activities

How to discover Trou d’Eau Douce

Tuesday September 20, 2022

It’s a breath of fresh air! Let us take you for a walk along the east coast to discover a fishing village with charm. Yes, Trou d’Eau Douce is exceptional.

 

Mauritius is not a big island. And yet, from Grand Bay to Mahébourg, from Port-Louis to Curepipe, the atmosphere is very different. Let’s take the Mauritian coasts as an example. Each one has its own character: the north is lively and festive, the south is wild and isolated, the west is sporty and family-oriented and the east is authentic and exotic. The east coast remains, together with the south coast, the most preserved. Exceptional beaches, marvellous landscapes… from Poste Lafayette to Vieux Grand Port, this coast, where time seems to be suspended, breathes the sweetness of life. At its heart, the village of Trou d’Eau Douce has a famous departure point for Ile aux Cerfs. 

To see Trou d’Eau Douce, to wander through its streets, is to get a taste of Mauritian life. This particularly dynamic village, historically populated by fishermen, has colourful shops and friendly folklore, becoming a major tourist spot in Mauritius… without losing its soul.

Where to start? Perhaps at the Four à Chaux beach, north of the village. This beach is dominated by the ruins of a giant stone oven (lime was made by burning corals) and it’s where many boats leave daily for the islands. The panorama is magical. This is surely the best place to admire the lagoon of Trou D’Eau Douce and its centre, which is built on the slope of a hill and takes in views of the mountains of the south-east, including the famous Lion Mountain. Here you have two options: north to Palmar, a beautiful walk on the sand will lead you to wonderful beaches, far from the bustle of the village. To the south, a more urban and exotic walk takes you through the historic centre of the village to the famous ‘freshwater hole’.

Let’s go for option two and walk from the beach south towards the centre. After a hundred metres or so you will come across Nigel, the oyster seller of Trou d’Eau Douce. There is nothing superfluous here, the tasting is done on the spot, feet in the water, in the shade of the palm trees. The oysters are fished only a few metres away. A delight. After this enchanting interlude, leave the beach on your right and go up the coastal road, commonly called the royal road. You will come across the three best restaurants in Trou d’Eau Douce, only a few metres apart: the new La Case Poisson, the historic Tino and Chez Gilda. If the first one serves the best fresh fish, the last two offer the most beautiful view of the village, overlooking the lagoon. It’s a welcome break. 

Continuing your walk along the coastal road, you will come across the church with its beautiful blue stained-glass windows. The centre starts here, spreading over two axes: the one on your left goes to the landing stage and its historical village; and the one extending along the royal road is the most animated, with its shops closing at 10pm and its street food merchants. One address to remember is Les Boulettes de Noël, an institution that is over 15 years old and one of the most famous on the island for eating fried or boiled noodles accompanied by boulettes (dumplings). It’s a particularly nice place to soak up the local culinary culture. You can sit here and relax, which is a good plan to refresh yourself before continuing your walk. 

Let’s go back to the church and go down to the famous ‘freshwater hole’. In the shade of century-old trees, surrounded by houses perched on the hill, a large pond has given its name to the village. Around it, the landing stage with its old fishing canoes and ‘pirate ships’ is the other point of departure to the islands. Take a walk along the shoreline and lose yourself in the narrow streets. With its colourful shops and charming little houses, you might think you’re in La Boca in Buenos Aires or Valparaiso in Chile. Enjoy the atmosphere.

Did you park at the lime kiln? The walk back along the coastal road will take less than 30 minutes. Once you arrive at the beach car park (our starting point), head for the only bar in the village, the Green Island. The welcome is warm. It’s a real institution for the village regulars, so sit on the terrace and enjoy the last rays of sunshine with a view over the lagoon. The walk ends here, in this village where a unique, intense atmosphere emanates, naturally becoming one of the most popular tourist spots. The air is pure. The road is cheerful. Passers-by, on foot, bicycle or moped, greet you. Yes, to love Trou d’Eau Douce is to love Mauritius!

Victor Written with love by Victor

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