Why is Saint Pierre your ideal base [Réunion]

Saint Pierre is a charming and atmospheric town in the south west of Reunion that is perfect to explore the island. Here is why you should make it your base.

Saturday market

France has a strong tradition of local markets, and the market of Saint Pierre was voted the 3rd best one of all of France, so needless to say that a visit is a must!

Set up along the coast, roam it and enjoy the smells of spices and colors of exotic fruits and flowers, discover vegetables you have never seen before, appreciate the local artefacts, walk past the noisy poultry, grab some samosas on the way, and above all chitchat with the friendly sellers. The early hours are the nicest with many locals buying their groceries and the atmosphere is very enjoyable.

Food

Whether you are looking for the best restaurant of Reunion or for low key snack-bars, Saint Pierre has it all!

Le Pierre is the restaurant of the 4-star hotel Villa Delisle. In a smart setting, local specialties as well as well prepared and sophisticated traditional French dishes are served, making it one of the best – if not the best – restaurants of Reunion with the best stocked wine cellar!

Just across the street, by the sea side, snack bars are where locals and tourists grab a bite at plastic chairs and tables. Samosas, bonbons piments, achards and sandwiches are not the healthiest choice but a must-try on the island. More than the food, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the local Dodo beer (the white heritage version is our recommendation).

The beach

With not too many beaches around the island where swimming is allowed and safe, Saint Pierre is protected by the reef making swimming enjoyable.

Despite the high risk of shark attacks, surfers do go out past the reef from the jetty to measure themselves up to the waves: a beautiful show at sunset.

Location & atmosphere

Either to drive the Route des Laves and explore the wild south, or to hike Grand Bassin or Sentier Jacky Inard, either to enjoy the lagoon in Saint Gilles only a short drive away, SCUBA dive to discover its ocean life, or to visit Saga du rhum and the Domaine du Café Grillé, Saint Pierre combines a convenient location with the perks of an atmospheric town. Its charm comes up at night when locals and tourists alike take a stroll along the ocean after a day of adventures before sitting down for a bite or rhum arrangé (infused rum).

Domaine du café grillé

More than only a coffee plantation, the Domaine du Café Grillé (the Roasted Coffee Estate) is a real experience traveling through time from 2018 back to 1665 showcasing what Reunion looked like before the first men arrived. With about 900 species of plants, this botanical gem takes you through the typical Kréole garden with its ornamental and useful plants. Pay a special attention to the moringa tree, nicknamed the tree of life and one of the best superfood around.

Conclude with the Reunion coffee and make sure to taste some. The volcanic soil of Reunion Island gives its coffee its specificity and low caffeine content – about a third to half of the caffeine content of your regular arabica. The fruity with a pinch of acidity bourbon pointu growing at a higher altitude or the intense with a hint of cacao bourbon rond are roasted onsite. The small production is precious and amongst the best in the world with prices reaching 750€/kg for the best beans that will be brewed and enjoyed in Japan.

Saga du rhum

Slightly inland and amongst sugarcane fields, the rum saga is explained to you in a living museum where the Isautier rum is made. The industrial process as well as the history of the locals’ favorite alcohol is told in a hands on way and concluded by a tasting of either some of the best aged rums of Réunion or a wide palette of infused rums.

Accommodation

Saint Pierre offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets. With only a little offer on the luxury side on the island, we recommend Villa Delisle that at the time of writing is the best hotel on the island.

Very well located just a stroll away from the beach and all the action it is also sheltered away from the noise. Its refreshing swimming pool, themed evenings attracting locals and tourists and spa are more reasons to visit and be taken care of by their excellent and kind staff. If you are in luck at the nearby casino, go for the suites – you won’t regret it!

Claire & Marcella

Travel tips:

  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! Here is a short tutorial to download it.

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