Known as Pamplemousses Gardens to the locals, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens are the third-oldest botanical gardens in the world, begun in 1729, as governor Mahé de Labourdonnais’ private vegetable garden. They were then taken over by administrator and naturalist Pierre Poivre in 1770 who was employed to seize the spice trade from the Dutch. He planted the gardens with spice trees such as camphor and clove, and ornamental trees shipped from the colonies. Today, the 60 acres are now home to five hundred different indigenous and exotic species, including over eighty species of palm, such as the unusual Talipot palm from Sri Lanka which blooms once every thirty to one hundred years and then dies; pick up a useful guide from the entrance to find your way around the shady tree-lined avenues.

Romantics might also like to track down the “grave” of Paul and Virginie, while deer and giant Aldabra tortoises in an enclosure will keep children happy. The garden’s stunning centrepiece is a pond with floating giant Amazon lilies opposite a bust of Mahé de Labourdonnais; his reconstructed colonial mansion, Château Mon Plaisir, oversees the gardens and aches to be renovated.

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