Discover a rich French influence in Puducherry, where a tree-lined French Quarter reveals colonial-era villas, European boutiques and French restaurants. Nestled on the Bay of Bengal, Puducherry also boasts a laid-back seaside promenade that runs alongside sunbathing locals, iconic landmarks and engaging museums.
Things to do in Pondicherry
Begin your Puducherry holiday at the old French Quarter, where pastel-coloured villas meet French clothing stores, international dining establishments and hidden alleyway markets. The wider city centre showcases its Indian influence at family-run restaurants and the Grand Bazaar, which sells everything from handmade clothing and baskets to fresh produce. Duck into the Grand Bazaar Fish Market to pick up freshly-caught seafood.
Stroll alongside the 1.2-kilometre-long Promenade Beach to admire the rocky shoreline and calm Bay of Bengal waters. As you walk, you’ll pass numerous notable landmarks, including the French War Memorial, dedicated to the French India residents who died during the First World War. Keep an eye out for the 29-metre-tall Old Light House, which was built in the 1830s.
Discover the city’s rich religious traditions, starting with the Gothic-style Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which depicts Biblical scenes on stained-glass windows. Afterwards, check out the 18th-century Immaculate Conception Cathedral and admire the Portuguese-style architecture, golden Christ the King statue and the tombs of missionaries.
Get hands-on at the Puducherry Science Centre & Planetarium, where you can learn about various elements of science and space through interactive exhibits. If you need a break from the crowds, head to Bharathi Park and chill out among the stunning Greco-Roman architecture, seasonal flowers and ornate water fountains.
Getting around Pondicherry
Puducherry is serviced by Pondicherry Airport, which has domestic flights across India. The city’s flat streets offer ideal walking conditions, while you can also use the auto rickshaws or rent bicycles and motorbikes to get around.