Un petit coin de paradis : un jardin au coeur de la ville
Pondicherry (generally referred to as ‘Pondy’) was under French rule until 1954 and some people here still speak French (and English with French accents).
Hotels, restaurants and ‘lifestyle’ shops sell a seductive vision of the French-subcontinental aesthetic, enhanced by Gallic creative types whose presence has in turn attracted Indian artists and designers. Thus Pondy’s vibe: less faded colonial-era ville, more a bohemian-chic, New Age–cum–Old World hangout on the international travel trail.
The older part of this former French colony (where you'll probably spend most of your time) is full of quiet, clean, shady cobbled streets, lined with bougainvillea-draped colonial-era townhouses numbered in an almost logical manner. The newer side of town is typically, hectically South Indian.
Part of the vibe stems from the presence of the internationally famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot just out of town, Auroville, which draw large numbers of spiritually minded visitors.
Enjoy the shopping, the French food (hello steak!), the sea air and plenty of yoga and meditation.
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