“Apparently, there has been only one prominent event in the history of Mauritius, and that one didn’t happen.” Mark Twain

The sinking of Le Saint Géran off Île d’Ambre in August 1744 and loss of two hundred lives inspired young French writer Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre (1737–1814) to write the romantic novella Voyage à l’île de France. Set against the idyllic tropical scenery of Mauritius, where Bernadin spent two years as a military engineer, it’s the story of childhood sweethearts, Paul and Virginie, whose plans to marry are cut short by tragic events. A ship carrying Virginie flounders on the reef during a stormy night, and although Paul swims out to save her, modesty prevents her from removing her heavy clothes to swim ashore; Virginie drowns and Paul dies of a broken heart.

Today you can visit Paul and Virginie’s “tomb” in Pamplemousses Gardens, discover pieces recovered from the Le Saint Géran on display in the National History Museum in Mahébourg and see an evocative sculpture of the lovers entwined by Prosper d’Epinay at the Blue Penny Museum in Port Louis. The book is available in English as Journey to Mauritius and can be found in bookshops island-wide.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Mauritius features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Ten perfect birdwatching trips

Ten perfect birdwatching trips

Few travel moments illicit such a thrill as catching sight of a rare or beautiful bird emerging from its natural habitat. Here are a few of our favourite birdwa…

29 Apr 2013 • Site Editor insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs