The old French colonial city, Pondicherry sits on the south east coast of India in the region of Tamil Nadu. There is a strong European feel in the French Quarter of this coastal town, with iconic mustard coloured buildings and long broad streets.
It is easy to forget you are in India and not in France, especially when Indians are trying to talk to you in French! Due to the ban on cars and slight lack of things to do and see, the French Quarter is pleasantly quiet and relaxing to walk around.
Thanks to it’s mixed history, there are several elaborate cathedrals in Pondicherry. In a colourful array of wedding cake colours, they are very different and unique in their own way.
Unfortunately the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has had a bit of a turbulent past. It’s been demolished by the French, Dutch and the British and consequently had to be rebuilt four times over the past 300 years. As it is now, the egg-shell-blue and cloud-white cathedral was built in 1791 in classical Portuguese style (and still standing!)
Near the train station proudly stands the brown and white Sacred Heart Church. It was built in 1907 and looks stunning in the late afternoon sunshine. It’s a catholic church designed in the Gothic style.
There is a distinct Indian theme running through the décor with vibrant coloured stained glass windows and dare I say slightly tacky ornaments!
Notre Dame de Anges sits pretty in pink and cream colours facing the Pondicherry sea front. Built in 1858 and known for its marble like texture walls inside, made from the finest limestone and egg whites (yes egg whites!) The colours and patterns inside the cathedral are subtle and romantic in the traditional French style.
If you are in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is a lovely place to have a taste of France in India. Baguettes, cheese and fresh coffee are a nice break from the usual vadas and idlis!
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