Pondicherry Pinata

Tripoto
24th Sep 2017
Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello
Day 1

Pondicherry - a small French town on the East coast of India, in many minds draws parallels with the Western state of Goa. Not only does it survive almost completely on tourism, has similar climatic situations and were both reigned over by foreign powers for centuries, but also in huge part due to its present day reduced prices of alcohol, and the heaps of tourist related feels. This is a unique article as it presents a sneak peak into Pondicherry from the eyes of a Goan (yes the people of Goa are referred to as Goans and not Goanese or Goanites). Presenting a modest list of places & recommendations based on a minimum of 4 visits that I have made to this beautiful & calm beach town.

1) White Town, Pondicherry. The White town is the picture perfect French part of this tiny Union Territory. The brightly coloured walls and houses make for beautiful backdrops. All those Instagram posts of Pondicherry are mainly clicked as you stroll through this part of the town. Don't forget to click pics against the yellow, teal, peach & white walls.

2) Promenade Beach. This is the pathway built parallel to the coast at the  very end (or start 😜) of the White town & can quite crowded & busy in the evenings since it attracts a huge crowd of tourists and locals alike. As you walk or cycle down the road parallel to the Promenade you are caught between azure blue waters on one side & picturesque houses, murals and cafes on the other. Best to wake early & witness the sunrise as you bask in the morning light of the East Coast. Many photo opportunities are present as you walk down the street.

3) Église de notre Dame des Anges: Both the name & the beautiful Church are taken out of a Parisian Fairytale. Église is Church in French. This is the Our Lady of Angels Church situated in the French quarters. The building of this 150 (or so) years old Church unlike the white washed Churches of Goa (or Laterite red ones like Bom Jesus) is a beautiful peach color. The place is so clean & the interiors of the Church beautiful with natural light flitting across the body of the Church. Make sure to maintain silence & respect the religious sentiments of the people.

4)Sacred Heart Cathedral. Goa has the Basilica of Bom Jesus & the Se Cathedral whilst Pondicherry has 'La Basilique du Sacré Coeur'. This 120 year old Basilica with its gothic architecture and beautiful altar is grand in every way possible. Notice the inscriptions on the Pillars in front of the Church. I will put the Sunday Mass timings in the comments below for all those who might need it.

White town is actually very colourful

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

The Doors are prettier than a picture

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Mural on Promenade Street

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Still from Promenade Street

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Pretty Pictures all around

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Pondicherry

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Église de Notre Dame

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Interiors of the Church

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Église de Notre Dame - Inside the Church

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello

A look inside the Magnificent Church pf the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Photo of Pondicherry Pinata by Cecilia D'Mello
Day 2

Paradise Beach. To reach this pristine beach you have to take a Speed boat from the Chunnambar Boat House. To avoid getting lost, enter Chunnambar Boat House on Google Maps & not Paradise Beach. Once you reach here, you have to pay for entry to the lawn (about 20/-) & then about 300/- per person for a return journey to Paradise Beach. It may seem pointless to pay to enter a beach but it is quite worth it. The beach is absolutely beautiful, well maintained with showers & changing rooms and is the high light of any trip to Pondicherry. Carry water and some packet food (biscuits/chips) to avoid paying huge sums of money on the beach (the salt water will leave you famished).

Though I have included very few places to visit and left a number of places like Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville out of my list, I am putting in a whole section on the Cafés & Restuarants you must visit. As a complete foodie each of these places have been sampled on multiple occasions and are nothing short of amazing!

1) Don Giovanni
Set on the 4th floor at the end of Mission street it offers beautiful views of the city and the sea. The place serves the best Sun dried and tomato pizza in the world (Yes! I liked it far more than all the pizzas I gobbled up in Rome, Italy) The home made chocolate ice cream is sooo soulful, you will have to order another serving. It maybe difficult to find the entrance to the building (its located on the terrace of Hotel Corbelli - use Google Maps & ask around) but persevere and enjoy the best Beer - Pizza meal of your life! Lunch service closes at 3pm. The owner, an Italian lives in a bubble of his own though he always suggests the best dishes!

2) Cafe Des Arts
Cafe Des Arts is one of my favourite places in Pondicherry. The cafe is located in white town with beautiful mustard walls and amazing graffiti. Its completely out of a European coastal fairytale. The cafe encapsulates all of Pondicherry, the colours, the French history and the amazing food. The cafe offers delicious French food from salads to crepes. My personal favourite are the Ham & Tomato Crepes and the fresh smoothies. The Rickshaw art installation is an additional photo-opportunity. The Cafe is closed on Tuesdays. Also, keep in mind the annual summer break during the off season time of End May - Mid June.

3) Hide Design Cafe
Imagine eating in a Luxury Store! Now imagine sipping on a Corona in style. This Cafe is what makes this far fetched dream a reality, right here Pondicherry, India! This place surely gives you a story to tell!

4) Le Cafe on Promenade Street
I've watched the quality deteriorate in the last 4 years at this once happening place. I however still recommend this place since its open 24x7 and by virtue of its location right on the beach is a great place to chill away from the hot sun and at the same time see the moon traverse the sky at night.

5) Cafe Xtasi
Pondicherry is well known in India for their wood fired pizzas. This is another cafe with lovely views from the open-air section of this cafe.

6) Cafe Rendezvous
This is unlike the other places because of it Modern white interiors. The last time we were here we enjoyed some real awesome live singing. The food is a bit overpriced but we had fun.

One-liners

Hire a scooter - its the best way around the city (we paid around 3o0 - 500 rs a day)
Cycle on the Promenade - best time, early morning
Try & find a way to the top of the New Light house
Keep an eye on the unique uniforms of the Police officials
Francophones will find their hearts fluttering as you see sign posts & directions in French
Stay at any promenade facing hotels & chill in the balconies at night
A Book by the kilo space on Mission Street has pretty amazing books
Use your time to relax - we bought a facial kit at Fab India & relaxed!
Stay at an Air BnB in White Town

Entry Sign

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Paradise Beach

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Boat Ride to Paradise Beach

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Hitting the waves at Paradise Beach

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

The Sun dried Tomato Pizza & Beer, at Don Giovanni

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Don Giovanni Ambience

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

The Pretty Bicycle Rick at Cafe Des Arts

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

The Crepes at Cafe Des Arts

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Cafe Des Arts Interiors

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello
Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello
Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Clicked from our seats at Le Cafe on Promenade Beach

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

At Cafe Rendezvous

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello

Cafe Des Arts ????

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Cecilia D'Mello
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