Almost two hundred years of French occupation have resulted in a distinct beautification of Pondicherry. The White Town area of Pondicherry is also known as the French Quarter and one could not be at fault if one thought of being in Montpellier or Bordeaux. Many of these structures in the French Quarter of Pondicherry are colonial buildings and were built by the French during their rule. Some of the buildings in White Town have been deemed as heritage sites and are breathtakingly beautiful.
Photographs from French Quarters (White Town area) in Pondicherry
Pondicherry is also lovingly called Pondi by local Tamilians and Chennai inhabitants for whom it is a weekend destination.
Pondicherry’s French Quarter is laid out in a grid pattern, with parallel streets cutting across each other at right angles. I have been told thats exactly how it is in French cities as well.
If you are a first time tourist to Pondicherry, you might well wonder what the fuss about French architecture is all about! Pondicherry is a bustling town now and resembles all metropolitan cities. The French Quarter or White Town area is the part located close to the seaside promenade facing Bay of Bengal.
The French Quarter or White Town area in Pondicherry is filled with elegant colonial mansions in the midst of tree lined boulevards, named on French streets beginning with ‘rue’, numerous parks and charming cafés. (Rue in French roughly translates to street.)
The houses in the French Quarter area are adorned with shuttered windows and in colourful façades that wouldn’t look out of place in Paris. Enjoy the slideshow showcasing pretty frames.
French is still spoken among the older residents who live in Pondicherry and proceedings seem to be caught in a time warp when I came across old French buildings with their original names converted into Government offices of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Cafés of Pondicherry are a must visit attraction for the quirky graffiti and pretty interiors.
Elegant and tall French doors adorn the exterior and interior of many buildings. The best way of exploring the heritage French architecture is by slow travelling in Pondicherry and going on many aimless and leisurely walks.
Since I spent more time in Auroville than in Pondicherry, I also explored these streets on a rented scooty that cost only 100 Rupees per day! Highly recommend this idea if you are short on time. Make sure to ride slowly though and enjoy the sights around!