(includes Auroville & Kakkayanthope)
●Calve Heritage Hotel – 36 Vysial Street; 011-91-413-222-2613; calve.in; Tamil-style bank transformed into chic hotel.
●Le Dupleix – 5 Rue de la Caserne; 011-91-413-222-6999; sarovarhotels.com.
●Hotel de l’Orient – 17 Rue Romain Rolland; 011-91-413-234-3067; neemranahotels.com; in French Quarter’s heart; dates back to 1760s; airconditioned; smart & tidy.
●Palais de Mahe – 4 Rue de Bussy; 011-91-413-234-5611; cghearth.com/palaisdemahe; with simple wooden furniture & breezy rooftop restaurant (serving Asian & Western food); verdant, tiled courtyard; ask for upper floor rooms.
●Promenade – 23 Goubert Avenue; 011-91-413-2227; sarovarhotels.com; well-heeled; boutique.
●Calve – 36 Vysial Street (in Calve Heritage Hotel); 011-91-413-222-2613; calve.in; south Indian cuisine.
●Casablanca – 165 Mission Street; 011-91-413-233-6495; actupondy.com/en/shopping-pondicherry/departmental-stores/817-casablanca-clothes; department store; small Indian food department; place where tea lovers tend to linger longer; also restaurant/pizzeria.
●Coffee.com – 236 Mission Street; 011-91-413-520-1245; cyber café.
●Le Dupleix – 5 Caserne Street; 011-91-413-222-6999; ledupleix.com; simple French breakfasts.
●Hotel de l’Orient – 17 Rue Romain Rolland; 011-91-413-234-3067; neemranahotels.com; request table in candle-lit courtyard.
●Madame Shanthe’s Cafe & Restaurant – 10 Rue Bussy; 011-91-222-2022; creole.
●Rendezvous – 30 Rue Suffren; 011-91-413-233-0238; rendezvous-pondy.com; in French Quarter’s heart; extensive menu of more than 250 dishes; all seafood dishes are good.
●Satsanga – 13 Bussy Street; 011-91-413-224-572; Mediterranean salads.
●Le Space – 2 Rue Labourdonnais; 011-91-413-233-3734; rooftop bar.
●Sri Krishna Sweets – 86 Mission Street; 011-91-413-222-0479.
●Surguru – 99 Mission Street; 011-91-413-233-9022; hotelsurguru.com; cheap vegetarian.
●Villa Shanti – 14 Suffren Street; 011-91-413-420-0028; lavillashanti.com; French-Indian fare.
●Greaves India – 4B Jangpura-B, Mathura Road (New Delhi); 011-91-11-4323-7000 or 800-318-7801; greavesindia.com or greaves-travel.com; ask for Mehra Dalton.
●Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage – 62 Rue Aurobindo; 011-91-413-341-6870; intachpondicherry.org; walks through old parts of town.
●Aurorachana Coco & Clemens – Tindivanam-Puducherry Road (Auroville); 011-91-413-262-2175; aurorachanaexport.com or auroville.org/art&culture/craft&design/aurorachana.htm; antique furniture aficionados can find British & French colonial rosewood & teak 4-poster beds, armoires, cupboards & dowry chests; beautifully restored relics collected from run-down south Indian palaces fill makeshift sheds & workshops on premises.
●Calico – 2 Rue Labourdonnais; 011-91-413-233-4677; viapondichery.com; emporium filled with inventive furnishings such as Technicolor square wool cushions, satin floral quilts & bags embellished with delicate sequins.
●Casablanca – 165 Mission Street; 011-91-413-233-6495; actupondy.com/en/shopping-pondicherry/departmental-stores/817-casablanca-clothes; department store; totally bizarre mixture of Indian objects & world-renowned trademarks; clothing, home textiles, bedspreads, bags & cusions (Hidesign); small Indian food department; place where tea lovers tend to linger longer; also restaurant/pizzeria.
●Cluny Embroidery Centre – 29 Rue Suffren (at St. Joseph of Cluny Convent); 011-91-413-234-0484 (Archdiocese); pondicherryarchdiocese.org; hand-embroidered linens.
●Curio Centre – 40 Rue Romain Rolland; 011-91-413-222-5676; thecuriocentre.com; 3rd-generation owner, Rajiv Asokan, specializes in centuries-old, southern Indian, hand-carved beds, chests, doors, pillars & vanities; request visit to Asokan’s enormous warehouse (150 miles away), which feels like stepping into Aladdin’s cave.
