Saint Denis Introduction Walking Tour, Saint Denis

Saint Denis Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Saint Denis

Saint-Denis, the capital of Réunion Island, France's overseas territory in the Indian Ocean, is a popular tourist spot renowned for its Creole-style architecture reflecting colonial heritage. Many of these buildings line the city's main street, Rue de Paris. One of them is the Musée Léon Dierx, formerly a bishop’s palace, nowadays showcasing the works of art, including Picasso and Gauguin. To visit this and other attractions of Saint-Denis, follow this orientation walk.
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Saint Denis Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Saint Denis Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Reunion » Saint Denis (See other walking tours in Saint Denis)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: AudreyB
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathédrale de Saint-Denis
  • Le Barachois
  • Maison Kichenin
  • Mosquée Noor-e-Islam
  • Temple Kalikambal
  • Chapelle Saint-Thomas-des-Indiens
  • Église Saint-Jacques
  • Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de La Réunion
  • Jardin de l'État
  • Musée Léon-Dierx
  • Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception
  • Rue du Maréchal Leclerc
  • Villa Déramond-Barre
  • Grand Marché
Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

1) Cathédrale de Saint-Denis (must see)

The construction of Cathédrale de Saint-Denis lasted from 1829 to 1832. The cathedral is built in a Classic style by the architect Paradis. In 1863, a porch was added in the West prostylos of the church, decorated with a bas-relief terra cotta, and later a wonderful fountain was placed opposite the cathedral. There was also erected a metal bell near the nave, this one holding two other bells. The cathedral was restored in the 1990s.
Le Barachois

2) Le Barachois (must see)

Le Barachois is Saint-Denis' historic district from which the city developed. Le Barachois is best known for its old canbons pointing to the sea from the Point Gardens. A statue of Roland Garros, the famous aviator whose hometown was Saint-Denis, sat on a propeller. Today, Le Barachois is a lovely promenade and a small public garden, popular among tourists and newlyweds, as it is a beautiful place to take pictures and admire the ocean.
Maison Kichenin

3) Maison Kichenin

Maison Kichenin is one of the oldest mansions in Saint-Denis. Originally established in 1796, the house belonged to Jeanne Rosalie Houbert, who in the same year sold the house to a rich merchant. Through 1966, the mansion changed owners 16 times, and only since then has it become the Kichenin Mansion. The house features one floor covered with tin, two sheds, stables, two kitchens, a wood shop and a veranda. Today Maison Kichenin is a classic representation of the architecture of old creole mansions. Its courtyard has a wonderful fountain facing Rue La Bourdonnais.
Mosquée Noor-e-Islam

4) Mosquée Noor-e-Islam

Mosque Noor-e-Islam is a significant mosque in Saint-Denis as it is the oldest on the whole island. The Mosquée Noor-e-Islam's story starts in the early 1890s, as a result of the decision of Gujarat's traders to build a place to worship. On November 28, 1905 the mosque was inaugurated. Not surviving a fire in 1974, it was rebuilt completely in 1979, with a minaret 32 meters tall and weighing one ton as its main feature. Classic-styled, the mosque features a courtyard, a pool and a prayer room with a capacity of 500 seats. The mosque's interior design is predominantly white and green.
Temple Kalikambal

5) Temple Kalikambal

Temple Kalikambal is a Hindu temple located at the former entrance of Saint-Denis. This temple of great importance was built sometime in 1980 or earlier by a community of Indian merchants, being gradually enlarged and vividly decorated. Temple Kalikambal is a brightly colored example of Hindu culture and it is also one of the greatest landmarks of the city.
Chapelle Saint-Thomas-des-Indiens

6) Chapelle Saint-Thomas-des-Indiens

Chapelle Saint-Thomas-des-Indiens is an abandoned chapel built between 1860 and 1865, listed among Reunion's register of heritage places. It is situated right in front of Saint Michel College. The chapel features a gabled facade with a pediment crowned with a cross, and pilasters with Tuscan corners. The chapel's walls are made of stones which are bound with lime mortar and plaster and are covered with whitewash. Chapelle Saint-Thomas-des-Indiens combines the mystery and beauty of a simple chapel with a long history.
Église Saint-Jacques

