Travel: Mauritius – Notes From Paradise

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We are taken on a small detour to Bois Cheri Tea Factory, which was the very first tea plantation in Mauritius and is its largest producer. The detour to Bois Cheri’s restaurant is worth a visit, with a panoramic view of the entire south of the island and an absolutely delicious vanilla chicken!

After a busy day, the Lux* Le Morne experience awaits us, with an unforgettable evening in this 5 star luxury hotel at the foot of Morne. On a beach worthy of a postcard image, we have fresh sea urchins, a small cup of bubbles and the sunset as our backdrop. Why would you want to be anywhere else? The evening continues with dinner under the lanterns of the beach, as various small stalls offer traditional Mauritian dishes, but also barbecues of langoustines, fresh fish and meat.

The next day, we were off to the north of the island to visit Port Louis, its mall, and especially its local market. You can find everything from fruits and vegetables to spices (such as the famous vanilla) and souvenir shops. Warning: prices are negotiable – they can double if you’re not focused!

Another place you must visit is Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. Covering an area of 37.5 hectares, the Pamplemousses Garden offers visitors a rich collection of terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals. A map in hand, make a visit at your own pace, amid the birdsong, as well as the sound of the wind sighing through the trees. We witnessed the pool of giant water lilies, white lotus, baobab, talipot. A space is also devoted to animals such as deer and turtles.

After basking in nature, we headed to the Château de Labourdonnais, a Victorian mansion in a sugar cane plantation. It’s like being in a movie – Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt anyone?! A short stop-off at the shop – we simply had to compare the rum of the south with that of the north. They are different but just as ‘contrabando’. We all buy something – again! Fingers are crossed that the suitcase doesn’t weigh more than 25kg.

For the end of the stay, we settled in at Anse la Raie on the north coast of the island at Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel. An interior with warm colours, open spaces leading to the outside, antique furniture and design that perfectly states its exotic-chic style. Here, time has no more influence. We particularly enjoyed the infinity pool overlooking the islands of the north. For lack of time, I was not at the Spa “Cinq Mondes”, but I will definitely come back. Please note: Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel is an adult only address.

Mauritius is a genuine paradise where life feels good. It is a land filled with energy and benevolence. Go there to recharge your batteries and totally surrender to the rhythm of nature and the song of the waves. My eyes welled up with love and memories, and I came home full of a simple kind of happiness.

How to get there? Thalys to Paris Charles de Gaulle from Gare du Midi in Brussels. Count on more or less 1 hour 40 minutes. At Paris Charles de Gaulle, we are greeted by an Air Austral flight attendant who took us to check-in.

Air Austral is a French airline (Reunion Island), mainly active in the southwest Indian Ocean. The welcome is warm and the service is impeccable. A little taste of the islands in the meals served on board (chicken, vanilla and rice). For entertainment, a wide choice of novelties in the films on offer, music, quizzes and games. In short, a 10 hour flight is not so long in the end. Note the stopover on the island of Reunion (more or less 1 hour) to finally take a flight to Mauritius. www.air-austral.com

Where to stay? For families: www.heritageresorts.mu/mauritius-hotels/le-telfair-resort For couples/friends: www.paradisecovehotel.com/fr

Practical information: Visa with an expiry date of at least six months. Business cards, sun-cream, and anti-mosquito spray – www.tourism-mauritius.mu

Our preferred airline is www.airmauritius.com