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Holidays in Reunion

Understanding Reunion

The Portuguese discovered the uninhabited island in 1513 From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians gave the island its ethnic mix The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the island its importance as a stopover on the East Indies trade route

Although remote from mainland France France métropolitaine, Réunion nonetheless officially forms an integral part of the Republic, representing its own département

Talking in Reunion

French is the official language of Reunion, although Creole is widely spoken Everyone understands French, but few people understand English

French spoken with the local Reunion accent, intermingled with Creole, can be difficult to understand for native French speakers Metropolitan French are locally nicknamed z'oreilles "ears" for their tendency not to understand and ask people to repeat

English speakers meet every Monday evening between 7:30PM and 11:00PM including during holidays at the Moda Bar, 75 rue Pasteur, in Saint-Denis Infoline 0692 560220 If you speak English, it is a good way of sharing ones accent, culture and language to meet travelling and resident couch-surfers Ten to twenty people attend each week The bar allows people to bring take out food

See also: French phrasebook, French/Creole dictionary 7

What to do in Reunion

The country is surrounded by the sea so watersports are a must Kite-surfing is increasingly popular for the westerners while the locals prefer driving jet-skis at high speed next to the beaches If you like land more than the sea, feel free to go on one of the safari tours to the desert, try dune-bashing with Landcruisers, Nissans etc Visit the collection of widely scattered malls around Doha and enjoy yourself

Buying stuff in Reunion

Reunion is part of the Eurozone, so as in many other European Union countries the currency used is the euro symbol:

It is compulsory, for the large majority of businesses, to post prices in windows Hotels and restaurants must have their rates visible from outside

Most shops accept international credit cards Visa and Mastercard but most of them require a minimum amount for credit cards payments usually €15

There is a good number of ATM called "gabier" which don't charge you for using them


Most shops are closed on Sunday

Most of supermarkets are open from 9:00AM to 8:00PM, Monday to Saturday Some of them are open on Sunday morning

You can find traditional objects in some shops but it's often easier and cheaper to go to a market marché The market in Saint-Paul is famous and you'll also find fruits and vegetables: it gathers on Friday morning and afternoon and on Saturday morning

It's a good place to buy African traditional objects, such as Oware


Here are some ideas for gifts:

  • shirts;
  • rum;
  • spices;
  • local music;
  • book or dvd about volcano's last eruption;
  • local fruits might be forbidden depending on your country

Food and eating in Reunion

Qatar has seemingly endless options for food, much of it excellent If you would like European cuisine in a fancy setting, visit a hotel like the Ramada or the Marriott, both of which also offer excellent sushi and the choice of having drinks with your meal the only restaurants in town that can do this are in the major hotels, but at a steep price Authentic and delicious Indian and Pakistani food is found throughout the city, ranging from family-oriented places to very basic eateries catering to the Indian and Pakistani workers You may attract some curious stares in the worker eateries, but the management will almost always be extremely welcoming, and the food is very inexpensive

For excellent and truly authentic Thai cuisine, try either Thai Twin near the Doha Petrol Station and the computer souqs or Thai Snacks on Marqab St, and be sure to sample the delicious spicy papaya salad at either location, but be careful, if you ask them to make it spicy, expect for it to burn

Middle Eastern cuisine is everywhere as well, and in many forms—kebabs, breads, hummus, the list goes on It can be purchased on the cheap from a take-out many of which look quite unimpressive, but serve awesome food or from a fancier place, like the wonderful Layali near Chili's in the 'Cholesterol Corner' area that serves gourmet Lebanese food and has hookahs with flavored tobacco Refined Persian cuisine is available for reasonable prices in the royally appointed Ras Al-Nasa`a Restaurant on the Corniche don't miss the cathedral-like rest rooms

Don't be afraid to venture into the Souqs looking for a meal; it will be a unique experience in an authentic setting, and although some of the places you see may look rundown, that's just the area in general, and the food will be probably be quite good Be advised that many of the restaurants in the Souqs as well as the shops shut down during the afternoon hours If you are in a funny kind of mood, you can try a McArabia—McDonald's Middle Eastern sandwich available only in the region

Drinking in Reunion

There is one liquor store, Qatar Distribution Centre, in Doha To purchase things there, you must have a license that can only be obtained by having a written letter of permission from your employer You can only get a license when you have obtained your residency permit and you will need to get a letter from your employer confirming your salary in addition to paying a deposit for QR1000 The selection is good and is like any alcohol selection of a large supermarket in the West Prices are reasonable although not cheap Alcoholic beverages are available in the restaurants and bars of the major hotels, although they are pricey As far as non-alcoholic drinks go, be sure and hit some of the Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants and juice stalls They whip some tasty and exotic fruit juice combinations that really hit the spot

It is forbidden to bring alcohol in to the country as a tourist; at Doha airport customs xray bags and will confiscate any bottles of alcoholic drink They will issue a receipt valid for 2 weeks to reclaim the alcohol on exit from the country

Accommodation in Reunion

There are many possible accommodation types in reunion: Ordinary hotels; privately run Gîtes d'Étape; Gîtes de Montagne are mountain cabins or lodges located in the central areas appropriate and operated by Maison de la Montagne; youth hostels are operated by Auberge de jeunesse de la réunion 8 Official site There are five youth hostels at Réunion Island ; Hell Bourg, Bernica, Entre Deux, Saint Denis and Cilaos

Specific hotels

  • Hôtel des Palme is located some kilometers from the center of Saint-Gilles Les Bains on 205, Rue du Général de Gaulle Two-starred with bungalow-type apartments and with swimming pool

House rentals Reunion Island

"Clin d'Oeil de l'Océan 9" is situated at Etang Saint Leu near "Saint Gilles les bains"

Working in Reunion

For European people coming from an EU country, working in Reunion is allowed without a visa or work permit If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit Check with the French Embassy in your country Do not forget, though, that the unemployment rate is high If you work in the health sector doctor, nurse, it will be much easier

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique VCAT Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area You must be over 18 and under 28 years old inclusive You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences VCAT 10

Cities in Reunion

What do you think about Reunion?

How expensive is Reunion?
(1 EUR = 0 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant8.59 EUR
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)44.08 EUR
McDonalds meal9.37 EUR
Local beer (0.5 draft)1.79 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 3.31 EUR
Cappuccino2.04 EUR
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)1.47 EUR
Water (0.33 bottle)1.46 EUR
Milk (1l)1.89 EUR
Fresh bread (500g)2.68 EUR
White Rice (1kg)3.85 EUR
Eggs (12) 3.69 EUR
Local Cheese (1kg) 16.04 EUR
Chicken Breast (1kg) 12.29 EUR
Apples (1kg) 5.82 EUR
Oranges (1kg) 3.31 EUR
Tomato (1kg) 1.9 EUR
Potato (1kg) 1.75 EUR
Lettuce (1 head) 1.22 EUR
Water (1.5l)0.75 EUR
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 7.44 EUR
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)2.09 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 2.5 EUR
Cigarettes8.41 EUR
One way local bus ticket1.32 EUR
Monthly pass for bus31.68 EUR
Taxi start22.2 EUR
Taxi 1km3.31 EUR
Taxi 1hour waiting8.32 EUR
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.53 EUR
Utilities for a "normal" apartment71.22 EUR
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 32.2 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 627 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 540.5 EUR, your travel companion

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