7) Église Saint-Jacques

Église Saint-Jacques began in 1843 as a wooden chapel. Only on May 31, 1858 the church was consecrated as a fully basalt masonry of Neo-Gothic style, by Monsignor Maupoint. Small in size, but beautiful in architecture, the church has also a statue of Saint Jacques with some legends behind it. Église Saint-Jacques is one of the most charming religious buildings in the entire territory of Reunion.
Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de La Réunion

8) Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de La Réunion (must see)

Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de La Réunion is the Natural History Museum of Reunion, and in general the only museum of its kind in Reunion. It is located near the Jardin d'Etat, in a classic-styled edifice built in 1834. The museum opened on 14 August 1855 and is home to a collection of 42,000 pieces. More than half of the collection comes from the western Indian Ocean islands. The collection features among its rare exhibits a Greek duck, a male parrot, a Sooty Falcon and a ringneck Ward. There are also other rare birds, mammals and vertebrates of all kinds.
Jardin de l'État

9) Jardin de l'État (must see)

Also known as King's Garden, Jardin de l'État is the only botanical garden in Saint-Denis. The garden was established in 1761 by botanists Joseph Hubert, Nicolas Bréon and Jean-Claude-Michel Richard. The botanical garden hosts over 2000 species of plants and about 50 species of trees. In 1825, 7000 of the garden's plant species and seeds were given to the population in order to improve the their agriculture. Since 1978, the garden has been marked as a historical place of the city.
Musée Léon-Dierx

10) Musée Léon-Dierx (must see)

Musée Léon-Dierx is a museum of contemporary French art. The museum opened in 1912 under the order of Marius and Ary Leblond in the villa Manes. The museum's collection features works of modern Western art from mostly the 19th and the 20th centuries. The museum was begun from the funds of Ambroise Vollard, an art dealer. It is named in honor of the local poet Leon Dierx, and his bust is located right at the museum's entrance.
Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception

11) Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception

The Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception was built between 1867 and 1869. The Catholic church is a brick and stone masonry. Its front is situated on a two-level curved platform. The church features a wooden octagonal tower topped by a dome with iron columns. Chapelle de l'Immaculée Conception has a rich collection of stained glass windows designed by the studio of Charles Leveque à Beauvais. Installed in 1870, they recall scenes from life of Christ and St. Mary. In 1988 the church became a historic monument.
Rue du Maréchal Leclerc

12) Rue du Maréchal Leclerc

The main shopping street of the city, it includes several historical monuments such as the large market of Saint-Denis .

You can pick up: the mosque, the Shri Kali Kovil Kampal Tamil Temple and a Chinese Pagoda on the parallel Rue Sainte-Anne. Also on this street are the Petit and Grand Marchés, where the cosmopolitan spirit goes into overdrive, was people of all sorts of extractions, Indians, Madagascans, Creoles, rub shoulders and sell their wares.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Villa Déramond-Barre

13) Villa Déramond-Barre

The Villa Déramond-Barre is a significant Créolité villa built on the eve of the French Revolution and located on Rue de Paris. The villa's architecture features a symmetrical facade with its back covered with shingles. The villa was established on land that belonged to the East India Company, and was owned in 1814 by the Antoine Desforges Parny, the half-brother of the poet Evariste de Forges de Parny. It also was the house of the birth of poet Léon Dierx. Later the villa belonged to other owners, but now it has become the property of the Department.
Grand Marché

14) Grand Marché (must see)

Grand Marche is one of the most popular markets in Saint-Denis. It is not just a produce market: here you can buy things like wood handicrafts, woven baskets, needlework, T-shirts and other things that can help you remember you trip to Saint-Denis. Grand Marche is a must for those who want to become acquainted with culture and the arts as well as the flora and some of the fauna of Saint-Denis.