“Rester, C’est exister, Mais Voyager, C’est Vivre.”
Which means, “To be, is to exist, but to travel, is to live.”
Who wouldn’t agree with these beautiful words by Gustave Nadaud?
The last time I read this quote was on my way to the French Riviera of the East – Pondicherry. A place that was on my mind since college days when I tried and learnt the French words but could never memorise. It has been on my mind since the time I read someone write about the colourful architecture and beautiful beaches – two things that have always fancied me right from the time I started taking interest in traveling.
The quaint little town of Pondicherry/Puducherry is one of the most mesmerizing and charming places in South India and is a major tourist attraction for foreigners and locals alike, who are looking for a slow and relaxing trip. You will find the French influence in almost every part of Pondicherry, like I did.
Few days back I was in Pondicherry for the first time and had a wonderful stay. Since I wanted to cover a lot of places in and around Pondicherry, I could spend only 3D, 2N at this picturesque town.
Where did I stay?
Nestled in the beautiful White Town of Pondicherry, is a heritage hotel property of Hidesign, called – Le Dupleix. Striking a balance between the traditional and the modern, Le Dupleix is an 18th century French Colonial Villa, now restored and modernized. The hotel originally a residence of the Great French General, Nawab and Governor Marquis Joseph Francois Dupleix; is perfect for group travellers, couples and families.
The property has 14 rooms which includes Superior Rooms, Penthouse, Luxury Suite and Dulex. Each room has its individual character and oozes wooden charm and luxury. I stayed at the suite room which happens to be the space where the Governor spent his years working and writing. The room is an escape into the French life, art and heritage of old times; with a beautiful balcony overlooking the White Town streets.
My room was spacious and consisted of a huge wooden bed, a mezzanine floor up with beds for more people and a European style balcony. The corridors were warm and cozy and the swing bed right outside the room was just about perfect to laze around during day time reading a book.
The property offers a sense of comfort and warmth and sure to make you crave for more days in Pondicherry.
The hotel is in a prime location and easily accessible to the Promenade, Rock Beach, Lighthouse, Gandhi Statue, Aurobindo Ashram and the French quarters. You can be on foot and cover all the places easily in one day. Be sure to walk through the entire white town for quaint cafes and walls for a coffee or a photograph or two. To visit Auroville, keep half a day since it is a little away from the main city area.
Stay tuned for a complete story on ‘What to do in Pondicherry’ to be up very soon.
As I was in Le Dupleix, we had breakfast at their indoor restaurant called ‘The Governor’s Lounge’ with an extensive spread to choose from.
They also have a restaurant outside called – ‘The Courtyard’, which offers multi-cuisine food and an ambience under the night sky by an old mango tree which you will never forget. The restaurant offers the cosmopolitan culture of Pondicherry in its menu and has even won several awards.
While we were in Pondicherry, we also got a chance to walk through another property of Hidesign called – The Promenade which is one of the finest 5-star properties in Pondicherry and offers a scenic view of the beach and lighthouse. This luxury boutique hotel was once an old Railway Station building and has a French colonial exterior with ultra-modern minimalist interiors. There are Deluxe (Sea facing/non-facing) and Suite rooms in the hotel.
The hotel has a lounge pool, spa for a relaxed evening and four restaurants – BlueLine, Risque, Bay of Buddha, Lighthouse and The Storyteller’s Bar.
The Storytellers Bar will give you a different taste of Pondicherry and has several stories to tell. We typically loved the interior of this restaurant, take a look! (The entrance will feel like you are in a Harry Potter movie.)
The BlueLine is a 24-hour restaurant while Risque offers relaxed seating with a lounge bar. Bay of Buddha serves pan-asian cuisine paired with stunning view of the old Lighthouse.
So the next time you are in Pondicherry, don’t forget to check yourself in one of the two hotels and you wouldn’t be disappointed.