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Introducing Flic en Flac

As wonderful and whimsical as the name sounds, Flic en Flac isn't quite the picture of paradise you saw on your travel agent's website. The area's moniker is thought to be a corruption of the old Dutch name Fried Landt Flaak (meaning 'Free and Flat Land'); the endless acreage of sandy shoreline was undoubtedly striking when explorers first arrived in the 18th century. Today, the public beach is peppered with weeping filao trees, and the area is exploding with apartment complexes, souvenir shops, moneychangers and pinchpenny holiday rentals. Although development in Flic en Flac has gone the way of Grand Baie, it's still about a dozen clubs and restaurants short of attracting a party crowd in earnest.

All is not lost, however; the beach is still one of the best in Mauritius and if you stay at any of the high-end resorts in the Wolmar area outside the town, you'll uncover some stellar stretches of sand, glorious diving and a handful of palate-pleasing restaurants.