up to 3 months) in French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and its dependancies, (Terres Australes et Antarctiques françaises (TAAF)), Mayotte, Saint Pierre et Miquelon:
- Costa Rica,
- El Salvador,
- Hong-Kong * (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
- Macao* (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
- New Zealand,
- South Corea,
- United States and
Nationals which can enter in the French Overseas Territories WITHOUT a French Visa but CANNOT stay more than three (3) months or ninety (90) days there, come from the following countries:
- Schengen Area member countries,
- Saint Marin,
- The Holly See and
- United Kingdom.
General required documents for a France Visa Application:
- Download the France Visa Application form, fill it completely and with sincerity. You can also fill the France Schengen Visa application form electronically and then print a hard-copy.
- 2 photos must be attached; the photo should be of passport format – a recent whole-face capture with a light background. Learn more about photo requirements and specifications for a French Visa.
- Your passport and copies of your previous visas – valid for at least 3 months beyond return date – are required. Your passport must have at least two blank pages.
- A copy of your return-ticket reservation. It is not recommended to purchase the ticket before obtaining the visa – if not otherwise required
- Travel visa insurance confirmation of minimum 30,000 € coverage within France and the entire Schengen area
- A cover letter stating the purpose of a visit to France and itinerary
- Flight ticket reservations. Find out how to get a flight reservation for France Visa Application without paying the actual flight.
- Proof of accommodation for your entire stay in France. Book a hotel in France online!
- Proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable)
- Means of subsistence – Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay. As the European Commission specifies, any foreigner seeking to enter France, since 19 June 2014, when applying for France Visa must be able attesting to the France Embassy or Consulate possessing the daily money amount of 120€ if holding no proof of prepaid accommodation. If the applicant has a prepaid hotel, then this amount reduces to 65€/daily for the period of covered hotel accommodation, while the rest is 120€. Also, in case the applicant proofs cheaper forms of accommodation the amount decreases to 32.25€/ day.
- Employment contract
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
If a student:
- Proof of enrolment
- No-objection certificate from school or university
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
- Regular income generated by property proof of the latest 6 months
List of additional documents required for the most frequent purposes of the France Visa Application:
French Tourist Schengen Visa:
- Invitation letter with the address and phone number from family member or sponsor – if applicable
- Bank statement of the last 6 months
- Passport copies
France Visa for Business Purposes:
- Invitation letter from the French company you will be visiting and their detailed address accompanied with the dates of your visit
- A certificate from your employer stating/allowing your business travel
- If there were previous trade relations between the two companies, proof of such events must be provided
- Business bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Memorandum and Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies) Trade License (first issued and present renewal), Proprietorship/Partnership documents
- Regarding the applicant’s expenses during stay in the Schengen zone, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.
French Embassy Information
French General Consulate
6A Cromwell Place
Telephone: 020 7073 1250
Fax: 020 7073 1246