African culture in an undiscovered piece of French Paradise
Réunion was born three million years ago as a result of an undersea volcanic eruption and consists of two great volcanic mountain masses. The oldest, in the nortwest, covers two-thirds of the Island and rises to form the Piton des Neiges which, at 3000 metres (10.000 ft) is the highest peak in the Mascarenes. Over time the Piton des Neiges, an extinct volcano, collapsed and eroded three caldera-like valleys or cirques.
Réunion has lots of popular and beautiful beaches, but the biggest thrill for tourists is the breathtaking beauty of the cirques and the eerie landscape of the volcano. The island can’t compete with neigbour-island Mauritus in terms of beaches or luxury hotels, but it has many more conventional sightseeing opportunities in the shape of museums, sugar factories, and well preserved colonial and creole architecture. Reunion is also a paradise for adventure sports, from trekking, mountain-biking and horse-riding, to kayaking, canyoning and paragliding.
Most visitors of Réunion are French. They see the Island as an extension of their motherland and feel very comfortable with the left-hand drive Renaults and Peugeots, the smooth roads and the bistro’s and boulevards. And of course the fact that they can speak French makes them feel very much at home.
The tropical warmth and breathtaking scenery are intoxitating and the Réunionnais are a beautiful and gentle people, a fascinating melange of Malagasy, European, Chinese and Indian.
Réunion remains a well-kept secret for the not French-speaking world. One of the very few undiscovered paradises on earth, not (yet) discovered by mass tourism.