●Fab India – 59 Rue Suffren; 011-91-413-420-0797; fabindia.com; craftwear from all over India.
●Hidesign – 31 J N Street; 011-91-413-222-0804; hidesign.com; leather goods from India.
●Kathiravan Furniture – 2 Rue Labourdonnais; 011-91-413-222-5877; south Indian, wood, antique furniture & hand-crafted accessories.
●Mira Boutique – Visitor Centre, Tindivanam-Puducherry Road (Auroville); 011-91-413-262-3389; auroville.com; Italian antiques dealer Marco Feira travels around India in search of traditional & rare gold & silver jewelry: Gujarati tribal earrings, marriage necklaces & devotional rings with precious stones; his finds are on sale in Auroville & Hotel de L’Orient lobby; his wife, Liliana, designs Punjabi-inspired cotton ensembles under Miniature label.
●La Maison Rose – 18 Rue Romain Rolland (Ville Blanche); 011-91-413-421-0806; lamaisonrosepondicherry.com; perhaps most sophisticated boutique in southern India; clothing & homewares.
●Mira Boutique – Italian antiques dealer Marco Feira travels around India in search of traditional & rare gold & silver jewelry: Gujarati tribal earrings, marriage necklaces & devotional rings with precious stones; his finds are on sale in Auroville & Hotel de L’Orient lobby; his wife, Liliana, designs Punjabi-inspired cotton ensembles under Miniature label. 17 Rue Romain Rolland (at Hotel de L’Orient); 011-91-413-234-3067.
●Nirvana – 53 Rue Suffren; 011-91-413-420-9610; clothing, especially for children.
●Renaissance Antiques – 2 Rue Francois Martin; 011-91-413-222-8833; pondyrenaissance.com.
●Sri Aurobindo Ashram – 3 Rangapillai Street; 011-91-413-223-3649; sriaurobindoashram.org; fragrances, handmade paper goods & marbled silk saris.
●Via Pondicherry – 22 Romain Rolland; 011-91-413-233-4677; viapondichery.com; south Indian, wood, antique furniture & hand-crafted accessories.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Alliance Francaise – 58 Rue Suffren; 011-91-413-233-8146; alliancefrancaisepondichery.com; English, French & Indian movies.
●Arikamedu – Kakkayanthope; arikamedu.blogspot.com; archaeological site, pretty much devastated after recent cyclone; fort & garrison for Roman trade ships as early as 2nd Century BCE; major import item is wine while textiles form major exports.
●Aurodhan Gallery – 33 Rue Francois Martin; 011-91-413-222-2795; aurodhan.com; few blocks from sea; contemporary Indian art.
●Auroville – Tindivanam-Puducherry Road (Auroville); auroville.org; town just over Tamil Nadu state border with beaches closest to Pondicherry; make sure Matrimandir, golden temple at center.
●Mahabalipuram – Kancheepuram (over hour from Pondicherry); whc.unesco.org/en/list/249 and mahabalipuram.co.in; group of sanctuaries, founded by Pallava kings, carved out of rock along Coromandel coast in 7-8th Centuries; known especially for rathas (temples in chariot form), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as famous “Descent of Ganges” & Temple of Rivage, with Ks sculptures to glory of Shiva.
●Manakula Vinayagar Temple – Francois Martin Street (Ville Blanche); 011-91-413-233-6544; manakulavinayagartemple.com; Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesa; predates French occupation (1666).
●Notre Dame des Anges Church – 3 Rue Surcouf (in La Ville Blanche); 011-413-233-4262; catholicchurches.in/directory/pondicherry-churches/our-lady-of-angels-church-notre-dame-des-anges.htm.
●Pondicherry Museum – 49 Rue St. Louis; 011-91-413- 222-3950; tourism.puducherry.gov.in/musuem.html; tranquil, old mansion full of relics from past, both recent & distant; carriages & cannonballs, ornate dining room sets & bronze statues of goddesses; 2K year-old Roman amphorae from nearby archaeological dig at Arikamedu.
●Raj Niwas – 1 Rangapillai Street; Lieutenant Governor’s House.
●Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Marine Street (Ville Blanche); 011-91-413-223-3604; sriaurobindoashram.org; owns many of French Quarter buildings, indicated by gray paint; courtyard strewn with flowers around tombs of Auribindo Ghosh & Mirra Alfassa.
●La Ville Blanche – former colonial town portion.