Port Louis


The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can accommodate fourth and fifth generation container vessels. At present, only Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

 and Port Louis can achieve that in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, existing equipments in the port are overstretched and delays frequently occur. Two new gantry cranes
A container crane is a type of large dockside gantry crane found at container terminals for loading and unloading intermodal containers from container ships....

 (to be delivered in December 2007) will boost annual throughput capacity. Manufacturing is dominated by clothing and textiles, but also includes chemicals
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s, and pharmaceuticals.
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 is also important. The development of the Caudan Waterfront
Caudan Waterfront
Le Caudan Waterfront is a unique commercial concept in Mauritius, showing undeniable know-how and expertise in commercial activities and entertainment. On top of being a must for shopping, Le Caudan Waterfront is also a business centre, a melting pot for local artists and the favourite meeting...

, central to Port Louis, with shopping and cinema facilities, appeals to tourists visiting the city. The 5 star Labourdonnais hotel located in the Caudan Waterfront is a popular choice for tourists and business people seeking luxury in a central location. Port Louis is the second most important financial center in Africa after Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

. It is the city with the highest per capita income in Africa.


Between 1860s and 1960s, the island had a railway system centred on Port Louis. In 2009, due to growing road traffic congestion, consideration is being given to introducing a metro system.


Air transportation to the city is provided by SSR International Airport
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport , known as SSR Airport or previously as Plaisance Airport, is an international airport serving the island country of Mauritius. The airport is located at Plaine Magnien, near Plaisance and southeast of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius...

. Air Mauritius
Air Mauritius
Air Mauritius Limited, stylised as Air Mauritius, is the flag carrier of Mauritius. The airline is headquartered at the Air Mauritius Centre in Port Louis, Mauritius. Its main base is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport...

, the national airline of Mauritius, has its head office in the Air Mauritius Centre in the city.


Port Louis is served by two major bus stations. Victoria Station is used by buses to and from the eastern and southern areas, and from the urbanized Plaines Wilhems districut. Immigration Square, also known as Gare du Nord, is a terminus for buses coming from the Nothern districts of Pamplemousses and Rivière du Rempart.

Additionally, buses can use other bus stops as points of termination, e.g. John Kennedy Street and Sir William Newton Street for "City Centre" buses. A number of inter-city buses carry passengers to and from nearby suburbs such as Plaine Verte, Vallée-des-Prêtres and Cassis, making Port Louis the Mauritian hub for bus transport.

This is not without problems. All major bus lines from the rest of Mauritius converge towards Port Louis, which creates traffic congestion issues when combined with the number of private cars doing the same. Both stations, Victoria and Immigration, are small and often saturated both in terms of passenger frequentation and number of buses arriving and departing. In addition, the presence of hawkers nearby and the absence of designated walking areas for passengers creates safety issues.

Attractions and sights

Port Louis has conserved many historic and colonial buildings through the years. One of them is a fortification named Fort Adelaide or La Citadelle, built by the British in 1835. The latter dominates the city. From there, one can observe most of the city's architecture. Port Louis is surrounded by a mountain range, called the Port Louis Moka Range. Among its most famous mountains are Le Pouce and Pieter Both
Pieter Both (mountain)
Pieter Both is the second highest mountain of Mauritius. It is 820 metres tall. It is named after Pieter Both, the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. The notable feature of this mountain is the gigantic rock formation at the very top of it, which resembles a human head.To climb the...

 which stand about 800 metres from sea level. One of the most popular attractions is the country's national derby called Champ de Mars
Champ de Mars
The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Roman god of war...

, which is the oldest race course (1812) in the Indian Ocean and the second oldest in the southern Hemisphere. Other famous destinations include the Police Barracks known as Les Casernes, The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre and the Port Louis Waterfront.

The Mauritius Institute, dedicated to the study of the island's flora and fauna, is in Port Louis. Nearby, in the Jardin de la Compagnie, one can stroll along navigators' and geographers' texts in Travellers' Lane, which also encapsulates an artist's rendering of the planisphere
A planisphere is a star chart analog computing instrument in the form of two adjustable disks that rotate on a common pivot. It can be adjusted to display the visible stars for any time and date. It is an instrument to assist in learning how to recognize stars and constellations...

 of al-Idrissi.
Citizens often climb up the Signaux mountain, which is a 3-km track, that leads to over 300 metres high. From there, one can appreciate the landscape of the city.

Attractions include the Caudan Waterfront
Caudan Waterfront
Le Caudan Waterfront is a unique commercial concept in Mauritius, showing undeniable know-how and expertise in commercial activities and entertainment. On top of being a must for shopping, Le Caudan Waterfront is also a business centre, a melting pot for local artists and the favourite meeting...

, Port Louis Market, the Mauritian Chinatown and the old Port Louis Theatre. The capital has also three museums which are: the Mauritius Natural History Museum, the Blue Penny Museum and the Mauritius Stamp Museum. The biggest and oldest post office in Mauritius is found near the Caudan Waterfront. Situated in the heart of the city, near the State Bank Tower
State Bank Tower
The State Bank Tower is a high-rise building in the capital city of Mauritius, Port Louis. The 16 storey tower contrary to popular belief, is not the tallest building in Port Louis. It is the fourth tallest building and only steel frame skeleton high-rise on the island.It was designed by Campbell...

