Giving time a break in Pondicherry 2: The enticing French Quarter

If you can imagine long perpendicular streets, with large compounds, brightly coloured villas, mysteriously beautiful doors that beckon you to open them even if just for a wee peep, stately walls that ooze splendour from every inch and pixie dust in good measure that engulfs you in a trance – then you are probably drawing up an image of the French quarter.

Pondicherry is divided into 2 parts : Ville Blanche / White town that forms the French Quarter and Ville Noir / Black town that comprises the Indian Quarter. Okay, I don’t really like how they have named them but well, let’s move to the more beautiful parts, shall we?


From Rue Suffrein to Rue Mahe Labourdonnais to Rue Romain, the beautiful grid of streets will overwhelm your senses and trigger the euphoria over and over again, as you bend across the turns and walk endlessly. The bright colours, the obscure doors will invite you to open them, almost as if they are teasing you because you know that some doors are best unopened. They arouse a fiery imagination and you do not really want to know what is inside for the fear of being disappointed.



Bot how long can you contain your curiosity? “I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them”, said Elizabeth Taylor.

Perhaps if you were there with me, you would understand what I meant. So when we found an open gate or door, we shamelessly stood awhile, mouths agape with wonder, eyes taking in every little bit of that wonder, whatever it was.


The yellows we saw everywhere were the perfect hue for the brown rustic doors that opened into multi-coloured walls. I wish I could stay here endlessly, sit on one of those rustic chairs on the rooftop and write away to glory, inspired by the sights and the beautiful silence around.


Along one of these charming streets, we spotted Kaasha ki Asha, a boutique cafe run by a lady from the US who has employed a handful of Indian ladies . I was really ecstatic to go in. The boutique houses some handicrafts, paper, incense, soaps, shoes and ethnic wear downstairs. A winding staircase leads to the rooftop where coffee and light food is served. The prices are a bit steep (the food wasn’t all that great) but the experience atop the roof is worth it. The boutique however can be maintained much better given the beauty of the place and products.



After  a lot of roaming, we sat down here to have some cold coffee and lemonade. And this experience is what they probably often refer to as a piece of heaven.




We even found a book sale at one of the corners. And what a joy it was browsing them endlessly as if there was no tomorrow!


All through our stay, we went round the French Quarter atleast once a day. If you haven’t yet been there, please do so. If you have, please go again.

What.An. Experience.


  1. Destination Infinity · October 4, 2013

    I have gone around this French quarter once or twice before. I remember wondering if French people lived in them or our people purposefully leave the French names outside (for style)! I have heard that Pondicherry is one of the Overseas territory (or whatever) of France and if you are born there, you maybe eligible for dual citizenship – India and France! Not sure how true this is? 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · October 4, 2013

      DI, I wondered too.. Actually many have become heritage hotels etc.. But I did see some a good mix of people..
      I guess the French influence is too strong and people have left it that way.. The Indian quarter has huge verandahs and a strong Indian influence from that time. I think they have retained it that way. But you have raised an interesting issue – I would love to read more about it..

      Regarding citizenship, India doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, right? I think many come and stay in Auroville and the Consulate is pretty helpful.. But not sure of the rest..

  2. Pingback: Have you seen the French Quarters @ Pondicherry? | Destination Infinity
  3. chattywren · October 4, 2013

    ok, a confession, I haven’t read this post save for the title, can’t keep my eyes off the pics and colours! So beautiful!

    • kismitoffeebar · October 4, 2013

      he he he he ….. I know what you mean. I refused to leave the French Quarter 😛 🙂

  4. KP · October 4, 2013

    I have missed all these places during my visit to Pondicherry.They are beautiful to look at.Will keep in my mind during my next visit

    • kismitoffeebar · October 4, 2013

      KP! Very happy to see you here after a while. Please do visit these places. I am sure you will really enjoy them. May I ask where you are currently? US?

  5. Bindu · October 5, 2013

    That clinches, it is Pondicherry after Goa

    • kismitoffeebar · October 5, 2013

      Hehe so glad to hear that 🙂 enjoy your Goa trip !!

  6. The Girl Next Door · October 5, 2013

    I love the French quarters too. It is such a joy to walk through those beautiful lanes and watch with gaping mouths those quaint doors and, as you say, wonder what lies behind them. We used to do it every day we were in Pondicherry, too.

    We couldn’t eat at Kasha ki Asha when we were there. Don’t know why it was closed then. Did you manage to eat at other boutique hotels there? There is one run by a Frenchman – I forget the name – that serves good Italian food. We liked the food at Madame Shanthe’s too.

    Is Anantha Heritage located in the French quarters or the Tamilian part?

    I do hope you went to Auroville too! The boutique there is wonderful for paper products, perfumes, soaps and jams!

    • kismitoffeebar · October 5, 2013

      Hi TGND!

      I totally understand what you mean! 🙂

      You mean Villa Shanti? Yes, we had dinner there onenight and enjoyed it – that will be up on my next post. We also had dinner at Rendezvous and coffee along Baker Street etc.

      Kasha ki Aasha was closed first time we went adn we went back again 😛

      Anantha Heritage is very very close to French Quarter – near MG Road 🙂

      Yes, we did go to Auroville and I bagged a loot 😛 I will be sharing those as well soon 🙂

  7. Ria · October 5, 2013

    And…I have got myself a new vacation destination 😀 😀
    I can already picture myself spending the new year there 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · October 6, 2013

      Hey Ria!

      Absolutely! When are you going? :))

      • Ria · October 6, 2013

        I have no ideaaaaaaa….but I know I am going to go 😛

      • kismitoffeebar · October 7, 2013

        🙂 Atta girl!

  8. Ramya · October 6, 2013

    Thank you so much for the beautiful pics , Kismi..Dusted and brought back memories from my visit almost a decade ago where just for the sake of visiting Pondicherry, I applied for an entrance exam there.!! On seeing the name plate for the street, I remember that I used to red the name in Tamil first to understand how the French words are to be pronounced! Waiting for the next part..

    • kismitoffeebar · October 7, 2013

      Hi Ramya!
      Good to see you again 🙂 You are most welcome. I can understand your nostalgia. I crave for Pondicherry after just one visit.. Hope you get to relive those moments again, through your own footsteps 🙂

  9. Pingback: A date at Villa Shanti : Giving time a break in Pondicherry 3 | Kismitoffeebar
  10. Pingback: Auroville: Giving time a break in Pondicherry 4 | Kismitoffeebar

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