Travel Guide Africa Reunion Saint-Denis



st denis in the morning

st denis in the morning

© pakalito

Saint-Denis is the capital and largest city in Reunion and has about 150,000 inhabitants. It is located in the north of the island along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Saint-Denis was founded in 1669.and became the capital of Reunion in 1738. It is the administrative, cultural and economical hart of the island as well as being the main transportation hub. In fact, Saint-Denis has its own traffic problems, especially during rush hour. The city itself is a pleasant place to stay with some typical (of course) French influence. Imagine yourself tasting some fine french cheese and red wine in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is also a good place to base yourself exploring the nearby coastline and mountains, which Reunion is famous for.



Sights and Activities

The important sights all lie along the axis of Avenue de La Victoire and Rue de Paris and are very compact to one another, so it is recommend to go on foot. In the city center, brand new buildings are often interspersed with decaying ones. Along side the many properly well-appointed and the most representative buildings of the colonial style, there those with little more to interest the tourist than their "historical patina", often immediately next door.




Saint-Denis has a mild tropical climate with warm and humid weather year round. Temperatures average around 30 °C during the day between November and May and around 27 °C between June and October. Night temperatures are mostly around 22 °C, but around 18 °C from June to September. Saint-Denis has rain showers all year, but the August to December period is somewhat drier with less rainy days.



Getting There

By Plane

Roland Garros Airport (RUN) near Saint-Denis receives a number of international flights. The national carrier Air Austral has international flights to and from Antananarivo, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Lyon, Mahé, Marseille, Mauritius, Moroni, Nosy Be, Paris and Toulouse. Air France, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius and Corsairfly have scheduled services to the island as well.

The airport has a shuttle bus service that takes passengers directly to the main bus station, L'Ocean Terminal, in central Saint-Denis. Travel time is roughly 20 minutes.

Visitors can also travel by (expensive) taxi service or by renting a car from one of the several providers serving the airport.

There is another airport on Réunion, Pierrefonds Airport, near Saint-Pierre in the south of the island, offering flights to regional destinations in Mauritius and Madagascar.

By Car

The Route du Littoral, RN1, opened in 1976, connecting Saint Denis to the southwest of the island along the steep north coast. The route is subject to frequent rock slides, and remains hazardous, despite the protective barriers and safety nets. Route RN2 runs from Saint-Denis along the east coast of Réunion.

By Bus

The city of Saint-Denis is the terminus for several bus routes.

  • Route A, A1 (Express), and B: Saint-Denis - Saint-Paul - Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains - Saint-Leu - Saint-Louis - Saint-Pierre. Follows RN1 along the west coast. Approximately 90 minutes, €4.20.
  • Route B1, C1, and E: Similar to route A on the west coast, but terminating instead at Saint-Leu.
  • Route F (Express) and G: Saint-Denis - Sainte-Marie - Saint-Benoit. Follows RN2 on the north coast.

The buses run from around 04:30 on weekday mornings, but much later on Sundays and holidays, until 18:00, at hourly intervals.

The island's bus service is known as Car Jaune (Yellow Car, for their official color scheme). The central bus station of Saint-Denis is L'Océan Terminal. It is located by the beach, just a few meters east from the Barachois waterfront.

By Boat

The small harbor of Saint-Denis has no significant tourist interest. The international harbor serving the island is in Le Port.



Getting Around

The city centre is very compact and can be toured easily on foot. The central zone extends from Barachois near the coast, along the Avenue de La Victoire and its extension, Rue de Paris, until the Jardin de L'Etat. The pedestrian zone (Carré Piéton) is in the area around Rue Marchel Leclérc.

During business hours, traffic in central Saint-Denis can be chaotic, and parking places may be scarce, whereas on Sundays, the city may seem nearly deserted, with many businesses closed and shuttered.




For a quick bite, there are a number of snack shacks located at La Barschois, with a variety flavors represented (including McDonalds).




  • Hotel Le Mascareignes, 3 rue Laferierre (Near the central bus terminal L'Ocean), ☎ +262 21 15 28, fax: +262 21 24 19.
  • Hotel Mercure Creolia, 14 rue du Stade Montgaillard, ☎ +262 94 26 26, fax: +262 94 27 27. From €110.
  • Hotel Le Saint-Denis, 2 rue Doret, ☎ +262 21 80 20, fax: +262 21 97 41. From €110.



Keep Connected


See also International Telephone Calls

Reunion's country code is 262.

Few foreign mobile phone companies offer international roaming to Reunion so double-check before leaving. Your company should provide specific roaming to Reunion since it has different mobile phone companies from mainland France.

Alternatively, you should be able to get a Pay-as-you-go SIM card from various locations. There are two companies offering wireless services: SRR and Orange Réunion.


Post offices are found in all cities. Letter boxes are colored in yellow.In most Post Offices you will find an automatic machine (yellow) with a scale and a screen. Just put your mail on the scale, tell the machine (French or English) the destination, pay the indicated amount and the machine will deliver a printed stamp. Chronopost, UPS and DHL offer parcel services.



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This is version 7. Last edited at 8:58 on Nov 28, 18 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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