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Published: January 31st 2007
Hotel De Ville
A very French Town Hall but now flying the Indian flag.
It's festival time here in Tamil Nadu. With the arrival of the harvest, Hindus celebrate with the month-long Pongal festival which culminates with public holidays for all. Our visit has coincided with the holidays which is a bitter-sweet situation for us. On the plus side the people are happy, joyous and welcoming but on the negative side, prices are racked up and accommodation is full.
Arriving into the French colonial corner of Pondicherry, a popular tourist spot particularly for Indian and French people, without a reservation, was foolish. I think we tried every single guesthouse in the colonial quarter looking for a room - we found nothing! We almost gave up and left entirely but a last chance saloon in the more squalid end of town offered up a room (of sorts) so we stayed (with about 40 mozzies to accompany us). After putting up our mozzie net and covering ourselves in a thick coating of DEET, we headed out for dinner. We decided to go Français and headed to the "Rendez Vous" restaurant with Gallic charm and French cuisine delights. After munching the "pomme au gratin" and "creme caramel" we braved the crowds of festival goers
on the promenade (a bit like Hornsea Carnival on the sea front) before heading to our luxury (-)5 star room!
The next day we wandered the french promenade again but in a somewhat quieter form, past the historic Hotel de Ville and boules arenas. Finding solitude and tranquility in the tree lined French boulevards we admired architecture followed by a cool refreshing breeze. With a train timetable in hand, we headed to Villiupuram to catch the Pallavan express to Trichy.
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