After making my way through the busy streets of Pondicherry, packed with yellow and green auto-rickshaws and bikes, I finally found myself staring at a bright yellow-coloured house with an arched doorway. That&rsquos when I knew the French quarters had begun. Most commonly referred to as the &ldquoWhite Town,&rdquo this part of Pondicherry is nothing like the other lanes that run through it and everything like any lane that runs through a quaint town in France.
Although it is now flanked by tourists and dotted with cafes and chic boutique hotels, it was once where the French colonists lived until they officially transferred Pondicherry to the Indian government in 1954. Since then, the locals have replaced the French residents, and their houses have been turned into profitable and aesthetic stays.
Each alley that makes White Town is lined with decades-old houses, with facades washed with red, blue, yellow and every other bright colour you can think of. Most of these narrow lanes open up to the Promenade, where the Bay of Bengal greets couples engaged in silent conversations, families enjoying stolen moments of happiness, and the one-in-a-hundred solitary being lost in their thoughts.
To help you soak it all in&ndashfrom the tucked-away galleries to the little cafes&ndashhere&rsquos a guide to spending just the perfect day strolling the charming lanes of White Town.
Breakfast At Cafe Des Arts
The French are known to start their day with a steaming cuppa and a loaf of baguette. In Cafe Des Arts, you can begin your day just the same. Cafe Des Arts has become one of the most famous eateries with a striking yellow exterior, vintage decor, and a selection of classic French dishes. Therefore, turn up as early as you can.
Address Cafe Des Arts, 10, Suffren St, White Town, Puducherry, 605001
Head For A Photo Walk
After a leisurely breakfast, hit the road while they&rsquore relatively empty to capture White Town&rsquos beauty. If you&rsquore all about upping your Instagram game, a few snaps of the bright walls with arched doorways covered with bright-pink bougainvillaea will seal the deal.
Get A Peek Into Pondicherry&rsquos History
An anomaly among the many cafes, the Pondicherry Museum stands proud. If you&rsquore interested in knowing a bit about the rich legacy of this Union Territory, spending an hour here is a great idea. If there&rsquos more curiosity left, you must head to the Romain Rolland Library, also known by its French name, &ldquoBibliotheque Public,&rdquo which translates to &ldquoPublic Library.&rdquo
Address Romain Rolland Library, 8, Goubert Ave, White Town
Lunch At Le Dupleix
Located along Casern street, Le Dupleix&rsquos serene lost-in-time vibe is difficult to miss. If you&rsquore searching for a fine meal, then the outdoor restaurant at this hotel sets just the right vibe. You can relish some delicious aglio e olio while enjoying the bright sun.
Address 7, Casern St, White Town
Sunset At The Beach
With the rock beach not very far away, it&rsquos a must to make it well in time to see the sunset and enjoy a few moments in its warm glow. As the sky turns darker, the streets get lit with vendors selling colourful masks and people taking leisurely walks. The view and the vibe are definitely worth all the hype.
Dinner At Coromandel Cafe
To sit under the stars, surrounded by plants, books, and soulful jazz, is the perfect way to end the day. You can enjoy that perfect ending at Coromandel Cafe with delicious food and punchy cocktails. Their harissa tomato macaroni bake is a top favourite among diners.
Address 8, Romain Rolland St, White Town
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