Port Louis by taxi and on foot

Guests from cruise ships calling at the island republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean may be amazed at the size of the port city of Port Louis. Mauritius' capital is a veritable large city with almost 146.000 inhabitants. In order to get a quick overview of the generally short stays in such unusual destinations, we recommend that our readers first take a taxi ride to the city's most important tourist destinations.

Discover Port Louis by taxi

Port Louis' taxi drivers specialize in showing short-term guests the city's main sights by taxi. We also take advantage of this offer and start at the cruise terminal with one of the taxis available. Soon after starting the journey we see the city skyline in front of us. A comparison with Frankfurt or London The buildings don't hold up; However, in relation to the country's low economic importance, the buildings still impress us. And there is no reason to shake your head: Mauritius is a tax haven flooded with financial flows from all over the world.

Mauritius - View of Port Louis

Mauritius - View of Port Louis

Kwan Tea Pagoda

The first landmark on our tour is the Kwan Tee Pagoda. We read that the building, built by the Chinese community in 1842, is the oldest pagoda in the southern hemisphere and Africa. The church is located near the cruise terminal in a garden surrounded by coconut trees. The namesake is Kwan Tee, the god of wealth, war and justice.

Port Louis - Kwan Tea Pagoda

Port Louis - Sculpture in front of the Kwan Tee Pagoda 

La Place d'Armes

The first stop in the city center is Place d'Armes. The former parade ground now lacks anything martial. The square is a green area lined with palm trees and surrounded by streets.

Port Louis - Place d'Armes

Government House

To the north we look at the harbor; in the other direction is the Government House, the parliament of the Republic of Mauritius. The representative building on Intendance Street dates from the late 1730s. It was built during the French rule period. The statue of Queen Victoria in the entrance area was created during the British mandate period.

Port Louis - Intendance Street

Port Louis - Government House 

China Town – the attractive district

More than half of Mauritius' residents have Indian ancestors who, along with Chinese, came to the country as indentured laborers after slavery was abolished. Chinese descendants only make up a small proportion of the country's total population. And yet Port Louis has a China Town. The special features of this small, busy district are the two friendship gates. We stop in front of one of them.

Port Louis - Friendship Gate in China Town

Mosque and Hindu temple

Jumma mosque

Next to China Town on Royal Road is the large Jumma Mosque, the city's most important Muslim place of worship. The inner courtyard may be visited outside prayer times, except on Fridays and during Ramadan.

Port Louis - Jumma Mosque

Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple

Next we see the Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple, whose decorative human and animal figures amaze us.

Port Louis - Sri Maryamen Hindu Temple

Central market

Next our driver heads for the city's central market. Up to 40.000 people visit the market halls every day. Food is sold in three out of four halls. In the last hall we could buy textiles, leather goods and other products. The market was founded under British aegis in 1840.

Port Louis - Central Market

St. Louis Cathedral

A stop at the Roman Catholic St. Louis Cathedral is mandatory. The history of the church was extremely eventful. Attempts were made several times in succession to build an appropriately sized Christian church in Port Louis. Cyclones destroyed the buildings shortly after completion. The last attempt proved to be stable. The church, built of rock, was completed in 1819. In 1847 the church was consecrated as an episcopal church. It underwent a fundamental renovation between 1928 and 1933. The last refreshment took place in 2007. In terms of design, it is similar to the episcopal churches in the Caribbean region.

Port Louis - St Louis Cathedral

Port Louis - Chancel of St. Louis Cathedral 

Champs de Mars Racecourse and Fort Adelaide

In the period between April and November, horse races take place regularly at the Champ de Mars racecourse, to the delight of racing enthusiasts on the island. On race days, more than 30.000 visitors come to the oldest horse racing track in the southern hemisphere. The first race started more than 200 years ago, in June 1812. The island had been taken over by Great Britain just two years earlier!

Port Louis - Champ de Mars racecourse

Above the racecourse, Fort Adelaide rises 70 meters above sea level. The fortress bears the name of Crown Princess Adelaide of Great Britain and Ireland. The citadel was built by the British between 1834 and 1840. The not overly large building was intended to protect the harbor of Port Louis in the event of a defense. In addition, fires occurring in the city area should be discovered as quickly as possible. In fact, from the height we enjoy an excellent view of the city and the surrounding landscape.

Port Louis - Citadel Fort Adelaide

Port Louis - Citadel Fort Adelaide 

Mary's Chapel Marie Reine de la Paix

From the citadel we could clearly see the Marian chapel “Marie Reine de la Paix”. Ten minutes later we are standing there. It takes 82 steps to climb to the monument, which stands in a small, well-maintained complex on the slopes of Signal Hill. The reward for the effort is once again a wonderful view of the city and the lush greenery of the surrounding hills. Construction work began in 1940. A year later the chapel was consecrated. Pope John Paul II celebrated mass there in 1989.

Port Louis - St. Mary's Chapel

Our final city tour

At our request, our tour ends in the city center at the Le Caudan Waterfront. From there we set off on our final city tour. From original commercial space, a high-quality and attractive business center with office space, a cinema, a casino, various duty-free shops, restaurants and bars was created on the Caudan Peninsula.

Port Louis - Le Caudan Waterfront

Port Louis - Le Caudan Waterfront 

Two postal museums

Blue Penny Museum

The Blue Penny Museum is housed in a building on the waterfront. The then British colony of Mauritius was the fifth country in the world to introduce postage stamps. In 1847, 500 red and blue Mauritius stamps were printed. Only a few of the stamps survived. Two copies are kept and displayed at the Blue Penny Museum. To protect the original stamps, they are only exposed to artificial light for five minutes per hour. Otherwise, we visitors get to see copies. However, they are made with an original printing plate.

Port Louis - Blue Penny Museum

Postal Museum

A second museum also has to do with postal services. It is the Postal Museum located on the waterfront.

Port Louis - Postal Museum

Aapravasi Ghat – the UNESCO World Heritage Site

A world-class memorial is the Aapravasi Ghat. In 2006, UNESCO added the former transit camp for Indian contract workers to its World Heritage List. It was established in 1849. – After slavery ended, Indians took over the work on the sugar cane plantations. The plantation workers signed up as indentured servants for five years. In this way they paid off their passage as well as their room and board. Aapravasi Ghat shows the working and living conditions of the workers at that time. Around 450.000 people passed through the camp.

Port Louis - Aapravasi Ghat transit camp

Port Louis - Aapravasi Ghat transit camp 

Mauritius Institute

Next to the Government House and the Prime Minister's office on La Chaussée Street is the Mauritius Institute Museum. Drawings and skeletal parts of the giant bird Dodo are kept in the museum. Dutch settlers have the dubious distinction of eradicating the flightless bird in the 16th and 17th centuries. In those times it was less about species protection and more about stuffed meat pots; although contemporary reports indicate the bird was apparently not a delicacy. Life-size replicas of the dodo can be seen in the museum's park.

Port Louis - Government House

Port Louis - Dodo plastic in front of Government House 

Les Jardins de la Compagnie

Before we take a taxi back to the cruise terminal, we visit Les Jardins de la Compagnie. Banyan and other tropical trees, statues and fountains decorate the city's most attractive park. It seems hard to imagine that the tranquil and well-kept park was originally created and operated as a kitchen garden by the French East India Company during colonial times.

Port Louis - Les Jardins de la Compagnie

Port Louis - Les Jardins de la Compagnie

Port Louis - Les Jardins de la Compagnie with statue

Port Louis - Les Jardins de la Compagnie with statue

Update March 2024