Stop 1 - Chateau De Labourdonnais
Your tour starts with a visit to the enchanting castle of Chateaux De Labourdonnais nestled in the north the island. This beautifully looked-after home was built in 1856 and hosted over three generations until 2006, when the agricultural company of Domaine de Labourdonais restored the property to make it an official estate and attraction.
The property is a unique souvenir for the island, and a visit to the area is an immersion into the art of living in Mauritius in the 19th century. From the moment you turn into the majestic Intendance tree-lined (Ficus Retusa) avenue leading to the château, visitors will discover a magical place that shines a spotlight on Mauritian history, nature, cuisine and savoir-faire. It is a complete pleasure to visit the interior of the mansion and discover the selection of antiques and furniture dated back to the 18th century
Stop 2 - Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
Love nature? Then the Mauritius National Botanical Gardens is a must-see and a wonderful treat. The largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the garden is home to over 650 varieties of plants and 85 different palm trees from around the world, some of which have been planted by royalty and famous world leaders. There is also a spice garden and giant water lilies. Formerly known and named after the former Prime Minister Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam, and lovingly known as Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens to the native islanders, it was initially a private garden to the then French governor nearly 300 years ago. Meet the giant tortoises and other animals and take pleasure in the serenity of nature.
Stop 3 - L'Aventure du Sucre
A short drive from the gardens is one of the remaining sugar factories on the island: L’Aventure du Sucre. The factory officially closed its doors in 1999, but most of the machineries remain untouched, which makes it a must-visit.
The approach itself is impressive, along an avenue of bougainvillea and coconut palms, with a lake bordered by lush greenery, leading to the charming sugar factory. A sugarcane hedge runs alongside the final pathway to the restored and converted factory. Immerse yourself in exploring the beautiful interior of the factory and be amazed with its old machines decked with a thousand lights, giant screens, more than 35 films, a barge floating and the sudden whistle of a railway engine. Their wonderful and interactive tour will help visitors have deeper insight into the rich history and culture of the island.
You will also get a chance to sample unrefined sugars and spoil yourself with some pure cane rum!
Lunch at the Frangourin Restaurant
Time to savor some great food! 2018 Trip Advisor award-winning restaurant Le Fangourin makes an excellent stop for lunch, offering light snacks to a mouth-watering cuisine accompanied with magnificent views from its veranda across lush, tropical countryside leading in the distance to Pieter Both Mountain.
Stop 4 - Maheshwarnath Hindu Temple
Moving further in the north, visit one of the oldest places of prayer and worship on the island—a definite must-see. The Maheswarnath Mandir was constructed over 120 years ago on the site of a failed and demolished sugar-processing factory. During its construction, legend has it that a huge pot of gold and silver was discovered. It was assumed to be a hidden treasure plundered by Indian Ocean pirates, who attacked and raided East Indian trading company ships for their gold and other precious cargo. The find of this treasure further helped to pay for the construction, as today, the temple is seen in its original conception of Ratna architectural style originating from West Bengal. The island’s famous annual pilgrimage to Grand Basin in celebration of Lord Shiva originated from this temple. If you wish to know more, your guide will be more than happy to tell about the importance and significance of all the Hindu deities.
Stop 5 - Cap Malheureux Red church
The views from Notre Dame Auxiliatrice, also known as ‘Cap Malheureux Red Church, is wonderful. The red-roofed church sits on the beach of Cap Malheureux and is attributed to many sources. Some say it was named after the sinking of the vessel Saint Geran on August 18, 1744, which inspired Bernardin de St Pierre to write his famous novel Paul & Virginie. Others believe it owes its name to the numerous shipwrecks that occurred in this area at the beginning of the colonization of the island.
Witness the amazing surrounding where the local fisherman can be spotted catching a fresh meal.
Stop 6 - The Coastal Town of Grand Baie
Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll through the bustling town of Grand Bay and indulge yourself in some shopping, where you will find an abundance of small arcades and malls offering a variety of items from cashmere garments, branded clothing, jewellery and souvenirs. Most shops offer duty-free shopping, so don’t forget your passport.