A Tour Of Pondicherry, India's French City

The famous yellow house of Pondicherry
The famous yellow house of Pondicherry | ©Flickr/jay8085
Nicole Figueiredo

Bounded by the state of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, commonly called ‘Pondy’ sits along the South Eastern coast of India. Colonized by the Dutch, the English and the French, the latter left the biggest impact here, by far. We guide you through the essential sights of this pretty little town.

The French Quarters

Cobbled streets, boutiques, cafés, a promenade and seafront; you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve ended up in France during your visit to Pondy.

Pondicherry’s famous Promenade

Unlike areas of Mumbai where the Victorian architecture merely reflects the city’s rich history, Pondy is a wonderful time travel experience to a completely different era.

Auro beach

If you hail from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or Chennai, a trip to Pondy acts as a pause from the daily flow of modern life, allowing for some much-needed introspection. Visiting Pondicherry helps you slow down and experience things one at a time. The town is divided into two distinct parts; the French part of the quiet town is towards the sea. This is where you can find the bright mustard and white colors of the French Quarter, and bursting bougainvillea alongside clean European-style streets.

Even though the charming town has limited tourist attractions, it makes up for it with the unique atmosphere and experiences it has to offer. Part of the vibe can be credited to Auroville and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which are not very far from the main town.

Auroville.

Most of the locals speak French and The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges church still celebrates mass in French once a week. The Botanical Garden, Pondicherry Museum, French War Memorial, gelato factory, and cafés serving French crêpes are some of the places you can visit during your stay. The promenade is a vehicle free zone daily between 5:30pm and 11:00pm, and a stroll in the evenings on the promenade is an excellent way of experiencing the real essence of Pondy; cycle tours are another great way to experience the town.

Eglise de notre Dame des Anges

Lifestyle blogger, Magali Vaz, visited Pondy to experience the charming town and for a fashion shoot. She says, “I enjoyed the beautiful lanes, the fresh food and the buildings and culture. I felt that the place was well organized and safe.” Joanna Lobo, a journalist with the Hindustan Times who hails from Goa and is a food lover mentioned that she went there primarily to explore the gastronomic options, while Bryna D’cunha Braganza, a PR professional who recently visited Pondy added, “The French influence is strong. The streets still have French names and some restaurants are owned by French nationals. The culture is an undiluted confluence of the Tamil and the French.”

A bakery/Boulangerie in Pondicherry, with the sign written in four languages

Ruth Sequeira, who works as a brand manager at the brand’s headquarters in Pondy says she always loves heading to the French town and has her favorites there. She likes to take a trip to the Solar Kitchen, which can be visited only when accompanied by an Aurovillean. She also enjoys the Bay of Buddha and Le Dupleix for the food, and a French café by the name Chocolate and Bread for their vegan chocolate.

A cinema, signage in French, Pondicherry

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

toast-message-image
close-ad
Edit article