The name "Saint Paul Habitation of French" is mentioned for the first time on Bourbon Island map attributed to Stephen Knight Flacourt, naturalist training, chosen by the Company East Indies as commander, on behalf of His Majesty the King of France, in the island of Madagascar and adjacent islands 1649 at 1654. It appears in a book by between Flacourt 1654 and 1658, entitled : History of the Great Isle of Madagascar, 1publishing era 1658 in Paris at the printer François Clouzier.

Flacourt Drew, or did draw, this card from him relate stories 12 Contractual Company working in Fort Dauphin (Madagascar) since 1643. These 12 men coming up against their leader, Jacques gushing, predecessor of Flacourt, were sentenced to exile on the island Mascarenhas. They are led and abandoned towards the end of the year 1646 on the East coast.

From there they will make a complete tour of the island during the following two years. By order of Flacourt, the 12 mutineers are brought back to Fort Dauphin in September 1649, perfectly healthy what appeared surprising after almost three years of isolation in Bourbon. Sometime later, Flacourt in turn faced the Fort Dauphin to criminal behavior problems from some settlers headed a color high personage, Antoine Couillard.

As was the case for 12 mutineers 1646, Couillard, 7 French and other 6 Madagascans are led by the ship Bourbon Bear in September 1654. The boat's deposit in the place Flacourt called "St. Paul Habitation of French" where they will stay until June 1658. A "house" is in the vocabulary of the time zone setting crops, this is actually a single farm as well as refers to the commander.

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  • Pays: France
  • Department : The meeting
  • Surface : 241,28 km2
  • Population : 103 916. (2011)
  • Name of inhabitants : St. Paulois
  • Code postal : 97460.
  • Change : Euros

St. Paul Office of Tourism:

In the heart of the seaside resort 1, place Paul Julius Bénard 97434 Saint Gilles Les Bains Open 7 days 7 10h-13h and 14h-18h

Explore the city

To discover

Cave of the first French

The cover of the first inhabitants

After two temporary occupations 1646 at 1649 and of 1654 at 1658, the final settlement of Bourbon begins in St. Paul, in November 1663.

Parties of the French colony of Fort Dauphin in Madagascar, Louis Payen and his unknown companion come to settle on the deserted island with ten Madagascan servants (including three women). They bring tools, seeds and livestock. With the naturally hospitable bay for ships and attracted by freshwater waterfall near the shore, they attach to the back of the sand coastal strip, at the foot of the mountain slope, near a cave between Ravine Bernica and Cap of Marianne.

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The marine cemetery

The marine cemetery was located on St. Paul's Bay site, First settlement by the French island of Reunion (then called Bourbon Island).

A fascinating place

Created in 1788 "In the arid sand of our strikes, under the dandelions, the noise of the seas " (Charles Leconte de Lisle, the Manchy), this cemetery is registered as a historic monument since 2011.

Through a mixture of unmarked graves and famous family vaults, we rediscover the multicultural aspect makes the richness of the island. Former settlers of Bourbon, forbans, landowners, Chinese and Indian indentured, sea-going, politicians, famous poets, humble or unknown ... A walk through the "Corporation belly up" (Prosper Eve, Cemeteries Reunion, 1994) which takes us back in the history of the pioneers.

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The showman of St. Paul Market

Considered one of the most beautiful island, the open market of St. Paul is a must.

During her visit, by the seaside, you will be immersed in the atmosphere Creole, Full of flavor and extraordinary local scents. You will find not only handmade products from here and elsewhere, but also many spices, delicious exotic fruits and countless varieties of vegetables.

During your walk, you can taste Creole specialties, such as caps, samoussas, sarcives peppers and other sweets. Small snacks are at your disposal if you want to pause lunch and sample the cuisine "péi" : caris, coconut chicken, rougail sausage and other dishes ...

To you to discover the wonders of this charming market, Typical and colorful, which is waiting for you !

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the Maido

Located at 2 000 m d’altitude, the Piton Maido is one of the most spectacular views of the whole island.


The town of Saint-Paul in the West of Reunion has an exceptional natural heritage on its coast but especially in its heights. Frequented by thousands of tourists every year, the natural site of Maido, declared World Heritage by UNESCO and located in the heart of the 9th French National Park, surprisingly diversity of vegetation and the unique view of Mafate.

The entire site is full of nature equipped areas for picnic, marked hiking trails, outdoor recreation, lodges and good Creole tables. One hour drive from Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and more 2 000 meters, Piton Maido is a must and huge discovery site deserves a day or weekend. A unique chance to see the chaotic Mafate, only circus of Reunion Island off the world without road access. Only hiking is there.

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Museum of Villele

The Historical Museum of Villele, was created by the Department of Réunion 1974 a vast colonial mansion, the former home-Panon Desbassayns. The area evokes the prosperity of a Creole family that has marked the history of Reunion the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is the only museum that traces the history of slavery in Réunion.

The property was one of the largest land holdings of the island and developed primarily between the gullies of Saint-Gilles and Hermitage. Figurehead, controversial character of Reunion Story, Madame Desbassayns (1755-1846) administered with firmness this great domain characteristic of Reunion plantation economy. The museum today is a vast architectural very diversified, which restores the living environment of this rich bourgeois family, and his slaves, who lived on the property for more than one hundred and eighty years. Two successive dynasties it, the Panon Desbassayns during the first half of the nineteenth century and their descendants, until the Villèle 1973.

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Discover also

  • The city center
  • Town Hall Square
  • Museum of Villele
  • Route Hubert Delisle
  • craft village of the Spur
  • The outdoor theater
  • Church of conversion
  • the Landing
  • Hotel Lacay
  • Villa River
  • The house Serveaux
  • House Great Court
  • La Longère
  • The paved path Lougnon
  • The Watermill - Tour des Roches



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