Cour d’Appel (Court of Appeals), erected in 1766 as the Hôtel de la Marine. Avenue Goubert.
We begin our tour of Pondicherry in the Ville Blanche, or White Town. This is the town the French built, and it as Gallic and Mediterranean as it can be, thousands of miles away from Marseille.
Most of the buildings here date from the mid-1800s, after the British razed the city in one of the many skirmishes between the French and the British to claim ownership of the city.
French town itself is small, extending only four blocks deep from the waterfront. The streets here maintain their French names, and are remarkably pleasant, lined as they are with verdant trees and low-rise colonial edifices.
There aren’t monuments per se, but the city contains the typical trappings of a French colony – civic and commercial institutions like a public library, public works department, schools and a cercle sportif – the equivalent of the gentleman’s club in les regions francophones.
Our walk first takes in Avenue Goubert – the city’s lovely though a tad sleepy waterfront boulevard – from end to end. We dive into the heart of the French Quarter, around the former Place du Gouvernement, today’s Bharathi Park. Finally, we hunt down civic institutions and vieilles maisons françaises (old French houses) along the main streets.
L’Alliance française (situated in the former Maison Colombani).
Ajantha Sea View Hotel
Notre Dame Des Anges (1855)
Interior of the Cathedral.
War Memorial (1937)
La Douane (Customs House).
Le phare (Lighthouse, 1835)
Messagéries Maritimes (1862)
French Consulate, dates from the late 1700s.
Institut Français du Pondichéry
Autour du Place du Gouvernement
Park Monument (1863), in the former Place du Gouvernement (today’s Bharathi Park)
Chambre de Commerce (1849)
Former Banque de l’Indochine (1875), today’s UCO Bank.
Legislative Assembly (Former Medical College, 1863)
Cercle de Pondicherry (1899)
Governor’s Palace (1768), formerly the headquarters of the French East India Company.
L’École Française d’Extrème Orient, Rue Dumas
Lycée Français (1826), Rue Victor Simon
Bibliothèque Publique (1827) – public library
The Manakkula Vinayagar Temple in the French Quarter dates from before the French arrived in 1666. It is the only Hindu Temple in the French Quarter.
Travaux Publiques (1766) – Public Works Department
École primaire – primary school
Administration Générale Inspection du Travail
Foyer du Soldat
Jardins Botaniques (1826)
Palais de Mahé
Rue de Bussy
Vielle maison française
Golconde, the Modernist dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, built in 1942.
Vieille maison française belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Society.