Puducherry (the new name) is a pretty small city. The ECR (East Coast Road) comes north from Chennai. The beachfront road here is called Beach Rd or Goubert Ave. The Rue du Petit Canal divides the French area from the Indian area.
Clearing Up Stereotypes
This city isn't as "French" as some people make it out to be. It's a general Indian city with the typical honking (arguable more), but then it's slightly more pedestrian-friendly (vehicles aren't allowed on the beachfront road for some time in the evening). There is some French influence though, by the street names, the beachfront area, the colonial architecture etc, nothing more. That doesn't make it a bad place to visit by any means, though.
|French war memorial|
In Feb 2013, this route was supposed to be damaged, 3rd hand info.
So we took NH 7 to Salem (4 hrs) and then to Attur, Ulundurpet, Panruti, Cuddalore and then to Pondicherry.
|Street in the French Quarter|
Also the streets behind are worth walking through, the architecture is nice. There are also many restaurants here, and the streets are quiet. Watch out for stray dogs though!
Here you will find the Bharathi Park. On Dumas St, visible from the southern part of Goubert Av is the Notre Dame des Anges church.
Not too far away, on South Boulevard is the Sacred Heart Church.
The Rue du Petit Canal divides
the "French area" from the
"Indian area". Around this area,
on Mission Street is a
cathedral with a
|Statue of Mahatma Gandhi|
|inside of the cathedral|
Puducherry has many lodgings,
and many of them have fine locations. We stayed at the
Ashok, a bit outside the city though, but with a beach (slightly dirty)
and expansive grounds. There are several tariffs available, including
a luxury cottage at INR 10000.
There were several other hotels which looked good to us (no research done about them by me though) including the Atithi and the famous Promenade right on Goubert Avenue.
Last visit, we stayed at the Zest resort, around 18 km (30 min) from Pondicherry. It has a private beach.
On our first trip, we were slightly disappointed with the food at Puducherry. The one (in four) good meals we ate was at Don Giovanni, at the rooftop of the Hotel Corbelli at Mission St. The owner is a friendly Italian who makes good Italian cuisine. The view are fine, and the food is good.
The other meals we ate were OK, at Le Cafe on Goubert Ave, the food was good, but the staff was rude, and the service was mediocre. At the Lighthouse , the views are good, the food is OK but the service is very slow. This, and another restaurant, both located at the Promenade Hotel, share similar attributes.
From the second/third trip:
Rendezvous, rather disappointing food. Located at 30 Suffren St. Very inflexible- the dishes from the menu are exactly what you can get, no variations are entertained.
Pasta Bar Veneto fine pizzas and pastas. On Mission St.
Zuka diagonally opposite Pasta Bar Veneto. Fine desserts- but the Hot Chocolate and Espresso Shot stand out.
Le Vietnam around the colonial area, close to the beachfront. Serves some dishes from a wide variety of cuisines, including Vietnamese, Mexican and Indian.
Nehru Street has the typical shopping ambiance of virtually every Indian city- many shops and small eateries along roads. Perpendicular Mission St has the famous three-floored Casablanca which stocks clothes, accessories, chocolates etc. There is also the Hidesign store nearby.
To go to the viewpoint to the Matrimandir, you need to collect the free passes, then walk 1 km.
There is a food hall near the Auroville boutiques, and the town itself has many eateries.
Last visit- Oct 2013
No of visits- 3
First visit- Nov 2010