Monday, 7 November 2016

THE INCOMPLETE FRENCH CONNECTION


The holiday was planned 6 months in advance. It was planned by my cousins as a surprise to the rest of us. The destination was kept a secret until 2 days before the date of travel. Since I had a wedding to attend on the same dates, I joined them 1.5 days later and so my exploration was incomplete. Hence I bring to you- The Incomplete French Connection.
If you haven’t guessed the place yet, it’s PONDICHERRY aka PUDUCHERRY.

The streets of Pondicherry.

We reached Chennai airport at 8:30 pm. From there it was a 2 and a half hour drive to Pondicherry. The roads are amazingly smooth and the road markings look like rubies.

Chennai-Pondicherry Highway

We reached Pondicherry at 11:15 pm. Our stay was arranged at Le Château. The rooms were quite spacious, royal and well maintained.

Le Château

Inside Le Château

ALERT :- Everything, I repeat, EVERYTHING shuts down by 11:00pm (max) so make sure you order your dinner & drinks before the entire town shuts down. 
Since we reached late, we found one small restaurant which was willing to serve us dinner. We ordered for chicken noodles and pepper chicken as those 2 dishes were the best of the few options we had. Tired of all the travel and food hunting we dozed off.

Rooms at Le Château

Next day we woke up early and had French breakfast at the hotel. The buffet spread consisted of Fresh fruit juices, cereals, cut fruits, croissants, cinnamon roll, strawberry cake, baked beans, sandwiches chicken sausages and omelette fried in different styles. I have never eaten softer breads. They would just melt in the mouth, both, the croissants and the cinnamon roll.



Post breakfast we thronged to the Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges church for Sunday mass. Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges means the Church of Our Lady of Angels and indeed it looked like the angels themselves came down to build the church. It is more beautiful than any church I have ever seen. The church had a beautiful ceiling with flower patterns embossed and painted in light-yet-vibrant colours of yellow blue and pink.

Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges

Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges in the night

Soon after mass we visited the Immaculate Conception Cathedral which has beautiful statues of Mother Mary and Jesus.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Our next stop was yet another church which stunned all of us with its astonishing beauty-Basilica of The Sacred heart of Jesus. The church has iron gates and is called the door of Mercy which was put up by Pope Benedict XVI.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

It is believed that whosoever crosses the gate with repentance and prays with all their heart is forgiven off their sins. The church has some astounding glass paintings all over. 

This is what you see when you enter the door of Mercy! Beautiful, Isn't it?

 

After overwhelming ourselves with religious sentiments we made our way to paradise beach. There is apparently an island till where a boat takes you. But since the average age of our group was on the higher side we had to take a dip in the sea away from the island. The beach is surprisingly clean (at least cleaner than the beaches of Goa). After frolicking for a while at the beach we went back to our hotel and hydrated ourselves with chilled beer ;) .

Next, we went on an eating spree. First we had lunch at Palais de Mahé. Appams, a very piquant chicken curry, scrumptious Fish curry with boiled brown rice and extremely moreish organic penne with spicy tomato and chicken.

Lunch at Palais de Mahé

 

Though we were not full, we wrapped up lunch for the better part- desserts at Zuka. Zuka is a tiny place with the very very inviting desserts. Everything we ordered was very palatable. Our order consisted of- apple pie, moksha, MasterChef, Watsons, caramel tart and many more whose names I don’t remember. Moksha literally takes you to another world for a while and their caramel tart is the best! They’re really small though :P 

ZUKA!!!

 

We, 20 people swamped Zuka then proceeded to swamp Gelato Factory which was right beside Zuka. I personally was not satisfied with Gelato Factory. Their best flavour was Ferrero Rocher.

One of our friends told us that Pondicherry has amazing leather stuff to shop for. And so we decided to go shopping. It turned out to be a bad idea. Why you ask?

1)      The street is called Nehru Street and is full of road side vendors.

2)      There is only one Shop that we could spot that sold leather items.

3)      That shop was closed.

4)      There is one shop by the name- La boutique de auroville which has cute stuff.

5)      If you are lucky enough you will find cheap stuff that fits you. (I either liked apparels that were too expensive or that wouldn’t fit me :D ).

Post shopping we were too tired to go out for dinner. We pronounced that we would get dinner from outside and have it at our rooms. We ordered for starters at our hotel- nawabi kababs and crispy fried lamb. The crispy fried lamb was crispy crumbly and crunchy and tasted fantastic.

The ambience at Palais de Mahé

 

We bought lots of delicacies from Bakers street. Chicken, Ham-pita bread sandwiches, Chicken sandwiches, ham & cheese sandwiches, Sausage croissants, and sausage and ham pizza is what had for dinner. My favorite out of the dinner menu was Sausage croissants and ham & cheese sandwich. When we had nothing left to eat, we tucked ourselves in bed and had a good nights sleep.

The following day we woke up at 5:45 am and decided to go for a walk. Luckily for us, Rock Beach as it is popularly known or Seaside Promenade was right behind our hotel. The name says it- there is a promenade by the sea.

Me sitting at the sea side promenade!

 

The beach is full of rocks, which makes it unsuitable for a plunge in the water. But the peaceful atmosphere and its panoramic splendour does make up for this. A few pictures are not sufficient to see the breath-taking view it offers. Go there and see it for yourselves. 

Rock Beach/ Sea side Promenade!

  

Soon after, we proceeded to have breakfast and then made our way to the exit.

There are many more things to do, many more things to see and many more places to visit in Pondicherry, but my tour was incomplete. The vivid memories of the bright, colourful and vibrant streets of Pondicherry is sure to pull us back some day. 

 

The vibrant roads of Pondicherry is what I love!