Port Louis, the cosmopolitan capital city of Mauritius was founded in 1735 by the French governor and pioneer, Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais. Located on the Northwest Coast, Port Louis is the administrative and business capital of the island.
Buzzing with activity during the day, the city is full of cultural and historical treasures that should not be missed. Beyond the central market, which is a focal point for those who want to feel close to the soul of Mauritius, are many historic sites including the Champ de Mars – the oldest race course in the southern hemisphere.
What to see
La Place D’Armes
At the historical center of the city is the Place d’Armes surrounded by Bottle Palm trees and several statues, and is the main square connecting the seafront to Government House.
Statue of Mahe de la Bourdonnais
This statue of one of the founding fathers of Mauritius is situated at the entrance of the Place d’Armes and is a symbol and reminder of our French heritage.
The Government House
Government House, built at the time of Governor Nicolas de Maupin (1729-1735), is a splendid building and one of the oldest buildings in Port Louis. It was recently renovated and is the official address of the Parliament of Mauritius.
Port Louis Theatre
The municipal theatre of Port Louis was built in the nineteenth century and is one of the oldest in the Indian Ocean. Decorated in a classic London theatre style, it can accommodate around six hundred spectators.
Located on a hill overlooking the city and harbor, the Citadel of Port Louis (Fort Adelaide) is a fort that was built between 1834 and 1840 to guard the city against riots during the abolition of slavery. Today local and international concerts and artistic shows are performed there and it is definitely worth a visit for the stunning views from this vantage point.
Classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, Aapravasi Ghat (Immigration Depot in Hindi), honors the thousands of indentured laborers who arrived from India after the abolition of slavery and who finally settled on the island. This is the place where the immigrants first landed.
The Beekrumsing Ramlallah Interpretation Centre (BRIC) is located on Wharf Street, where the indentured laborers first disembarked. The center is dedicated to their indenture and displays objects recovered during archaeological excavations, as well as 22-inch touch screens giving information about this period.
A chilling experience is to spend time inside the replica of a ship like the one these contracted workers had to endure for approximatively six weeks. A 10-minute movie shows testimonies of their descendants. Also, one can admire pipes, phials that medicine bottles (from the hospital on the site), leftover gin and rum bottles, probably drank by British officers, all remains found during archaeological excavations at the Aapravasi Ghat. Other preserved relics include the slipway that existed on that site between 1846 and 1856.
Natural History Museum
Created by the Natural History Society of Mauritius, the museum opened its doors to the public in 1842. It currently conserves 35,000 specimens displayed in four permanent galleries.
Mauritius Postal Museum
Located in a beautiful old stone building next to the Caudan Waterfront, you will be warmly welcomed by the hosts of this Museum which displays stamps, first day covers, and many other interesting objects marking the history of the Mauritius postal service. At 1:00pm on the last Saturday of each month is the meeting of an association of philatelists, which is open to anyone with a passion for stamp collecting. A range of stamps, first-day covers, stamp albums, books, key rings and other souvenirs are on sale at the Mauritius Postal Museum.
Blue Penny Museum
Mauritius is as well-known for the extinct dodo as it is for its rare and expensive Blue Penny stamp. An original issue can be seen at the Blue Penny Museum in Caudan. This beautifully decorated museum is also home to other precious collections that represent the mixed historical and cultural heritage of Mauritius.
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