Pondicherry: French Riviera of the East
Affectionately known as Pondy, Pondicherry sure is known for its large boulevards, brightly painted houses surrounded by high compound walls laden with bougainvillea, streets, clean and well laid out, with French name plates, colonial buildings, gothic churches, classic heritage monuments, pristine beaches, serene backwaters, expansive gardens and of course delicious authentic French cuisine. But, French Riviera of the East, it isn’t quite, with the smell of merde wafting around or the occasional sight of local characters qui faisent de toilette in public view or the sewer like canal that divides the town into its Ville Blanche or ‘White town’ and Ville Noire or ‘Black Town’.
The best way to start your Pondi experience is to walk. Walk to Le café, on the Promenade. From here, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), organizes a Heritage Walk, through Pondy’s French historical monuments and also through its Tamil quarters. Do not miss this! The walk begins at 4.00 PM. Plan to reach a little early so that you can also enjoy a cup of coffee looking on the sea.
After all that walking if you have an extra day, get yourself dropped off at Chunnambar for a ferry ride to a beautiful expanse of clean beach and see through water, blue sky touching blue water with foamy milky waves that flows so beautifully. You will not not see such clean beaches very often on the Coromandel coast. You can spend a whole day here!