Le Quartier Français, Pondichéry

1 - Cour d'Appel 1766

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.

Avenue Goubert

2 - Alliance Francaise (Maison Colombani)

L’Alliance française (situated in the former Maison Colombani).

3 - Waterfront VIII

Waterfront residences.

4 - Waterfront I - Ajantha Sea view

Ajantha Sea View Hotel

5 - Waterfront III

Colonial edifice.

6 - Waterfront IV

Colonial edifice

7 - Waterfront V

Waterfront facades

8 - Notre Dame Des Anges (1855)

Notre Dame Des Anges (1855)

9 - Notre Dame Interior

Interior of the Cathedral.

10 - War Memorial 1937

War Memorial (1937)

11 - Douane

La Douane (Customs House).

12 - Lighthouse 1835

Le phare (Lighthouse, 1835)

13 - Messageries Maritimes 1862

Messagéries Maritimes (1862)

14 - Waterfront VII

Colonial facades

15 - French Consulate late 1700s

French Consulate, dates from the late 1700s.

16 - Institut Francais du Pondicherry

Institut Français du Pondichéry

Autour du Place du Gouvernement

17 - Place du Gouvernement - Park Monument 1863

Park Monument (1863), in the former Place du Gouvernement (today’s Bharathi Park)

18 - Chambre de Commerce (1849)

Chambre de Commerce (1849)

19 - UCO Bank - Banque Indochine 1875

Former Banque de l’Indochine (1875), today’s UCO Bank.

20 - Legislative Assembly (Former Medical College 1863)

Legislative Assembly (Former Medical College, 1863)

21 - Cercle de Pondicherry 1899

Cercle de Pondicherry (1899)

22 - Governors Palace 1768

Governor’s Palace (1768), formerly the headquarters of the French East India Company.


23 - Ecole Francaise Dextreme Orient Rue Dumas

L’École Française d’Extrème Orient, Rue Dumas

24 - Lycee Francais 1826 Rue Victor Simonel

Lycée Français (1826), Rue Victor Simon

25 - Bibliotheque Publique 1827 Rue Romain Rolland

Bibliothèque Publique (1827) – public library

26 - Manakkula Vinayagar Temple (from before 1666)

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.

27 - Travaux Publiques 1766

Travaux Publiques (1766) – Public Works Department

28 - Ecole Primaire

École primaire – primary school

29 - Inspection du travail

Administration Générale Inspection du Travail

30 - Foyer du Soldat

Foyer du Soldat

31 - Jardins Botaniques 1826

Jardins Botaniques (1826)

32 - Streets II - Palais de Mahe

Palais de Mahé

33 - Rue de Bussy

Rue de Bussy

34 - VMF

Vielle maison française

35 - Golconde 1942

Golconde, the Modernist dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, built in 1942.

36 - Sri Aurobindo Society

Vieille maison française belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Society.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Sociology & Urban Studies, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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