Effectively Mauritius' second city, Curepipe is a bustling highland commercial centre famous for its rainy weather, volcanic crater and retail shopping. Its strange name reputedly stems from the malaria epidemic of 1867, when people fleeing lowland Port Louis would 'cure' their pipes of malarial bacteria by smoking them here (although it's more likely that the area was named after a fondly remembered town in France).
Curepipe is the highest of the plateau towns. At 550m above sea level, it has refreshingly cool summer temperatures, but according to lowlanders, Curepipe has two seasons: the little season of big rains and the big season of little rains. The damp climate gives the buildings an ageing, mildewed quality. Bring an umbrella.