Experience the French Riviera in India: Weekend trip to Pondicherry

Rows of colonial houses mostly painted in white or yellow with typical wooden doors and windows, vines of Bougainvillea climbing the walls, clean streets, the cold moist wind from the sea gushing to your face, rays of rising sun making the water in the sea glisten. This is how I remember Pondicherry.

Beautiful rise at Promenade

Needless to say, Pondicherry is a unique place, different from the rest of the country. What makes this place so unique is the existence of different cultures and believes in complete harmony. In my experience, Pondy is divided into 3 different parts. A part of the city will take you back in time with its impeccable French colonial settlement another part represents typical Indian town and yet another part which is all about spirituality.

Pondicherry is one of the best weekend getaways from Bangalore (also other cities like Chennai). It’s a perfect place if you are looking for relaxation, good food, a great view of the sea and some spiritual break.

Although this place has many attractions to offer, but in this blog, we will focus more on experiencing the old-world charm of Pondicherry,

How to reach Pondicherry 

Situated at a distance of 356 km from Bangalore and 165 km from Chennai. The city is well connected by road. There are frequent buses from Bangalore. The nearest railway station from Pondicherry is Villupuram, which is 35 km away from the town. The nearest airport with good connectivity is Chennai.

Where to stay –Pondicherry offers a good selection when it comes to staying options. Best economy accommodations in Pondicherry include basic homestays to high-end premium properties and resort, not to forget the colonial buildings which are converted into hotels. However, if you want to soak yourself into the old-world charm of Pondicherry, then look no further and select one of the hotels in the white town, near the promenade beach. During one of our visits, we stayed in the 18thCentury mansion hotel “Hotel De L’Orient”. A quaint building which is renovated to suit modern requirements. It was surely a great experience.

Hoel D’Lorient

Where to Eat – The white town itself has many eateries including the ones that offer authentic European Cuisines.

What to See – Although Pondicherry offers a variety of attractions to cater to all kinds of tourists. But if you are travelling just for the weekend and really like to experience and explore the French settlement. then you should not miss below.

Walking tour of the French Colony 

The quaint houses in the white colony are absolutely stunning and a total feast to the eyes. These colonial buildings with beautiful doors offer a great photo opportunity to. Most of the houses are now converted into boutique hotels, restaurants and boutique stores. Take time out early morning for a walking tour or bicycle tour.  Also, go to a       restaurant-hopping spree during the evening.

beautiful colonial houses

Promenade, MG Road 

Every time we visit Pondicherry, we make sure not to miss the Sunrise at the Promenade. Mighty ocean against the backdrop of the pink sky and rocky beach creates the magical and soothing effect. Evenings at Promenade are equally cheerful with everyone gathered around the beach and enjoying themselves.

Gandhi statue at Promenade

Aurobindo Ashram 

Aurobindo Ashram is what makes Pondicherry popular across the globe, amongst those looking for Spiritual enlightenment. During the early half of the 20th century, Sri Aurobindo stayed at the Aashram along with his disciples and Mirra Alfassa, the mother of the ashram. The Ashram has founded the idea of peaceful co-existence, which is practiced in the Auroville Township. It’s always a good idea to visit the Ashram early morning, even if you are not spiritually inclined. Ashram can be visited from 8 in the morning to 12 noons, or from 2 in the afternoon to 6 in the evening.

Aurobindo Ashram, white town

Enjoy the shopping in white town & Around

You can explore the street shops for some really nice stuff. Don’t forget to check out the factory outlet of Hidesign (Since hidesign has their factory in Pondicherry) you can get some nice bags at good prices. The boutique shops in white town offer some unique jewelries, scarfs and dresses.

Pondicherry is a lot more than your average holiday destination. And visiting Pondicherry every time is an equally blissful experience for us.

Shops in white town

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42 thoughts on “Experience the French Riviera in India: Weekend trip to Pondicherry

  1. Very informative blog, almost took me back to some of the blissful memories i had of this wonderful destination. As a blogger, you have done an excellent job of describing Pondicherry’s beauty and its uniqueness amidst India’s already vast diversity.
    Would have loved to get more information on the different cuisines on offer, especially in the French colony. Delicacies and breads on offer in some of the French bakeries in this region are a stuff of legend! 🙂

  2. Ppondicherry looks like very cool place to visit! I never knew about it but it sounds very interesting. I really complexity of the post, and I’m glad to have a new destination to look forward to

  3. India is on our list but I’ve never heard of Ppondicherry. It looks awesome! This guide is super useful too so definitely pinning it for later. Your pictures are so beautiful!

  4. This looks so lovely! I never knew that there was a French Riveira area in India. Would definitely love to visit here – the promenade looks really cool!

  5. I have never heard of Pondicherry but it sounds like a gorgeous place to spend some time. Your descriptions and pictures make it hard to resist wanting to book a holiday there!

  6. What a lovely area in India. I especially would like the walking tour of the French Colony. The architecture is so beautiful and great for photo-ops 🙂

  7. I literally felt a sense of peace and calm wash over me as I was reading your description of Pondicherry. It sounds like the perfect getaway for a quiet retreat away from the big city. I’d love to visit one day.

  8. I was just saying that I am fascinated by how India is its own microcosm of cultures. It is just amazing how much variation and beauty there is packed into one country. It seems like you can really get a taste of the whole world there.

  9. Wow this places looks amazing. I had no idea this was in India. Seriously India just keeps on surprising me. Will add it to my India places to visit list. Thanks for sharing

  10. What a charming looking place. I was recommended to visit Pondicherry when I last visited India, but thought it was just going to be another chaotic city. From your photos, now I wish I had visited. I’d love to watch the sunrise, then stroll around the old quarter. Looks stunning!

  11. India is so fascinating. I’m always discovering new places that I need to visit. I love small towns like this.

  12. I’m longing to visit Pondicherry after reading your post! The colourful houses along the coast are so pretty. I’d love to spend my time checking out the various cafes and walking around.

  13. Pondicherry is a nice place to visit. I was there last year and totally loved the peace of Serenity Beach. Its amazing to wake up to the sunrise from a beach resort.

  14. Looks like a beautiful city, we visited India with our 3 kids in 2017 but we only made it to Jaipur and Agra, we would love to return one day and see a bit more of the amazing country.

  15. Oh this brings back the memories! I´ve been to this part of India long time ago and i absolutely loved it. Pondicherry has a special vibe, I hope i have the chance to visit again some day. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  16. I too enjoyed my time in Pondy and didn’t miss the sunset, although I loved the sunset of Paradise more, quiet & cleaner beach for me 🙂

  17. The first time I heard of Pondicherry was Life of Pi. It looks like a lovely weekend getaway. The Promenade looks lovely

  18. Wow I had no idea this place even existed! My husband and I really want to visit India, and the more I research, the longer our trip is going to have to be!! Pondicherry REALLY looks exactly like the French Riviera! Wonderful article!

  19. I have heard of Pondicherry before but i never thought it was such a wonderful place! You have described it very well and have also given a lot of information on it. I would lov to visit Pondicherry one day

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