In the shadows of the Pieter Both and Le Pouce mountain peaks lies Port Louis, the capital, economic hub and largest city in Mauritius. Although it was devastated by diseases in the 18th and 19th centuries, the city has bounced back to become one of the most charming and interesting in the region. From the bustling Chinatown to the quaint colonial buildings, famous market and vibrant streets, the capital is sure to delight even the most well-traveled visitors.
Many museums offer educational entertainment throughout the city. The Blue Penny Museum is a popular favorite, outlining the history of the exploration, settlement and colonization of the island. By far the best museum in Port Louis, the collection includes an incredible selection of engravings, maps and photographs from the country’s past. Two of the rarest stamps in the world are also on display, both worth millions of dollars. The stamps are only lit for observation for ten minutes every hour, so time your visit appropriately.
Across from the Municipal Theater is the Photography Museum, a project founded by Tristan Breville, a local photographer. Breville cultivated a mass of old prints and cameras produced in the country during the mid-19th century, and there is a large collection of historical photos of the island.
The clicking and clatter of mahjong tiles can be heard throughout Port Louis’ Chinatown. The Royal Street district is filled with groceries, restaurants, and shops that make visitors feel like they are really in China.
The country’s most important mosque, the Jummah Mosque, welcomes visitors every day but Fridays and is a lovely blend of Creole, Indian and Islamic architecture. Built in the 1850s, the grounds include a peaceful inner courtyard that provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Another important religious site is the shrine of Père Laval, a French Catholic missionary and priest who converted nearly 70,000 Mauritians to Christianity during the 19th century. Pilgrims from all faiths visit the shrine on the September anniversary of his death each year, and his tomb has been rubbed smooth by the hands of the faithful searching for miracle cures. A large modern church sits next door, and there is a small exhibition of the priest’s photographs, robes, letters and mitre.
Just outside the capital is a former sugar estate that is now home to the cultural and heritage center Domaine Les Pailles. Horse-drawn carriages, jeeps and trains take visitors through the traditional sugar mill, rum distillery and spice garden, and the upscale restaurants on-site are some of the best in the country.
There are many attractive parks in the city, but the Company Gardens are the most enchanting. Characterized by an abundance of benches, fountains, statues and vast banyan trees, the park is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.
Some of the best views of the capital can be enjoyed from the top of Fort Adelaide, commonly known as the Citadel. Designed to resemble a Moorish fortress, the fort was constructed by the British and sits on one of the city’s largest hills. It takes only about ten minutes to make the climb, and the views are certainly worth the effort.
Port Louis Geographical Location
Port Louis is located in the northwest of Mauritius on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is its largest city and has a population of approximately 150,000.
Port Louis Language
Creole is the most commonly spoken language in Mauritius but English is the official language.
Port Louis Predominant Religion
- 48% Hindu
- 24% Roman Catholic
- 16.5% Muslim
- 8.5% Other Christian
- 3% Other
Religion is a central focus of many of Mauritius’ cultural events.
Port Louis Currency
The Mauritian Rupee is the official currency of Mauritius.
Port Louis Climate
Port Luis is usually warm during the winter and hot during the summer months. Rain is heaviest during the summer but precipitation is common throughout the year.
Port Louis Main Attractions
- Aapravasi Ghat
- Pere Laval’s Shrine
- Jummah Mosque
Other Attraction in Port Louis
- China Town
- Natural History Museum
- Caudan Waterfront
- St Louis Cathedral