Must see attractions in Port Louis

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Blue Penny Museum

    Although dedicated to the world-famous Mauritian one-penny and two-pence stamps of 1847, the Blue Penny Museum is far more wide-ranging than its name suggests, taking in the history of the island's exploration, settlement and colonial period, and even detouring into the Paul and Virginie story. It's Port Louis' best museum, one that give visitors a then-and-now look at the city, although travellers with mobility issues should know that the stamps are on the 1st floor and there’s no lift.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Père Laval's Shrine

    The shrine of French Catholic priest and missionary Père Jacques-Désiré Laval is something of a Lourdes of the Indian Ocean, with many miracles attributed to pilgrimages here. The padre died in 1864 and was beatified in 1979 during a visit by Pope John Paul II. Père Laval is credited with converting 67,000 people to Christianity during his 23 years in Mauritius. To get here, take a bus signed 'Cité La Cure' or 'Père Laval' from the Immigration Square bus station.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Port Louis

    Central Market

    Port Louis' rightly famous Central Market, the centre of the local economy since Victorian times, is a good place to get a feel for local life, watch the hawkers at work and buy some souvenirs. Most authentic are the fruit and vegetable sections (including Chinese herbal medicines and aphrodisiacs).

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Natural History Museum & Mauritius Institute

    The major attraction at this small museum – which was closed for much-needed renovations when we visited – used to be the famous reconstruction of a dodo. But with the museum closed, the dodo has been moved to Mahébourg's National History Museum where it may very well remain. What form the museum will take when it reopens remained unclear at the time of research.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Aapravasi Ghat

    Aapravasi Ghat, a small complex of buildings located on the seafront, served as the island's main immigration depot for indentured labourers from India. Some of the original stone buildings remain, with displays on living conditions, the hospital wing and bathing ghats. The ghat was listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2006 for its important role in the island's social history.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Photography Museum

    This small but engaging museum, down a cobbled lane opposite the Municipal Theatre, is the labour of love of local photographer Tristan Bréville. He's amassed a treasure trove of old cameras and prints, including several daguerreotypes (the forerunner of photographs) produced in Mauritius in 1840, just a few months after the technique was discovered in France. The museum also contains a vast archive of historical photos of the island, although only a fraction are on display.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Place d'Armes

    The city's most imposing boulevard, Place d'Armes is lined with royal palms and leads up to Government House, a beautiful French-colonial structure dating from 1738. Outside there's a typically solemn statue of Queen Victoria in full 'we are not amused' mode. The statue of the dynamic colonial governor Mahé de Labourdonnais at the quayside end of the avenue has become Port Louis' emblem throughout Mauritius.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Mauritius Postal Museum

    This interesting museum beside the Central Post Office houses a mishmash of commemorative stamps and other postal paraphernalia from around the world. One exhibit details the history of the Mauritius post using a rich assortment of photographs and artefacts. Of particular interest is the display about mail delivery to the remote dependencies of Agaléga and St Bandon.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Fort Adelaide

    Fort Adelaide resembles a Moorish fortress. Built by the British, the fort sits high on the crown of a hill, offering splendid views over the city and its harbour. The old barracks have been restored and transformed into a row of intriguing boutiques – good for a few minutes of window shopping. The quickest route up is via Suffren St. Allow around 10 minutes for the climb.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    ICAIO

    One of Mauritius' premier art institutions, this fine space is designed to increase local exposure to high-quality art, with four temporary exhibitions per year. It's overseen by Salim Currimjee, who formerly commissioned the Africa collection for the Tate Modern in London.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Champ de Mars Racecourse

    This racecourse was a military training ground until the Mauritius Turf Club was founded in 1812, making it the second-oldest racecourse in the world. Mauritian independence was proclaimed here in 1968. The racing season lasts from around April to late November, with meetings usually held on a Saturday or Sunday. The biggest race of all is the Maiden Cup in September. For race dates, contact the Mauritius Turf Club or check local media.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Plaine Verte

    Located on the far side of the citadel, Plaine Verte is the Muslim quarter of the city and strongly contrasts with the glass towers in central Port Louis. Very little care is given to the area's facades – construction materials (usually concrete) are always left exposed – which gives the neighbourhood a certain dilapidated feel despite the lively bustle. After snooping around some of the alleyways for tucked-away bakeries, make your way to the vibrant fabric shops lining Papillon Street.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Jardins de la Compagnie

    Jardins de la Compagnie is the city's most attractive garden, with its vast banyan trees, huge number of statues, quiet benches and fountains. During the day it's perfectly safe and even rather appealing, but avoid it at night, when it's a favoured hang-out for sex workers and drug addicts. In early colonial times, the garden was the vegetable patch of the French East India Company. Today, it's known for statues of local sculptor Prosper d'Épinay and much-loved musician Ti Frère.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Chinatown

    The Chinese have traditionally occupied an important position in the life of Port Louis, and the area between the two 'friendship gates' on Royal St forms the centre of the city's Chinatown. Here you'll take in the rich mercantile life of the Chinese community, busy Chinese restaurants and grocery stores, and streets echoing with the unmistakable clatter of mah-jong tiles.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Jummah Mosque

    The Jummah Mosque, the most important mosque in Mauritius, was built in the 1850s and is a striking blend of Indian, Creole and Islamic architecture – it would look equally at home in Istanbul, Delhi or New Orleans! Visitors are welcome in the peaceful inner courtyard, except on Friday and during the month of Ramadan.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    SSR Memorial Centre for Culture

    This simple house museum near the Jardin Plaine Verte was home to Mauritius' father of independence, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, from 1935 until 1968. It's an interesting exhibit on his life, with some fascinating photographs, a collection of his belongings and even films about the great man, beloved by all Mauritians.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Government House

    Government House is a beautiful French-colonial structure dating from 1738, although it was added to in later years. Outside it stands a typically solemn statue of Queen Victoria in full 'we are not amused' mode. The building is closed to visitors.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    St James Cathedral

    Inaugurated in 1850, St James is the oldest Anglican church in Mauritius, and has a peaceful, wood-panelled interior with plaques commemorating local worthies.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    Chapel and Shrine of Marie Reine de la Paix

    The modern chapel and shrine of Marie Reine de la Paix is a popular spot for prayers, and the ornamental gardens offer views over the city. Pope John Paul II officiated his first Mass here during his visit to the island.

  • Sights in Port Louis

    King Edward VII Statue

    This statue of King Edward VII within the grounds of Champ de Mars Racecourse was created by sculptor Prosper d'Épinay.