Destination Guide: Saint-Denis
Untamed lava lands, tropical sands and delicious cuisine
La Réunion's beach resorts offer respite from the island's mountains, forgotten forests and a still-smouldering volcano.
Breakfast on croissants, snack on seafood. Restaurants along l'Avénue de la Victoire serve fish dishes fusing French, Arabic and African flavours. Smoky sausage rougail- spiked with lemon and pistachio - is an island favourite.
Cool off by the coast or get active inland. Laze on west-coast beaches or soak in healing hot-water springs. Soothed and ready for action? Sparks fly at the active Piton de la Fournaise volcano in the south-east. Hike the central, primitive Cirques rainforests, stopping at thundering waterfalls for a breather. Adrenalin-junkies go west for surfing and to dive the deep blue at St Leu; inland, rural villages offer tranquil hospitality.
Take home a taste of the tropics. Buy wicker baskets from the Grand Marché on Rue du Maréchal-Leclerc and fill with coral and bamboo handicrafts. Beyond the market, the Rue's shops are Saint-Denis' best for French fashions. Drive south-west to St Paul's market for vanilla and rum.
Bask in balmy tropical nights. Sip sweet rum ti'punch at lively beach bars lining the western Sunshine Coast. Glitzy Boucan Canot has the pick of endroits to see and be seen. Head south to St Pierre for a party atmosphere.