Îlet À Cordes
Îlet à Cordes is a marvellous stop-the-world-and-get-off place and you'll leave with reluctance. The setting is truly photogenic: wherever you look, this tiny écart (settlement) is cradled by soaring mountains, with major peaks looming on the horizon. Vineyards and fields where lentils are grown complete the picture.
You've reached le bout du monde (the end of the earth) in Bras-Sec, about 6km from Cilaos. This is a place to just kick back and enjoy the get-away-from-it-all atmosphere. If you've got itchy feet, a recommended hike is the Tour du Bonnet de Prêtre, a 4½-hour loop that skirts around the bizarrely shaped peak that lies south of the village.