The mysterious and intriguing island of Mauritius is a treasure of the Indian Ocean. It is surrounded by protective reefs, which create a turquoise lagoon. The same reefs can become treacherous traps for shipping in bad weather. There have been a number of ships stranded on the reefs during destructive cyclones of 1931 when Port Louis was demolished and 1972 when many ships were shipwrecked. In fact, the first thing I noticed while visiting Poudre d’ Ore was a ship high up on the reef on the horizon. MV Angel I, registered in Panama, has been on the reef since August having its cargo unloaded to be toed to Port Louis for repairs once afloat on high tide.
The main reason for visiting Poudre d’Ore was not just mere sightseeing but a search for a statue of Paul and Virginie. I found the romantic legend fascinating although sad since Virgenie’s ship got stranded on the reef of Poudre d’Ore and she has never returned to her beloved Mauritius and Paul. Virgine decided to leave France for two reasons – her love for Paul and her love for Mauritius. I was determined to explore the later – her love for Mauritius and simple life in harmony with nature. I have not been disappointed so far; the beauty of the island is undisputed. Finding the statue of Paul and Virginie proved to be more difficult. I managed to find a monument in honor of Paul and Virginie on the shores of Poudre d’Ore, but no statue.
There is a lot of history in Poudre d’Ore. I came across Eglese Marie-Reine and a cemetery with some graves dating to late 18th century.
My search for the statue of Paul and Virginie took me to Pampelmousses Gardens. I found a Paul and Virginie Avenue that led to a pedestal dedicated to Paul and Virginie – but no statue. However, there was no disappointment. Pampelmousses Gardens are a tribute to flora and fauna of Mauritius. There are varieties of palms, water lilies and giant tortoises.
The Gardens are a mine of botanic wealth, conglomerate of plant species, some unique only to Mauritius. The freshens of nature and its colors are overwhelming. A visit to the Gardens satisfies all senses and the relaxation is complete listening to the bird song and breathing the sent of flowers.
I have to admit I have eventually found the illusive statue of Paul and Virginie. Searching for it took me to places I probably would not have visited otherwise. Searching has been so much fun that I will not spoil your fun by revealing its location. Like recommending a movie you just have to see does not involve telling the story. Search Mauritius for its secrets – you will not be disillusioned.
Virginie’s love for the island is fully justified. The beauty of nature is striking. Mauritius attracts the lovers of nature, harmony and beauty.