Car rental in St. Denis
Rent a car in Saint Denis Réunion

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Renting a car in Saint Denis is the best way to fully explore the Réunion Island's cultural and natural trappings. Private taxis aren't pocket-friendly and the island's public transport system does not extend into the interiors which is why a rental car makes sense to save on time and money. Car rentals are available right at the airport, and cars can be dropped at your location if needed. Opt for a four-wheel drive to get off the coastal road and into the mountains and forest trails.

It's your choice: Where to go in Saint Denis Réunion

Stroll down the magnificent Rue de Paris for a glimpse of 19th century Creole houses such as Carrere House, the Deramond-Barre villa which is the birthplace of local poet Leon Dierx, and the resplendent Noor-e-Islam mosque that towers into the skies. Another remarkable gem that will appeal to culture enthusiasts is the Musee Leon Dierx where you can ogle at works by French masters Renoir, Gauguin and Cezanne, as well as a sculpture by Picasso. Bang in the town centre lies the Jardin de l'Etat, an oasis teeming with water fountains, over 1950 plant species and tranquil paths. The curious thing about this botanical garden is that none of the plant life flowers naturally on the island. At the back of the garden is the Natural History Museum which holds extinct and current fauna from the Indian Ocean Islands.

Things to do in Saint Denis Réunion

There're many things to do in Saint-Denis Réunion. The capital boasts a Christian cathedral, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a Buddhist pagoda all on one main avenue. How's that for harmony? When the sun shines bright, plan a trip to Maison Brasserie de Bourbon, Réunion's only beer brewery. A guided tour lets you in on the secrets of the iconic Dodo lager! Sundowners are best experienced at Le Barachois, an esplanade marked by its military canons pointing out to sea. Once you're done exploring the capital, drive down to the active Piton de la Fournaise volcano which can be seen from designated viewpoints. It is also the island's highest point at 2632 metres. Cool down with a scuba dive at any of the schools in Saint Paul or Saint Pierre, both west coast towns are easily accessible by car.

Important info about Saint Denis Réunion

Located on the northern tip of the island, Saint Denis enjoys its location between the Indian Ocean and a mountain that towers behind it. Known locally as prefecture de Saint Denis Réunion, this financial and administrative capital city was founded in 1669 by Etienne Regnault. Today, the capital is a short drive from the Roland Garros International Airport which welcomes holiday guests disembarking from the Paris to Saint Denis Réunion flights. The city reports a tropical monsoon climate with humidity and rains between December to April, and a relatively dry season for the rest of the year. Local Creole dishes are drenched in ginger, garlic, onions and chillies, and can be sampled in meat, seafood and vegetable preparations. For the less adventurous palates, Western-style food is available aplenty. Rent a car to best savour this French overseas city.

Weather in Saint Denis Réunion
Country Saint Denis Réunion
Language French
Currency euro
Time-Zones CET
Country Code +33

Good to know

The island which is a French overseas department requires that drivers possess an international driving permit, or a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) driving licence. A minimum age of 23 is required (needs to be checked). Just like in France, you'll need to drive on the right side of the road. Seat belts have to be worn at all times, and headsets and phone usage while driving is strictly forbidden. There aren't too many restrictions on parking, and signage is in French and English. Roads are relatively safe but you'll need to watch out for warnings of volcanic lava overflows. As some roads are sometimes mountainous with sudden curves, it's best to drive cautiously. Speed limits vary but are clearly marked. Hiring a car in Saint Denis will let you access the rest of the island quickly.

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What to taste in Saint Denis Réunion

Don't miss out on classic Creole dishes that reflect a fiery melange of Indian, Chinese, French and African influences. Noteworthy dishes are the goat meat 'cabri massale', and caris (curries) and civets (stews) made from chicken, duck, pork and shellfish. Look out for restaurants that offer buffet-style dining in order to sample specialities such as rougail sausage, vanilla duck, etc. The Barachois is your best bet to sample local snacks such as the Indian-inspired samosa , and the Chinese-inspired bouchon (meat-wrapped pastry). For desserts, try macaroons and gateau patate (sweet potato cakes), and wash it down with the local Dodo beer (served in a cute medicine-shaped bottle), or local rum. Do not leave Saint Denis without sampling its luscious litchis, pineapples and mangoes. Not just Creole, you can also dig into sushi Saint Denis Réunion , Vietnamese, Lebanese, Moroccan and other world cuisines here.

What to bring to your friends from Saint Denis Réunion

Saint Denis offers a choice in unusual souvenirs which are testament to the imagination of local artisans. Choose from volcanic memorabilia (mineral rich face packs and pumice stones), tortoise shell jewellery, coconut carvings, potpourri, essential oils like vetiver and geranium, key chains and ash trays many of which depict local island life. A good starting point for souvenir shopping would be the colourful Grand Marche in downtown Saint Denis which offers wares from the Indian Ocean region, Madagascar and Mauritius included. The market is a treasure trove of Malagasy handicrafts, fragrant spices and knick knacks. The friendly stall sellers are quite willing to bargain. Allow your friends a taste of the tropical white rum - it's possible to purchase special white rum gift packs. Popular imagery on Réunionnais gifts include the island's unofficial mascots namely the Dodo bird and the gecko.