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Mauritius - Shopping

SHOPPING

Réunion is not a bargain-hunter’s paradise. Clothing here tends to be imported from France and is therefore expensive. Parts of St-Denis and St-Gilles and, to a lesser extent, St-Pierre are reminiscent of fashionable Parisian streets with their chic boutiques and effervescent French sales assistants.

The only bargains to be had are in the wonderful local markets. St-Paul claims to have the biggest and best weekly market, which takes place on Fridays. The markets in St-Pierre are also worth a visit. Sadly, few of the handicrafts on sale are made in Réunion. The majority come from Madagascar and even Indonesia. A lot of work has recently been put into promoting Réunionnais handicrafts and they are gradually becoming more readily available, both in small souvenir shops and the markets. The French for handicrafts is artisanat.

Worthwhile souvenirs include geranium oil, rum, vanilla and products made from woven pandanus (vacoas) leaves. Vanilla grown on the island can be bought direct from producers or tourist offices. The vanilla sold in the markets is often from Madagascar; it is cheaper but is said to be of inferior quality.

WORKING HOURS

Offices are typically open 08.00–12.00 and 14.00–18.00 Monday–Friday. Shops open 08.30–12.00 and 14.30–18.00 Monday–Saturday. Some food shops are open on Sunday mornings. State administrative offices are a law unto themselves, many opening for very limited hours. For example, the Préfecture in St-Denis opens 08.00–13.00 Monday–Friday.

MARKETS

St-Denis                        Grand Marché daily, Petit Marché daily except Sunday

St-Benoît                      05.00–12.00 Saturday

St-Pierre                       covered market daily, street market 05.00–12.00 Saturday

St-Louis                         daily

St-Leu                           07.00–12.00 Saturday

St-Gilles-les-Bains       07.30–12.00 Wednesday

St-Paul                          06.00–18.00 Friday, 05.00–12.00 Saturday

Mauritius - Shopping

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