, the Place d'Armes is easily recognizable by its tall palm trees. It is the main entrance to and out of Port Louis.

Port Louis is the busiest city in Mauritius. It faces heavy traffic congestion as there is only one motorway which leads in and out of the city. The busiest hours are 8am and 5pm, which roughly correspond to the working hours for the majority of enterprises. Parking is another big problem the city faces. The financial centre is also located there, with the Bank of Mauritius
Bank of Mauritius
The Bank of Mauritius is the central bank of the Republic of Mauritius. It was established in September 1967 as the central bank of Mauritius. It was modelled on the Bank of England and was, in effect, set up with the assistance of senior officers of the Bank of England.Amongst its...

, the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd
Mauritius Commercial Bank
Mauritius Commercial Bank , founded in 1838, is the oldest and largest banking institution of Mauritius. It is also the oldest banking institution south of the Sahara and one of the oldest banks of the Commonwealth to have preserved its original name...

 and the State Bank of Mauritius
State Bank of Mauritius
State Bank of Mauritius is the second largest bank in Mauritius with a market share of about 25% of domestic banking assets. It has 42 domestic branches, and three branches in India....

, all having their headquarters there.

The busiest street is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam KT,GCMG,KCMG,LRCP, MRCS is the first Chief Minister, Prime Minister and sixth Governor General of Mauritius....

 Street, formerly known as Rue Desforges. It leads directly to the Municipality of Port Louis, the Jummah Mosque
The Jummah Mosque
The Jummah Masjid is a mosque in Port Louis, Mauritius dating from the 1850s, with substantial additions built through the 1890s. It is located on the Royal Road, and is described by the Ministry of Tourism's guide as the most beautiful religious building in the country.The Jummah Masjid is known...

, and Kadafi Square, which is a hot place for local food. Ornately and colourfully decorated Tamil temples such as the Kaliammen Kovil and the Tamil temple of Saint-Croix overlook the port.

There is a Jewish cemetery at Saint–Martin from the period (1941–1945) when the British interned captured immigrants to Mandate Palestine in a detention camp at Rose Hill
Rose Hill, Mauritius
Rose Hill is the third largest town in Mauritius, and is capital of the Lower Plaines Wilhems. It is a major commercial centre, second only to the capital Port Louis.-History:...

. There is also a Chinese Burial ground where elaborate memorials have been erected. The city morgue at the Kit Lock is located in the centre of the city.

The skyline
A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

 of Port Louis has completely changed in the last fifteen years mainly due to construction booms in the 1990s and 2000s, where many of the tallest high-rise buildings have been built. The city centre has the tallest buildings in Mauritius, including a few skyscrapers, which is unusual for a small island in Africa. Port Louis is currently undergoing a major construction boom with the extension of the Caudan Waterfront
Caudan Waterfront
Le Caudan Waterfront is a unique commercial concept in Mauritius, showing undeniable know-how and expertise in commercial activities and entertainment. On top of being a must for shopping, Le Caudan Waterfront is also a business centre, a melting pot for local artists and the favourite meeting...

 and new towers.

Horse racing

The Champ de Mars Racecourse
Champ de Mars Racecourse
The Champ de Mars Racecourse is a race track in Port Louis, Mauritius, for thoroughbred horse races located close to the center of the city, at the Mauritius Turf Club ....

 is a race track for Thoroughbred horse race
Thoroughbred horse race
Thoroughbred horse racing is a worldwide sport and industry involving the racing of Thoroughbred horses. It is governed by different national bodies. There are two forms of the sport: Flat racing and National Hunt racing...

s located close to the centre of Port Louis founded in 1812.

Panorama image

Notable residents

Port Louis has attracted various artists and writers in the past, among the most renowned of them are Bernardin de Saint Pierre, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, Nicolas Pike, Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

, and Paul-Jean Toulet
Paul-Jean Toulet
Paul-Jean Toulet was a French poet, novelist and feuilleton writer.- Life and works :Paul-Jean Toulet was a descendant of Charlotte Corday, and son of a wealthy man living in Mauritius...

. Mauritian writers like Malcolm de Chazal
Malcolm de Chazal
Malcolm de Chazal was a Mauritian writer, painter, and visionary, known especially for his Sens-Plastique, a work consisting of several thousand aphorisms and pensées. He was born in Vacoas of a French family long established in Mauritius and wrote all his works in French...

, Marcel Cabon, Félix Laventure, Loys Masson and Marie-Thérèse Humbert chose Port Louis and its vicinities as locations for some of their novels and poetry. Other Port Louis born poets and writers, like Robert Edward Hart and Khal Torabully
Khal Torabully
Khal Torabully is a Mauritian and French poet, who has coined the concept of "coolitude." Born in Mauritius in 1956, in the capital city Port Louis, his father was a Trinidadian sailor and his mother was a descendant of migrants from India and Malaysia....

, also made of this intricate and fascinating town the setting of some of their texts.

Sister cities

Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

, since 1999.Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

See also

  • Railway stations in Mauritius (The railways system was designed mainly for the transportation of goods, mainly sugar, from different part of the country to the city.)

External links

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