A beguiling mix of French and Tamil cultures give this small former French colony a unique bohemian-chic vibe.

Pondicherry served as France’s tiny foothold on the Coromandel Coast until 1962. Echoes of the French influence still leap out here like houses with louvred windows and colour-washed Neoclassical facades on the former ‘Ville Blanche’, or wait subtly in the shadows to be discovered, like the red képis worn by local policemen and games of pétanque on the seafront. A walk in the old quarter will reveal all these and more Gallic secrets.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)